SAUDI ARABIA (WCBD)- It’s one of the most demanding off-road motorbike events in the world, but for one Lowcountry man, it’s right in his wheelhouse.
Mount Pleasant resident Peter Vlcek recently completed the Dakar Rally for the fifth time since 2017.
“The terrain is different every day,” Vlcek said. “You never know what you’re going to get, if you’re going to get rocks, mud, giant dunes.”
He traveled close to 5,000 kilometers — which is just over 3,000 miles — through Saudi Arabia in 14 days competing in the Malle Motto for the second time in four years. In Malle Motto, it is just him and his bike with no assistance.
Pushing through the pain of a damaged chest and sternum, Vlcek finished as the first American in the category.
“The result from 2020 is going to be hard to beat, I was 38th overall and 4th in the Malle Moto,” he said. “So obviously you go there every year and wanting to beat that but the bar is set pretty high.”
But unlike in 2020, the Czech national finished this time as an American citizen.
“It was a huge thing plus to be able to finish Dakar under the two different nationalities,” he said. “It’s a pretty good achievement and I’m very happy with that.”
His wife said she knows her husband is doing what he loves, so worrying about him has to take a backseat. Vlcek said the support from his mother, wife, and others around the world is what drives him to succeed.
“For a lot of people that is a huge motivator to not to fail,” he told News 2’s Dan Fanning.
What started at 36 years old has become a true passion and test of fortitude for Vlcek. And, while the energy may be different in the Arabian desert, he said there are plenty of reasons to keep going, just him and his bike.