Walking through the paddock of a road race, it’s very easy to bump into a wonderful couple: two Czech road racers, very nice and very polite. They are the beautiful Veronika Hankocyova and her partner Michal “Indi” Dokoupil.
Both part of the Indi Racing Team, Veronika and Michal split their time between their hometown in Czech Republic and the Irish paddocks, not to mention the Isle of Man. Just to follow their big passion: road racing.
Everybody loves them. Veronika is one of the very few female road racers, who battles against male riders in the Supersport and Supertwin classes; in her CV we can find a third place in the Irish Road Racing Championship in the Junior Support Class in 2016, various top ten finishes at the Ulster GP, a best female newcomer award in her debut year at the Manx GP in 2018 and a 19th place in the Manx GP Lightweight Race one year later on a beautiful ILR Paton.
Michal Dokoupil’s Isle of Man debut goes back to a few years ago, in 2009; his best result at the TT was a 11th place in the Lightweight Race in 2011. Alongside the Tourist Trophy, Indi competes in the Irish Nationals, Classic TT and Ulster GP, where he won the Ultralightweight Race in 2019.
I got in touch with them for a chat, asking both the same questions and enjoying their answers a lot.
Date and place of birth.
Veronika: 5th of April 1985, Brno, Czech Republic.
Indi: 13th of December 1978, Prague, Czech Republic.
When and where did you meet your partner?
Veronika: In 2006 I think, at Brno circuit. We were both racing there in Czech Endurance Cup.
Indi: In 2007 at Brno Circuit, while racing.
When did your relationship start?
Veronika: It started in 2007 when we met each other at the “300ZGH” races in Horice. We were both single, but the problem was the distance between us: he lived in Prague and I lived in Brno, which are 200 km apart. But after two years dating, I moved to Prague.
Indi: I think after Horice road race in 2007. We celebrate our anniversary the 1st of June.
Do you ever call your partner with a nickname? If you can tell it!
Veronika: I always call him Indi. It’s his usual nickname, and I use it very often since I met him for the first time.
Indi: I call her sweetheart when we’re not arguing about silly little things, but we don’t argue much actually.
When did you start with road racing?
Veronika: In 2005, when I met a few people from road racing and they said that I had a great bike for road racing, for Clubsport X class. I had a Suzuki GS 750 1977 at the time. Then we became friends and they helped me with my preparation for my first road race in Slovakia. But it was also the last one for a few years, because I couldn’t afford racing on my own. I was at the university that time, so I haven’t got so much money. Anyway, I’ve been mechanic for 3 years for other riders.
Indi: I started racing in 2004 on short circuits, but I became a real road racer only when I met Veronika.
What’s your favourite track?
Veronika: The Uslter Grand Prix, Dundrod. And the Isle of Man of course!
Indi: The TT Mountain Course.
When you’re on the grid, do you prefer having your partner on your side or not? (If he/she is not racing at the same time!)
Veronika: It’s not necessary for me, I’m used to be there with my friends and family, but I’m happy if he can be there with me. It means that he is not racing and I can be calm without worrying about him!
Indi: Veronika and I do almost everything together and that is the essence of our long-term relationship. We race and at the same time live the lives of ordinary people.
What do you feel when your partner is racing? Do you actually watch the race?
Veronika: Of course I do. I’m a bit nervous, but I try to stay calm and positive, because I know what it means for him to be there on the track. And I love that feeling as a racer, so I wish him all the best and to have a great time on bike.
Indi: I’m definitely more worried about Veronika than myself. But every time I’m sure that she will come back safely. And most of all, I enjoy seeing her happy. And she definitely enjoys racing and I have a happy woman at home who does the same for me.
Have you ever battled against your partner in a race?
Veronika: Yes, the best battle was at Dymokury. I won the Supertwin race and he was third. It’s a funny story, because it was the last race of the year and he was already champion, so we swapped our bikes. I had his Supertwin (90 hp) and he had mine (70 hp) a stock one. Nobody knew that, because we changed fairings as well. After the first practice everybody was so surprised and somebody was even trying to report me because they thought I was cheating! The race was a real battle, and I was so hard on the brakes, which I’ve never been before. I did a lot of mistakes in the first laps, and we were sometimes 3-4 riders in one corner. But then I stopped doing mistakes and I made big gap between me and the second rider. Indi was battling with the second rider, but he had no chance on my bike!
Indi: Many times I’ve been with Veronika at the start of a race, but one race stuck in my memory. Dymokury was a track where Veronika showed me that she can win even among boys and beat everyone, including me. It turned out that if she has a good motorcycle, she can win.
Do you ever argue about your racing career?
Veronika: No, never. We always try to find the best way for both of us. We think the same way, so when I have doubts, he has the same at the moment.
Indi: I wouldn’t say we argue about racing. We rather look for a common path so that it has an effect on both of us. I think positive and I must say that we manage to meet the right people at the right time.
Do you live together?
Veronika: Yes, we’ve been together for almost 14 years, 11 living together.
Indi: Yes, we live together and we are currently redeveloping our house. It’s not been easy to get to this stage, though. We lived in a rented house for a long time and it was very complicated to put together motorcycle races while living like people normally live. Thanks to the races, we never had enough money for a house, but none of us regrets it.
What’s your everyday job?
Veronika: I’m sales representative, and as a side job I’m moderator for TV and instructor for beginners in our riding school.
Indi: I test prototype cars for a foreign factory, but thanks to the Corona virus I am forced to do more personal training for racers and I am currently working on a TV show about motorcycles and the people around them.
What do you do during your spare time?
Veronika: I think I don’t have any! But I love gardening and doing some fitness workouts.
Indi: I ride motorcycles a lot, as sometimes I’m also tester for a magazine. And I also ride my motorcycles, plus motocross and enduro. I do not avoid any machine on two wheels! I try to ride a lot, but at the same time not to get hurt, because I combine it with building my own house.
Would you ever ask your partner to quit racing for any reason?
Veronika: I’d never ask for it, but after doctor John Hinds’ death, I was thinking about quit racing myself.
Indi: I don’t think I would have to advise Veronica about the end of her career. If she wants to know my opinion I would tell her, but she hasn’t asked me anything like that yet.
Who’s your racing hero and why?
Veronika: John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey. They are both simply awesome people and racers. But I’m also a fan of Dean Harrison for example, or Hicky. They are on a different level from us “common” road racers now!
Indi: Definitely Franta Šťastný, mainly for his amusing nature. He was not only a good racer, but also an excellent entertainer and I’m sorry I didn’t have the honour to meet him in person because he died in 2000, and I didn’t know anything about racing yet.
Thanks guys, see you soon!