In Stage 8 of the Dakar Rally, the competitors had to overcome a rough, sandy, 395-kilometre-long track. The Big Shock! Racing team’s truck crew, Martin Macik, Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda described it as the most challenging stage of this year’s rally. The yellow truck from Sedlcany managed to finish the stage in an excellent 7th place thanks to a risky pursuit (interrupted only once by a tire change) and perfect navigation. The crew moved up again in the overall rankings, to 9th place. The improved performance of their truck has also added to the Sedlcany crew’s appetite for racing.

The most challenging stage of this year’s Dakar so far

Martin Macik’s yellow Iveco truck set off on the track of Monday’s special stage from 9th position. The organisers had promised a track full of challenging dunes and sandy fields for Stage 8 – a promise they, according to the Sedlcany crew, definitely kept. “It was a blast. I think it was probably the hardest stage of this year’s Dakar so far. We drove four hundred racing kilometres, and the first two hundred were just dunes, sometimes interrupted by a kilometre-long pass. And then dunes again, and again. That’s why it took everyone so long to finish today. It was really tough, but we were flying like the wind,” Martin Macik described the stage.

I haven’t seen dunes like that in a long time

The stage started with a sandy terrain and the crew had to jump out of the car and change a tire at the very beginning. “We ran over something in a canyon in the dust, where we couldn’t see properly and had to change a tire. Unfortunately, it was on the rocks, and it wasn’t easy, we lost about ten minutes there,” the onboard mechanic, David Svanda, said. Before the crew could continue, they were overtaken by several of their competitors, but immediately set off to catch up. And it went surprisingly well. “It seems that the mechanics managed to improve the truck’s performance a bit overnight, which helped us to overcome today’s huge dunes quite smoothly. I haven’t seen dunes like that in a long time,” the navigator, Frantisek Tomasek, added, describing the high and very challenging dunes the truck had to climb up. “We were passing dangerous funnels, we often had to overtake each other. It was quite a risky ride. And navigation was also quite challenging, but Frantisek managed it perfectly,” Macik complimented his colleague. After waiting for the neutralisation, the crew of the yellow truck, called Charles, set off for the second part of the stage and gradually managed to overtake all the trucks that had overtaken them during the tire change. And during the flight to the finish, which was very jumpy at the end, they overtook other trucks as well.

Our bodies are sore, but the appetite for racing is growing

At the finish of today’s stage, Martin Macik’s crew admitted that the improved performance of the truck has also boosted their appetite for racing. This is even though the kilometres covered in the rough terrain are already starting to take their toll on the crew’s bodies.

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