The third stage of the Dakar 2020 was a 427 km-long track by the city of Neom. The racing caravan, therefore, stayed in the same spot for 2 nights and the teams had more or less a chance to rest. However, this was not the case for those racers that had a tough time on the route. Truck driver Martin Macik from Big Shock Racing team, navigated by Frantisek Tomasek and supported by mechanic David Svanda, set off from the 5th place. Right at the beginning, he fought a bit with somewhat inadequate performance of his truck, which started to lose speed on straight sections of the track. This was followed by a punctured tire and a fast ride through the riverbed and stony paths, where the crew made up for the lost time and eventually reached the finish line in the excellent 7th place, ranking 4th overall.
The team motorcyclist Jan Brabec started from the bivouac with equanimity on Tuesday. He adapts his ride to the recent injuries and it seems that the more calm and careful manner has surprisingly positive results. However, he also experienced the first falls, luckily without any injuries. He finished the stage in the 38th place and overall is in the 33rd position.
Karel tests the mechanics
This time, Martin Macik crossed the finishing line of the third stage in a great 7th place. This was even though Charles, his truck, for reasons that have not yet been identified, was driving at a slower speed than the crew was used to before sending the car to Saudi Arabia. “Hey, we crossed the finishing line! At first, it was a bit harder today. We did not have enough speed on the long, straight sections, the truck performance was off. That’s why the others passed us at the beginning. Then we blew a tire, that took some time to fix, but it lost air about 10 km before neutralization. Although the replacement only took a short time, we lost a few minutes. In the last section, where the terrain was more demanding and the performance did not matter that much, we started to catch up to others again,“ Martin Macik described the track experience.
The fact that Karel does not give the full performance slightly annoyed the crew, but at the same time, the driver was pleased that even with such a handicap, they still ranked high in the finish. The mechanics had been working on the car until late the night before, but so far they have not been able to figure out what the issue was. Apparently, everything started when Charles boarded a ship and his battery was drained. “The turbo sensor is reporting an error. One in a million cables can be a problem. We haven’t been able to find it yet, but we keep looking so that Karel can go full-throttle. It will surely be some trifle, but it’s still very annoying,” the cabin mechanic David Svanda described the situation.
The yellow-truck crew would also like to reassure the fans, who, after watching the video from stage 2, started worrying about the navigator Frantisek Tomasek’s condition. “It was not a heart attack. The rib pinched a nerve or something. I loosened my belts, straightened my chest and then it got better on a level road. Then my physiotherapist Martin Prokop took a look at it and I’m all good again,” Tomasek said.
Brabec’s recent accident brought some caution
The Big Shock Racing motorcyclist Jan Brabec experienced the first falls in the third stage. Fortunately, they were not serious. Nevertheless, the Czech biker keeps surprising by his calm and careful ride without any major navigation mistakes. “Today, I drove carefully. I will still need my leg later on. We are at the beginning, with a long way to go. I still think of that recent accident I had, so when I speed up a lot, a little sign pops up in my head. It will take some time to get used to it before going at full speed. The good thing is, it also helps me to concentrate more on navigation,” Brabec said. He finished 38th in the third stage and holds the 33rd position overall.
Watch the video from the 3rd stage!