When the Dakar Rally is mentioned, names like Loeb, Násir al-Attíja, but also Czech fighters such as Macík, Prokop, motorcyclist Brabec or photographer Chytka come to mind. However, these and other matadors tend to focus on the main categories of cars, motorcycles, trucks, ATVs, SSVs (buggies) and light prototype vehicles.
However, since 2021, the Classic category has been created for cars manufactured before 2000 or newly manufactured according to the original model, which, of course, drove the famous rally sometime in the past. For that reason, there is a list of such cars, or an exception is granted by the organizer.
A cursory glance at the list of permitted cars reveals legends such as Alfa Romeo 33, ARO 240, BMW 325ix E30, Citroën DS, DAF F3300, Ford Transit, Isuzu Trooper, Lada Niva, Lamborghini LM002, LIAZ 111, Mercedes 560 SEC, Opel Manta, Peugeot 205, Rolls-Royce Corniche, SsangYong Korando, Subaru Leona, Suzuki Jimny, Tatra T815 or even Volkswagen Transporter. And of course many, many more.
However, the veteran race is different. The goal of the Classic is to drive the given stages as close as possible to the speed average given in advance, for which even less demanding tracks are adapted so that the cars can realistically handle them. The technical regulations also take into account the fact that the original or replica of the given car is not a hi-tech achievement of the latest technology.
The Czech leader in this category is definitely Ondra Klymčiw, who drove this race for the first time in an almost production Škoda 130 LR. He returned to the next year with a better car, but (thoughtfully) brought other Czech faces with him.
Czechs at Dakar Classic 2024
The year 2024 is knocking on the door and with it the fourth edition of the Classic series, where four Czech crews will go this year. We reached out to each of them and asked for a brief statement regarding their vision, goals and plans for the 2024 Dakar Classic.
For the Czech Samurais team, the Toyota Land Cruiser 90 crewed by Ondřej Martinec (driver) and Olga Roučková (navigator) goes into battle with the number 726. And by all accounts, he believes in placing in the top twenty.
“We are all looking forward to the start of the Dakar Classic 2024. In recent months, we have worked really hard in cooperation with the Nový Bydžov Technical and Craft High School, and we will be standing at the start of Dakar 2024 with a completely redesigned car,” says Ondřej Martinec.
“It was a difficult period. We really put everything into the preparations and I believe that our efforts will be reflected in the results. We would like to attack the TOP 20. We will definitely do our best to get both cars that start under the Czech Samurais banner, and we also want to pass on as much experience as possible to the young mechanic from the Mechanic Academy project,” adds the Dakar pilot.
The girls’ crew with starting number 712, consisting of the duo Barbora Holická and Lucie Engová, is riding their own project Duckar, but they will start at the Dakar under the banner of Czech Samurais. However, the girls decided on the almost impossible – they want to drive the route in an old Citroën 2CV, which is at least brave. Pilot Holická told us more about it.
“For our team, we want to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the start of production of this iconic car by reaching the finish line with all humility. We know that the Classic is not easy and it will be a lot of work, especially when we know that the ducks have started at the Dakar fourteen times in total, but not a single car has conquered the original African tracks.”
“We prepared for everything, modified the car and caught flies. We also improved the engine. However, we will definitely go with our heads, we don’t want to rush, but to represent our country honestly and responsibly.”
The East Bohemian team Enjoy Motorsport is sending the pair Jan Vinš / Tomáš Hovorka to the event, to whom the organizer assigned starting number 762. Both fighters ride a modified Mitsubishi Pajero with a three-liter six-cylinder engine under the hood, which reached the Czech Republic all the way from the Netherlands.
We know that both participants are at home in their cars, racing, making adjustments and generally talking about the technique, but what are their visions for the demanding Dakar?
“Our goal, as the name of our team Enjoy Motorsport suggests, is to enjoy it. It’s a dream come true for me and Honza. I have been involved in motorsport all my life, although mostly on the less visible side. For example, I worked for Škoda Motorsport, Andreas Mikkelsen, Pontus Tidemand and Honza Kopecky. In addition, I teach at the technical-craft school in Novobydžov, where I participate in the Mechanic Academy project,” says Tomáš Hovorka.
“We recently managed to purchase a 1996 Pajero which was ideal as a basis for building a special. With that, our dream took a turn. Now all that’s left is to stand at the start and make the dream come true,” adds Hovorka.
At the last minute, Ondřej Klymčiw also officially confirmed his participation with the Škoda 130 LR, who is taking only mechanic Petr Dokonal with him. Due to the quick decision, the car received only basic preparation, but also a completely new design.
Klymčiw Dakar Classic 2024 is running in cooperation with the Paraple Center, so all income from sponsorships, advertisements, contributions from fans and others will go to support this charity organization. It should also be mentioned that this is the last Dakar Rally of this iconic Škoda.
“I’ll be riding for a good cause, which means I won’t push the saw as much, maybe… I’m not so much about placing as I am about mileage and a decent finish. Skoda helped me a lot after the accident in 2018 and now I decided to pass it on again. This Dakar will be the last for Škoda, but I believe it will also be the best,” explains Klymčiw.
The Dakar Classic starts together with the standard Dakar on January 5, 2024 and ends on January 19, 2024. You can again look forward to the arrival of the information service at our Garage, but one thing is certain, we will all keep our fingers crossed for our colors!