In Conversation with Nancy Janásková

Guest blog by Thiemo Albers-Daly

Nancy Janásková is a rally co-driver and Team Manager for MX Team, Barana Racing. While only at the start of her motorsport career, she’s found a way to pack a lot into a short amount of time and looks set to keep making waves in the rallying world in 2023. We caught up recently to chat about why she wanted to jump into racing in the first place, her aspirations for the year to come and much more. Nancy was clear, insightful and more than happy to delve deeply into her motorsport journey so far and I hope you enjoy reading our conversation as much as I did.

What first got you interested in Motorsport?

I have lived around cars and motorbikes practically since birth. Dad repaired cars and rode motocross. I grew up in a workshop where I developed my love for cars. Motorsport itself started to interest me later. I went to help guys at rallycross races, I went to watch rally races, but I never tried anything myself. This was mainly because of finances because I was studying at the time and I didn’t have money, time or enough knowledge to build and service my race car. Only now, after studying, was it the right time for racing.

Why did you want to become a rally co-driver?

I got into navigation purely by accident. I have always liked motorsport and once I received an offer from a friend if I would like to navigate in hobby races, I agreed to it, but at the time I had no idea what it entailed. When I arrived at the destination, we didn’t even have time to drive the entire track or to write notes because of the car preparation. I was given the task of copying the notes for the second part of the race from the other crew. The first special stage was also at night and I had no idea where I was! What’s more, the driver was local and knew the track.

I enjoyed the races more than navigating. We drove sideways everywhere and the spectators cheered as much as possible. That left a strong experience in me and I wanted to go rallying ever since, even though it wasn’t easy at all.

This first race was in 2018. In 2019, the preparation for the rally sprints began, which unfortunately did not make it to the first start for several reasons and Covid came into play. Before the start of last season, I told myself that I would not leave it like that. I started to learn and train as much as possible, and the co-driver academy and the experience of the competitors helped me a lot and I want to thank them all very much for this.

Then I was already looking for who I could actually go with. I wrote an ad back then and did a small selection process. Although it looked promising, eventually changes occurred and I searched again. I thought everything was in vain, but Tony’s ad appeared. I didn’t wait for anything and tried to write to him. Without training, we immediately set off for the first race in Kopná. Well, we still ride together.

How would you describe your career in motorsport so far?

I wouldn’t quite call it a career, I’m just at the beginning and I’m gaining experience. I am very happy for every racing kilometer and for a successfully completed race.

I consider our 3rd place in the Rallysprint series in the RN6 class a success.

Have you got a favourite moment from a rally and a fun story that you can share?

My beginning was funny, as I described above.

Has there been a particularly difficult moment for you so far and how did you overcome it?

So far, fortunately, such a very difficult moment has not occurred. Crashes, for example, are challenging, but you have to take that into account when racing. Fortunately, it was always just the sheet metal of the car and we stayed safe. Each crisis experience moves a person a little further.

However, it was difficult to start the rally itself.

You’re also the manager and a racer for the MX Team, Baran Racing – tell us about this!

I helped the boys officially start a motocross team. I take care of their social networks, take photos at races and find them sponsors for their races. Overall, I really enjoy working on social networks, not only around motorsport. We have just started a team page for our rally team Luger racing (IG: lugerracing).

Unfortunately, since I started rallying, I don’t have that much time for this team and for motocross itself, and I no longer go to races with them. I had to cut back on my motorcycle and didn’t ride it for a year. You can’t avoid falls in motocross, which quite often end in injury (I’ve already managed to break my ankle). This year, however, I would like to make up for it and get back on a motorcycle, but it won’t be competitive anymore.

Do you have any plans for 2023?

I would say this year will be a turning point. My driver Tony Řehák and I have a lot of plans in mind. Everything is always in process. We will gradually reveal our plans. Among other things, we are waiting for a change of racing car. You can look forward to the racing design of our car, which we will publish soon on the Luger Racing team social networks. We will once again participate in the Rallysprit series in the Czech Republic and now also in selected races within the Czech Republic Rally Championship, e.g. Barum rally.

I would like to take part in domestic competitions within the championship, such as Šumava or Pačejov, but only time will tell. The solution also includes championship races in Austria. I would also like to go to a hobby race as a driver. There is a lot planned this year and only time will tell.

Which has been your favourite car to race in so far? Mine would be the one you raced in November at the CMPR.

I enjoyed racing in every car I sat in. Every car had something in it. The very first hobby was a diesel Škoda Octavia, which led me to navigation and was basically driven sideways everywhere! Next was the Ford Fiesta 1.6, which took us to the first rally sprint races, experienced the first crash with us, and thanks to it, we learned to race. Next was the Honda Civic VTi, it led us to great acceleration and to the first cups. We experienced a lot with her. Well, the last one was a car from the ČMPR, a Škoda 120 S. Unfortunately, I didn’t drive it much, but even for those few kilometers in the wet, it was a lot of fun. I raced a rear-wheel drive car for the first time.

A very strong experience remained with me after the ride in the Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo with Jan Kopecký. It wasn’t a race, but a ride on part of the MCR Pačejov track. This ride really gave me a lot of motivation to work on myself and be able to sit in this car and race one day.

Do you have any hobbies?

My hobbies include traveling, preferably with my dog Daisy and my boyfriend. I also like to do sports to keep fit for competitions. Sometimes I run or do weight training. I don’t have a lot of free time left for hobbies, and even so, everything revolves around motorsport. In the remaining free time, I like to relax or work on my further improvement.

Would you rather live in the same place for the rest of your life or always travel and never settle?

A combination is ideal. I don’t sit in one place for a long time and I like to travel and meet new people, but at the same time, I like to come home.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who stands by me, helps me and supports me. I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. Thank you very much to Tony, with whom we sat down a lot as people and we keep pushing each other further and further. Thank you for the opportunity to choose me for the car.

Thanks again to Nancy for taking the time to chat and best of luck for 2023.


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