Mirjam Pol speaks on racing first week of 2022 Dakar Rally- currently leading Women’s Bike category rankings

Mirjam Pol speaks on racing first week of 2022 Dakar Rally- currently leading Women’s Bike category rankings

Mirjam Pol speaks on racing first week of 2022 Dakar Rally, currently leading Women’s Bike category and ranked 52nd in General with HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing Team. With Rest Day offering Mirjam some time to re-set physical condition in preparation for second leg of Dakar, the 8x Dakar rider shared her thoughts on what racing has been like over course of Stages 1- 6.

Mirjam Pol Stages 1-6 racing sand and dunes making for fast tracks. Image Team.

Mirjam: ‘The first part of Dakar has been going really well, I am happy with results even though it took up to Stage 5 before I felt physically better after having caught a cold just before Dakar start. We’ve had mix of sand and dunes which has made Stages fast and then rocky sections. I always find that a little more difficult and a little more risky, so I’m more careful on rocky terrain’.

Never one to shy away from gaining solid, consistent results Stage after Stage, most importantly for Mirjam is to enjoy the whole Dakar experience. For Mirjam, racing Dakar is like no other life-time opportunity to take pleasure racing amongst the most inspiring people, in the most amazing landscapes, where she truly feels in one with the bike- even during the longest of Stages.

Mirjam: ‘Yes, absolutely! Being in synch with the bike, in the desert, in the world’s most challenging race is the best feeling. The thing I really like this week has been the speed, combined with racing on sand, which has made the tracks fast’.

‘It is such a pleasure to race with a bunch of people, with some competitors passing you, then you can try to stay with them. And then, you get a race inside a race. That is one of the things I really like, competing each day with different riders’.

Mirjam Pol 2022 Dakar Rally with HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing Team. Image Team.

Such remarkable mental capacity to enjoy racing Dakar knowing how hard and challenging the race can be, makes Mirjam extra-ordinary athlete who loves nothing better than racing those long, endless Stages which start early and finish more than 800kms later at end of the day.

Mirjam: ‘Also, when you have really long Stages and they fly by- when we have 300 plus kms timed and I get to the finish feeling like I have been riding for 10 minutes- thinking- hey was that it! 

Such exuberance seems rare amongst Dakar’s competitors- as each and every rider, driver, co-pilot and Team know- it is a race and someone has to win. Rest Day provides all chance to re-calibrate their bearings, tend to all things mechanical, and as debut rider Sandra Gomez says: do my laundry! Mirjam remains focused through-out, knowing there are still 6 important Stages to get through before marking off final waypoint on the Final Day.

Mirjam: ‘To make it to the Final Stage 12- yeah, that is a difficult one. My own thoughts are: take it day by day, don’t do anything stupid, stay on your bike- of course it is a race- but never go over your limit’.

‘Even if you are racing safe, there are 100,000 rocks every day. We have to try and miss all of them, and it is really easy to hit a rock at any time- or by paying attention to your road-book you have to miss camel grass- so my thoughts are don’t take any unnecessary risks. I have a small lead in the classification rankings so I can afford to loose a little bit of time every day. I don’t have to go flat out- but of course it is a race. When I’m in the fight during the day, it’s a fight to win and everyone wants to win. So, it’s a mix of everything. Hopefully, I will make it to the finish without any serious incidents’.

2022 Dakar Rally Stage 7 Riyadh to Al Dawadimi total of 701kms with 402kms timed, January 9th.

Header Photo Mirjam Pol. Image Team.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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