The Martin Macik with navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda finished the fifth stage of the Dakar in the 9th place and are in the excellent 3rd position in the overall ranking. Their yellow truck, Charles, took the lead from the beginning and left behind even the Russian and Belarusian drivers for a great part of the stage. But in the second half, the crew of the Big Shock! Racing team, after jumping over a dune, had to stop to repair the bent steering rod. They made it and the stop took about thirty minutes. Then Charles rushed to the finish again. Thanks to the balanced performances that Martin Macik and his co-drivers have been giving since the beginning of Dakar, they managed to maintain an excellent overall position. Even the team special, despite several demanding stages, still remains in a good condition and the mechanics have not had to deal with major repairs yet.
A treacherous leap over a dune
Today’s fifth stage of 456 racing kilometres took the Dakar caravan to a bivouac in Al Qaiumah, which was not originally planned. The crew of the Big Shock! Racing team was pleased that the trucks started separately, outside of the car and buggy categories. The Czech drivers thus had space to fully concentrate on driving and navigation. They did very well in the first half of the stage. The race among drivers at the top of the leader board was incredibly even, Martin Macik’s crew was even in the lead for a long time and proved that it is possible to compete on an equal footing with the dreaded Maz and Kamaz trucks. “In the beginning it was tough, the track lead to the top of a rock, which was almost impossible to get to. We went fast and zigzagged among the Kamaz trucks that kept getting lost there, blew dust on us as we pushed each other aside until one of them blew a tire. Then we lined up and went at our own pace,” Martin Macik described the development of the race. In the second part of the stage, however, Charles did a bigger jump on one of the dunes than he is used to. “In the last hundred kilometres of the dunes, we did quite well, but during one jump over the dune, we bent the steering rod, so the wheels got into a V-shape. We had to stop, repair it and we spent about half an hour there. Once it was done, we rushed to the finish,” Martin Macik continued with a report of the second part of the stage.
We are shocked by what Charles has endured so far
A bent steering rod is one of the things one needs to predict at Dakar. It is important to mention that the results of Martin Macik’s crew so far are also due by the perfect condition of his truck, which was developed and built for him in Sedlcany workshops by his father and team boss Martin Macik, Sr., and a group of team mechanics. Charles had his premiere at the Dakar 2020. Martin Macik managed to win a great 5th place with it last year. So far, it seems that the team has managed to move the yellow special’s technology one step further during the past year. “In this year’s Dakar, it has happened several times that the mechanics had Charles’ maintenance completed at 9 p.m. That’s quite a shock to me because I remember last year, we regularly ended with the maintenance at around 4 a.m. It’s great to see what the car can endure this year and that despite the demanding, rough stages, the team can still reach these results. I’m amazed that we still perform more or less just the routine scheduled maintenance. Let’s hope it will stay like that, knock on wood,” the manager of the Big Shock! Racing team, Martin Pabiska, commented on the current state of the truck.
Another interesting feature of today’s stage is the “close door” restriction. The track is so demanding that in the last passage, the organizer cannot let to let the drivers on the track after sunset. Therefore, anyone who arrives at CP4 after 6 pm will be automatically sent on the way and to the bivouac. If someone arrives after 10 pm, they stay put. The organizer has tents and food for them, they will sleep in the desert and get on their way in the morning. However, these drivers will also be eliminated from the main competition and be able to only race in the Dakar Experience category.