Big Shock! Racing vehicles have successfully passed technical inspections in Marseille. The Dakar Rally organisers have taken over the equipment from the teams and shipped it to Saudi Arabia, where the legendary race starts its 44th year on January 1. Team Big Shock! Racing team is facing one of their biggest Dakar challenges. The Macik family is taking the largest number of race trucks to the Dakar, a reinforced fleet of assistance vehicles, and the strongest-ever crew with more mechanics than ever before. The organisers unveiled the details of the route, revealing that the dreaded marathon stage is planned just three days after the start. That could significantly affect the development of this long-distance rally.

The Czechs will have one of the largest teams at the Dakar

The head of the MM Technology development team, Martin Macik, Sr., brought three race trucks to Marseille. Martin Macik, Jr. will be driving Charles (with no. 503), while Martin Soltys will be driving the new Arnold (with no. 510). Nicias, the latest racing truck, was built for the Dutch Project 2030 and will have the number 520. However, other race specials developed in Sedlcany will also appear at the Dakar. The blue truck was custom-built for the Italtrans Racing Team, and Maurik van den Heuvel of the Dakar Speed team will be driving a truck with a Czech chassis. All the cars will be assisted, to varying degrees, by mechanics from Sedlcany on the Dakar track. To ensure the best possible service, a reinforced fleet of Iveco X-way support vehicles is also going to Marseille this year. The team’s facilities consist of new living quarters, including a bedroom, shower, toilet or space for storing personal belongings. There is also a separate section for tyre storage and diesel and water tanks, with tents on the roof. Another service vehicle is heavy-duty assistance, a mobile workshop on wheels. This carries a working ponk and large parts such as springs, cardans or centrepieces – all in all about 13 tons of material. There is also the tried-and-tested MAN service vehicle. The last accompanying vehicle is a light assistance vehicle full of drawers with small parts, tools, and other equipment. The team caravan that arrived at the French port also includes five press cars and two motorhomes. The racing trucks were towed to Marseille behind the assistance vehicles. The longest tow was over 13-metres-long. The Czech team’s fleet was thus one of the largest in the French port.

Inspections passed in a record time

“The commitment of the whole team before the trip to Marseille was huge. We have our biggest Dakar challenge ahead of us and the preparations corresponded to that. The mechanics did a great job,” the team boss, Martin Macik, Sr., said. Everything was packed and loaded. The journey to France went well despite a small snowstorm that surprised the caravan along the way. Minor complications also occurred when one of the caravans was burgled during the overnight stay and several mechanics lost their documents and wallets. Despite this, the team managed to complete the check-ins on time and without any problems. At the port, it was necessary to go through the administrative formalities, put stickers up on the cars, weigh them and hand them over to the organisers. Although the Czech team brought the largest fleet of vehicles in its history to the inspection, it was all done faster than in previous years, within two or three hours. Upon returning to Sedlcany, the mechanics are planning a general cleaning of the workshops and garages. They are also going to start assembling new vehicles, this time for the 2023 Dakar.

The marathon stage will shake things up shortly after the start

The organisers unveiled further details of the upcoming Dakar. A total of 578 racing vehicles will take part and cover 8,375 kilometres over 14 days. There will be 58 trucks. The biggest surprise for the crews is that the marathon stage will already take place on January 3. “That’s an interesting thing for us mechanics; it means that we won’t have a whole day off for repairs after the marathon stage when the trucks arrive at the bivouac quite broken. We will only have one night,” David Svanda, the onboard mechanic of the Big Shock! Racing team, explained. “It looks like the race will be exciting from the start. During the marathon stage, when we spend one night without assistance – away from the main bivouac, and we have to do all the repairs ourselves – that can influence the final rankings of the Dakar. We will see how this change affects the further development of the race,” the driver Martin Macik, Jr. concluded.

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