Hard as nails

Dakar 2024 | Stage 3 | AL DUWADIMI > AL SALAMIYA
January 9 th 2024 - 06:52 [GMT + 3]

While all the riders who enrol for the Dakar are warriors, some are more so than others. One such rider is Libor Podmol, the Czech biker who finished stage three with eight stitches around his right eye.

 He may have arrived in Al Salamiya before nightfall, but Libor Podmol could not really see that clearly when clocking in at the finishing line on the third stage of the rally. With his right eye closed shut, his eyelid bruised and stitched, Husqvarna rider number 87 looked more like a boxer who had been knocked out. “I was riding at a nice pace,” he began to explain. “I was with ‘Benji’ and, to be honest, I felt great on the bike. I really wasn’t overdoing it and then suddenly I hit a rock which threw me into another rock and I fell of the bike”. His right wrist was the first point of painful contact, followed by his head, with his visor striking his brow and eyelid. “I was lucky that Benji was there and managed to trigger my emergency beacon,” said the Czech rider. “In just a few minutes a helicopter had landed nearby”. The doctor on board was able to make a quick diagnosis. “There was no concussion, but the wound needed sewing up,” he explained. For evidently, Libor had no intention of giving up, no way was he throwing in the towel and letting the broom wagon pick up his machine. Half an hour later, the tough guy was sewn up and ready to go. “We had to be careful and patch him up properly,” mentions the doctor. “Wounds like that on the face are never trivial”. For Libor, it is not the first bumps and scratches he has suffered. The Czech biker is a former FIM FMX world champion (in 2010) and is used to falls and injuries. In April 2019, during an exhibition show in Germany, he broke both legs when he failed a difficult stunt. Two years later, he took starter’s orders on his first Dakar, which he finished in an honourable 31st place. Libor is a daredevil and likes flirting with danger. Accustomed to defying gravity on runs lasting just a few minutes, he is just as happy to rack up the kilometres on his rally bike. Pushing the boundaries seems to be his mantra. Last year, to go that little bit further, he decided to register for the Dakar in the Original by Motul category for unassisted bikers, but his adventure ended on the second stage, which is why he came back this year. “I have to finish the job,” he said. For himself, but also for his father, who has passed away, but who did not manage to reach the Lac Rose in Senegal on his sole participation, thirty years ago. To reach Yanbu, Libor knows he will have to grit his teeth. “It would be nice if I could have a little bit of good luck, too,” he added. “I’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but it isn’t looking good. I can’t see anything with my right eye and my wrist is also really sore. Fortunately, my bike didn’t suffer too much when I crashed. I just hope that I won’t be all at sea tomorrow”.

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