Big Shock Racing yellow truck parked in front of the finish ramp of the Rallye du Maroc on Wednesday afternoon. Martin Macik, Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda, tired but satisfied, got out of a broken truck that brought them to the finish of the most demanding test before the Dakar 2020. They officially finished 2nd, but the results in this case were not that important. The main goal was to finish the race, gain valuable experience, deal with navigation changes (colorful roadbooks received just shortly before the start) and test the new Dakar special. It was all a success. Over 1,000 kilometers of racing, in a terrain almost identical to Dakar, cannot be experienced elsewhere. After returning to Sedlcany, the mechanics know they have a great deal to work on. It was definitely something to remember for the drivers and fans have a lot to look forward to. As the Dakar 2020 is approaching and its new director David Castera, who has also prepared this year’s tough Moroccan warm-up, hinted that the next year in Saudi Arabia will be very adventurous.    

Moroccan baptism by fire

This year’s Rallye du Maroc perfectly tested the resilience, ingenuity and readiness of the teams. The extremely challenging track full of rocks, hidden stairs and treacherous riverbeds smashed racing machines and shook the drivers in the cabins, too. The crew of the yellow Iveco Karel had to handle several defects during the five brutal stages: they got stuck in the desert with gearbox that didn’t work, drove through two stages with a broken windshield and part of the track with a dented hull, the last stage even with a hole in the cabin. Martin was hit a few times by the steering wheel, and at the end of the route the bottoms of the crew were already fairly kneaded and their stomachs were a upset. The team mechanics, who had experienced several sleepless nights, had to give it all, too, repairing Karel, or looking for inaccessible spare parts all over the state. And if it hadn’t been for their incredible dedication, sense of improvisation and skilful hands, the yellow Iveco wouldn’t have gone through the finish line.

“After Morocco, I can say that Charles can go much faster than Franta did. It is clear that we are dealing with the new car’s child diseases, but that is why we are here. It was like the purgatory. I have not experienced such crazy stages for a long time. We’re pretty wiped out, and so is Charles. The track was hard, uneven and very long. But we are so happy that we made it. I thank the mechanics for the great work – Frantisek, for not getting lost too much, David, for knowing how to deal with stuff. I am glad that I am here with people I can rely on,” Martin Macik said.

Czech power in the truck section

There were only two cars in the truck competition – two identical Ivecos constructed in the Big Shock Racing team’s Sedlcany workshops, the second one custom-made for Jaroslav Valtra. The trucks had a separate route, therefore the navigation was difficult, with no tracks on the ground, so it was necessary to rely on their own skills. In the second stage, Jaroslav Valtr helped to pull Martin Macik’s truck after they experienced some problems with the gearbox. At the beginning of the fourth stage, Martin was in turn waiting for Jaroslav to replace the cardan, so that they could race together. Finally, both new cars managed to finish the race, although Macík’s truck had a big penalty in the second stage. This is a decent success, given the number of cars that ultimately did not finish.

The Big Shock Racing team is now working hard in the workshops, and Charles must be back in shape before sending the racing cars to Saudi Arabia in December. On October 29, Martin Macik and Jan Brabec will meet their fans at the Autoclub in Prague to hype each other up for the January Dakar events. At the same time, the advance sale of tickets started for the Obsessed with Dakar series that will take place in January and February 2020 in 10 cities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Martin Macik is also preparing another interesting project focused on road safety. In short, even after the Rallye du Maroc, the Big Shock Racing team members and fans have a lot to look forward to.