A lot of things can happen on a Dakar: crashes, mechanical issues, altitude sickness, heat exhaustion… but being struck by lightning? Highly unlikely. Well Ivan Jakes isn’t any type of Dakar rider, and in 2017 that’s what forced him to pull out of the race. The Dakar career of Ivan Jakes has been full of highs, great highs, but also many lows. The Slovakian is a competitor, a man who goes to his limits to fulfil his dream. After struggling in his first years as a Dakar competitor, he became one of the best riders of the field. His Dakar adventure started in Africa in 2007, but ended after six stages. The following four editions in South America were just as tough with three DNFs. At last in 2013, he showed the world what a fast man he could be, capturing an unexpected 4th spot, the best ever for a Slovakian at the time (since then Svitko finished second). The following year he added more glory to his Dakar career winning his first ever special on the final day of an event that he finished in 8th place. His last two appearances were a lot tougher: a knee injury with torn ligaments in 2016 and then of course the lighting episode. After a one-year absence, Jakes returns to the Dakar and remains just as ambitious. Riding a new KTM, he hopes to again be in the fight with the big guns.
“I'm really looking forward to the next Dakar. After a year off, I prepared in the best possible way. It’ll be important to reach the finish again. I know a lot of Dakar riders who have been on the rally eight or nine times and never reached that goal. I hope that I will be lucky this year. I went to the Hearts of Morocco rally to train for the Dakar. I wanted to see if I still knew how to navigate. I had a pretty decent speed. I was not there for a result at all, but I managed to put myself in a nice position. The length of the 2019 Dakar does not suit me. I need to have at least twenty stages, because I always struggle in the beginning, I need to get to the pace. Every athlete should have high goals. I always have some. In the past I was triumphing in stages, I finished fourth overall. I don’t see why it couldn’t be better now. I will do everything to get to the best possible place."
JAKES DAKAR TEAM
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