ERC1 Junior Cais: Hard to compare bike and car achievements
Erik Cais will chase success in the FIA ERC1 Junior Championship this season driving a Ford Fiesta R5 MkII run by Orsák Rallysport under the Yacco ACCR Team.
Before taking up rallying, the Czech driver was a hugely successful downhill mountain bike racer, progressing to World Cup level as a factory rider having started out aged seven.
However, while training for the 2017 season, he crashed and broke a collarbone in four places. After a lengthy recovery period, he decided to call time on two-wheel competition and switch to four, following his father Miroslav into rallying in 2018.
It was an inspired move and only a late puncture denied Cais the 2WD category win on Barum Czech Rally Zlín that year against strong international opposition.
Asked if success in the ERC would top his achievements on the saddle, Cais said: “It’s really difficult to compare the mountain bike to the rally car because in mountain bike you only have one stage around three kilometres in length but with 400 people wanting to beat you. In rallying you have 20 or 30 people in your category wanting to beat you and you have to fight for two days, which is really difficult.
“I still need to learn about how much power I can do on the first stage compared to the end of the day, where you can go absolutely flat out and where you can only set the time. On the bicycle, you have only flat out and if you do a mistake you know it’s impossible to take it back. In rallying you can try to push and I really want to try and do my best to make our partners proud.”
Photo: Lukáš Navrátil Photography/Erik Cais