At 66 years old, Vojta Klecka from Stockholm, Sweden is one of the oldest competitors taking part in the 2012 Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) and is almost 50 years older than this year's youngest rider (Josh Atkinson, 17). Vojta rode in his first SSDT back in 1973 and since then has returned an astonishing 35 times. So, what is it about 'The Scottish' that makes Vojta keep coming back year after year?Who better to answer this question than the man himself: "I think it is the haggis," jokes Vojta. "No, seriously, it is a fabulous event and Scotland is a beautiful place. It is quite a tough trial, the distances are very long, but I always have fun. A number of times over the years, when riding across the countryside in the cold and rain I have thought to myself 'never again,' but I keep coming back. I still enjoy taking part and I look forward to seeing the friends I have met here over the years."
Vojta, who will celebrate his 67th birthday this August, has regularly placed in the top-100 in the SSDT, achieving his best results (top 70) during the 1970s when he was in his 20s and 30s. In his younger years, Vojta competed in a number of other international events, including World Championship rounds. Nowadays he mainly rides in local Swedish events with the SSDT being the only remaining international trial on his calendar.
As one of the SSDT's longest standing competitors, Vojta has many fond memories of the event and of visiting the Scottish Highlands. As a professional freelance photographer, Vojta is a great admirer of Scotland's scenic landscape. Interestingly, however the most memorable photograph Vojta has taken in the region over the years is not of the countryside but of his favourite Scottish celebrity - Sean Connery, the 'original' James Bond.
"In 1986, I met Sean Connery. The actor was in Fort William and Lochaber filming for his new film, 'Highlander' at the same time the Scottish Six Days Trial was on," recalls a smiling Vojta. "I remember, I asked 'Mr Connery, please can I take your picture?' and he replied 'Ask my manager'. So I did, and he said tourists were allowed to take photos but no professional pictures were allowed. So I took out my small holiday camera, and I got my picture!"
Commenting on his hopes for the 2012 Scottish Six Days Trial, Vojta says: "This year I just want to have fun. As long as I finish, I will be happy. The course is 126 miles on the longest day, so just getting around it at all is a challenge, but I will try my best."
So, will Vojta Klecka be returning next year to ride in his 36th Scottish Six Days Trial? "At my age I think you have to take each year as it comes but I certainly hope so!"
View the full article on the SSDT Website