“The first small victory of this year’s Dakar! We all tested negative, so we can go. It will be a piece of cake from now on,” the head of the Big Shock! Racing team Martin Macik, Sr. sighed with relief when all members of the Sedlcany team received negative PCR test results, which gives them all the green light to take part in the 2021 Dakar. Good news from the laboratory also moved things further – the first task was to go to the port to pick up Charles, the racing truck, Mana, a new service Liaz, a camper truck, a service MAN and other accompanying vehicles. It was also necessary to build a bivouac, in which the mechanics immediately got to work. All cars must be perfectly prepared for Saturday’s technical inspections and prologue. In addition, a shake-down was planned for the crew on Friday morning, where the Czech racers tested the automatic gearbox for the first time in the dunes. The navigator Frantisek Tomasek also got acquainted with the new electronic roadbook there. Everyone was tense how Charles will do on the sand because during the previous season they were not able to test the truck in the dunes…
First news from the shake-down: Charles is like a fighter!
On Thursday, the Big Shock! Racing team was reunited with their racing truck. Charles sailed with the accompanying cars to Jeddah from Marseille on a boat sent by the organizers of Dakar. “It seems that the cars are fine after the cruise, which makes us very happy. We’re only repairing Charles’ the lock on the passenger’s side. Of course, we will check everything thoroughly and as a precaution, we will replace electronic components that could have been affected by corrosion from dampness on the ship,” David Svanda, the on-board engineer said. In the morning on New Year’s day, the crew also set out to check Charles’ condition on a 7-kilometre-long shake-down. “We had a great ride. We also tried to dive a bit into the dunes, where we tested the automatic gearbox settings. For the sake of the practice run, we buried the truck a bit, stopped at the exit to the dunes to really test everything. Charles runs smoothly, we will be getting used to everything for a while, like having several screens and cameras in the cabin, like we’re in a fighter jet. Ferry manages the new roadbook without any issues,” Martin Macik reported.
News for priority crew drivers
The driver Martin Macik, with navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Švanda are among the priority crews in the truck category at the 2021 Dakar. They are considered the favourites of the competition, but at the same time have tougher rules to follow. “For example, they follow stricter rules for the use of mobile phones. They must be stored in a sealed box during the race. At the same time, in the event of withdrawal from the competition due to technical problems, they can no longer take part in the Dakar Experience and continue the parallel competition,” Martin Pabiska, Big Shock! Racing team manager explained. Navigator Frantisek Tomasek will also use an electronic roadbook, but at the same time before the start of the stage, he will also receive a sealed traditional paperback version in case the electronic one experiences any technical issues. If everything works, he must return it to the organizers, sealed, at the end of the stage. The crew also has cameras in the cabin for a more thorough inspection. The Czech crew welcomes the news and believes that they will handle everything smoothly. Frantisek Tomasek has been navigating Martin Macik on the Dakar for 6 years. For David Svanda, this will be his third Dakar experience with the team. “We’re very much in sync now. Frantisek has been with us since I was 20. David came later, but he fit in well. We have children of the same age. Our personalities match really well, too. I’m really happy to have them on the team. I know I can rely on them, we get along well, we always have something to talk about, this all shows in the relaxed mood in the cabin and in the results,” Martin Macik confessed. “For Dakar, you need determined people who are willing to leave their comfort zone, who like adventure, sleeping in a tent and don’t mind that everyone around smells,” Frantisek Tomasek said. “I’m looking forward to it. We are well-prepared. We have trained how to quickly deal with basic issues. Replacing a wheel, turbo or any torn-off part of the truck will no longer surprise us. Everyone knows exactly what to do,” David Svanda added.
New Year’s Eve is celebrated with work at Dakar
Nobody on the Big Shock! Racing team made much fuss about New Year’s Eve celebrations. Everyone had a lot of work to do. The mechanics used all the time to prepare the truck, which must be ready for the race on Friday evening. The team management dealt with organizational issues related to the competition. The crew members helped, set up the cabin, and on the New Year’s night tried to sleep and gain strength before Saturday’s prologue, which will officially set off the long-awaited Dakar madness.
Video from SHAKEDOWN is here.