The driver Martin Macik, navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda won the truck category in the tenth Dakar stage. After yesterday’s victory, the Sedlcany special of the Big Shock! Racing team was the first to cross the finish line again and proved that the dreaded Russian trucks can be defeated. The work of the well-coordinated party of team mechanics, who finished their work just before 6 a.m., also contributed to the victory. They handed the truck over to the crew in top shape and ready to withstand rough handling at the maximum possible speed. The Czech crew were able to make full use of its potential and come out of the stage on the top of the truck category. They were in the lead from start to finish, recording the second-fastest time at only one of the checkpoints. During the stage, they changed one tire and crossed the finish line wearing ski goggles, without the windscreen, but laughing.
First at the finish line first, wearing ski goggles and laughing…
Wednesday’s tenth stage was again very fast, dusty and difficult to navigate. It was clear in advance that there would be no room for error on the track consisting of over 300 racing kilometres. The crew of the Big Shock! Racing team did not despair over losing the benefit of larger intervals at the start, when the trucks were lined up after the 30th starting passenger car and they were starting the stage 30 seconds apart, regardless of the ranking. It wasn’t easy on the track either. The crew arrived at the finish line in ski goggles and their truck, Charles, was missing the windscreen. “It’s an interesting experience to open the whole stage. It was very difficult to navigate, but Ferry managed. We didn’t make many mistakes, we only changed one tire. Also, we drove the last 100 kilometres without the windscreen. We hit a branch, our windscreen broke, but it seemed it would hold. Suddenly, the whole thing just shattered and fell into the cabin and on us. The boys had to kick it out while driving. We put on ski goggles. Then I had to take them off again because my regular glasses kept digging into my face underneath. Our teeth are sandblasted. But it’s the second victory in my career in a row. There are two more stages to go. Keep your fingers crossed for us,” Martin Macik said at the finish, with by Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda agreeing.
It is the skills of the mechanics and the civic courage of the navigator that is behind the success
Yesterday’s and today’s victories were a well-deserved result of the joint commitment of all members of the Big Shock! Racing team. The well-organised group of team mechanics hardly slept the past two nights, as they would finish their work around 6 a.m. The stages of the second part of this year’s Dakar are so rough that the truck, Charles, needs thorough servicing every night. Nevertheless, in the morning, it is once again a vehicle that the crew can rely on. It also helps that the mechanics know the truck down to the very last bolt. They built it themselves in the Sedlcany workshops based on the nineteen years of experience of team leader Martin Macik, Sr. It would not have been possible to achieve such results without the experience of the team manager Martin Pabiska and without the civic courage of navigator Frantisek Tomasek, who leads Charles through the stages this year without much hesitation. “We call it civic courage. It helps that Martin and I know each other so well, we have been friends for many years. He can tell what’s going on in my head just from the sounds of my voice or the tapping of my foot, so we can help each other in the cabin. This year, we are going with absolute concentration and focus, but it is great that we can laugh and have fun even in those stressful situations,“ Tomasek described, adding that the organizers have set some navigation baits this year, so sometimes everyone, including the Russians, wanders. “In recent years, it has not happened that we would meet them going in the opposite direction so many times. We can see that even the top eastern crews are struggling this year,” Tomasek, who is navigating for the first time this year with the help of an electronic roadbook, concluded.
Everyone from the Big Shock! Racing team are excited that they were able to make their fans happy with excellent results. But at the same time, they are still trying to focus on the overall ranking. There are two more stages left until the end of Dakar, so a lot can still be both gained and lost. Experienced Dakar veterans remind us that Dakar ends only at the finish of the very last stage.