The bivouac in Jeddah is coming to life as the start of the 2022 Dakar Rally approaches. Truck drivers Martin Macik and Martin Soltys from the Big Shock! Racing team have successfully completed the shakedown, the pre-start practice ride during which they tested their trucks. They are satisfied with the result of the test drives in the Saudi Arabian terrain. The trucks are ready for Friday’s technical inspections, and the mechanics are getting down to preparing the assistance cars. The drivers have also managed to meet and greet with their competitors and decorate their helmets with their daughters’ names.

Prepare the cars, greet the competitors, decorate the helmets

On Tuesday, the day after arriving in Jeddah, the mechanics from Sedlcany started working on the trucks and spent the whole day preparing them. They connected the navigation equipment, added the last stickers to the bonnets, carefully checked all the components according to the service plans, added and replaced some parts, arranged things in the cabins, and installed safety equipment. The navigator Frantisek Tomasek and onboard mechanic David Svanda wrote their children’s names on their helmets, and Martin Macik added his daughter Nela, born shortly before the departure for Dakar. Tuesday was also a time to say hello to the competitors and chat with Czech colleagues. At the same time, there were several organisational briefings and the team manager, Martin Pabiska, and his boss Martin Macik, Sr. prepared all the documents necessary for the New Year’s Eve inspections.

Shakedown: a successful Dakar warm-up

The Big Shock! Racing team spent Wednesday morning on the shakedown. It is a test drive where the drivers can use the area marked by the organisers, drive on the local terrain at a sharper pace and check the responsiveness of the racing cars and the crews just before the start of the Dakar. This time, the drivers had the track of last year’s prologue at their disposal. The driver Martin Macik, accompanied by navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda, drove his truck around the rocky circuit and was more than satisfied with the result. “We did two circuits on the rocky track. After the first lap, we felt really good. Everything on the car was right, everything worked. Only Ferry didn’t have the electronic roadbook, so he couldn’t try the navigation yet,” Martin Macik reported. The pre-start drive was also welcomed by Martin Soltys, the driver of the Big Shock! Racing’s second truck. “We didn’t manage to drive the new car much before the start, but our first impressions are excellent so far. The car is new, and everything works as it should. It’s a pleasure to drive such a well-tuned truck,” Martin Soltys said. He is joined on board by the navigator Roman Krejci and mechanic Jakub Jirinec.

There’s a lot of buzz in the bivouac

The Big Shock! Racing team’s Dakar bivouac has grown a lot since last year. Five race trucks built in Sedlcany are parked there. The first one is Charles, a tried-and-tested truck, with which the pilot Martin Macik and his crew will compete. The second, and newest, is Arnold, which will be driven by Martin Soltys. The Big Shock! Racing also shares the bivouac with the teams Italtrans Racing and Project 2030, for whom the Macik family has built race trucks at their MM Technology development centre in Sedlcany this year, and for whom they provide technical service at the Dakar. Finally, there is also Maurik van den Heuvel, who also has a truck built on a chassis from Sedlcany.

A big clean-up in spare parts

Technical adjustments were supposed to take place on Thursday, but it seems that due to the satisfactory test-drive results, the mechanics will go straight to the preparation of the accompanying cars. “We will clean up the working space, sort out the parts, tools and other equipment that got mixed up during transport. We carry tons of different equipment in each car, so there has to be some kind of order. We’ll also wash the cars. There is still plenty of work to do, but Thursday should be the last relatively quiet day,” the mechanic David Svanda explained.

On Friday, the Big Shock! Racing team will undergo technical inspections. On Saturday, Martin Macik, Martin Soltys and their crews will take off for the opening prologue of the 2022 Dakar Rally, leading from Jeddah to Haʼil.

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