The penultimate stage of this year’s extremely demanding Dakar successfully finished. The driver, Martin Macik, navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda from the Big Shock! Racing team dealt with today’s 346 sharp and tricky kilometres with surprising calmness. Even though they stopped at one point to pull the Buggyra team’s truck out of a dune, they arrived at the finish line in an excellent 4th place. The crew of the yellow truck, called Charles, thus moved to 8th place in the overall rankings.

We fought really hard today

Those who have not experienced the Dakar themselves can hardly imagine how difficult it is to cope with the extreme conditions the race gradually brings, such as fatigue, lack of sleep, or adrenaline rushes. But all the hardships quickly disappear when the stage goes well. And that’s exactly what happened to the Big Shock! Racing crew today. Martin Macik, with navigator by Frantisek Tomasek and the onboard mechanic, David Svanda, started Stage 11 from 6thplace. But the Sedlcany crew managed to keep a good pace all the way through and gradually worked their way forward. “Today’s stage was ridiculously hard, just as the organizers promised. Huge, irregular dunes, difficult navigation, a broken, muddy route. We were all riding in the dust where one couldn’t see anything. We fought really hard today, but we loved every minute of it,” the driver Martin Macik confessed at the finish line. Frantisek Tomasek added: “A classic start in the dust. The first checkpoint was on the right, but we all went left. So, we had to go back, and nearly everyone in the TOP 5 was going in circles. From then on, we were flying through the dust. The track was very varied. We were going through something that’s practically indescribable – dry stumps, soft sand, bumps. There were also huge dunes that were not easy to overcome. But we managed to keep our place among the best.”

We pulled Casale out without a second thought and kept going

Along the way today, the yellow truck crew also spotted an unexpected situation – a Buggyra team truck in dire need of help. “We saw Ignazio, who basically buried their truck. Without giving it a second thought, we stopped, pulled them out and carried on. I think Šiky was over the moon that someone had stopped, and he didn’t have to dig the truck up,”Martin Macik described. The challenges of the rough track, however, affected more racing vehicles today. The Sedlcany crew passed a handful of them on the track. “Today was a solid crash test for all the cars. We are glad that Charles was able to hold up. But, we are curious to see how many cars will reach the finish line, because it was really brutal,” the mechanic David Svanda said. “This is what the Dakar should be like. It’s a great ride, the kind we like. But, the Dakar ends with the last stage, and that’s tomorrow. It will be shorter, but just as important as all the previous ones,” Martin Macik added. Tomorrow, the 44th legendary long-distance rally ends with the last special stage. It will take the Dakar caravan to the very last finish line in Jeddah.

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