The Big Shock Racing! team has received safety instructions for the 43rd annual legendary Dakar Rally 2021. This is another positive news confirming that the world’s most demanding rally will start as planned from Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on Sunday, January 3. The competition is expected to have stricter security measures to guarantee the protection of participants in the Dakar caravan against Covid-19. During the race, the teams will follow the rules that the organizing ASO organization already implemented during the recent Tour de France. They are based on three basic measures: a system for performing PCR tests, movement in a closed group of Dakar participants, to which no one from the outside will have access, and also compliance with stricter hygiene rules during the race. The Big Shock Racing! team will have 19 members. The already experienced crew of Macik, Tomasek and Svanda will try to improve on their 5th place from the previous year, in their Iveco truck, Charles. The team’s facilities will again be provided by Liaz, the supply of spare parts will be transported by a MAN truck and also a newly reconstructed Liaz truck. The organizers believe that thanks to the responsibility of all participants, the audience and competitors will all be able to enjoy the unique Dakar atmosphere.
Pre-departure arrangements: tests and substitutes
Mandatory requirements that all participants must meet include restrictions on social contacts 14 days before departure and a negative PCR test performed a maximum of 48 days before entering Jeddah. Vaccination against seasonal flu is also a condition of participation. In addition, the organizers recommend Dakar participants to take another test 1 week before departure to Saudi Arabia. “We are starting to arrange everything we need. We anticipate that preparations for the next Dakar will be a bit more demanding than in previous years, but we will definitely manage everything,” Martin Pabiska, the manager of the Big Shock Racing! team reported. Other recommendations to the racing teams include the provision of substitutes within the accompanying team, who will be able to stand in if necessary in case someone test positive for Covid-19.
“We will all spend the end of the year with our immediate family this year. From December 15, we should limit contacts with other people. I hope our mental health can take it. But at least we will enjoy Christmas with our wives and kids,” Martin Macik said, adding that every year he tried to prescribe himself some peace and quiet before Dakar, and he seldom succeeded. Another change compared to previous years is the actual travel to Dakar. Due to limited flights and security measures, there are currently more options at play to get to Jeddah. The Big Shock Racing! Team has already had tickets to Jeddah booked for some time as a back-up solution. However, they would prefer a separate flight that would transport all Czech teams to Saudi Arabia at once. At the moment, joint negotiations are underway on specific options and conditions.
We will race for our fans
“We have to follow the rules and restrictions, be careful and do our best to be able to pass the inspections. Once we’re all right in the bivouac in Jeddah, we can go racing, each of us knows what to do. We will try to win the Dakar and represent the Czech Republic as best we can. We will race for all our fans. We believe that they will enjoy the race with us and we will help them to get distracted a little from the stress and worries that follow us every day,” Martin Macik promised.
Technical inspections and handovers will be on the program on January 1 and 2 and will also include PCR tests, provided directly by the organizers. A negative result will guarantee individual team members access to the Dakar bivouac. There, they will need to comply with strict hygiene rules. Wearing face masks will be mandatory, as well as keeping a safe distance and regular disinfection. The Dakar caravan will create a closed community to which no one from the outside will have access. Competitors will also be accompanied by a mobile laboratory, which will perform tests if necessary.
According to the current schedule, the first stage of the Dakar Rally will start on January 3 from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The day off is planned for January 9 in Ha´il. The Dakar caravan will then reach the finish of the demanding race on January 15.