The crew of the MM Technology team, consisting of Martin Macik, Frantisek Tomasek and David Svanda, finished in 7th place in Saturday’s 7th stage of the Dakar and hold 4th position overall. In the newly announced marathon stage, the Cenda truck flew fast through most of the track, and everything was developing according to plan. Until the front attachment of the cabin gave way on the orange machine. However, the crew promptly secured Cenda with clamping belts and arrived at the destination at a more leisurely pace. On the road to the service zone, a stone caused a hole in Cenda’s windshield. A big thank you this time to the mechanics who did a great job both before and after the stage. Crew members head to a separate bivouac with their sleeping bags and toothbrushes while Cenda will spend the night in parc fermé. And tomorrow we fight on. Keep your fingers crossed.

A promising start

The crew of the MM Technology team had learned that the marathon stage was awaiting them only after arriving at the finish line of Friday’s 6th stage, in which they finished in an excellent 3rd place. But they immediately began preparing and packing and were looking forward to the newly announced development of the rally. The mechanics were pretty busy because they were trying to prepare Cenda for two demanding racing days.

The special stage from Riyadh to Al Duwadimi was 333 kilometers long, and Martin Macik performed excellently at the beginning of the stage. “In the beginning it looked like a good stage. We started reducing the time gap of those in front us right away. We were overtaking beautifully. We drove in wet, very soft sand, which did not allow us to fly as fast as we are used to, because the heavy truck was sinking into it. But everything went smoothly,” described Martin Macik.

The crew continued along the winding track between the rocks. “We were doing more of a truck trial here and there. We also drove in beautiful big dunes where we were chasing each other with Van Kasteren. First, I couldn’t climb one hill and had to start again, then he did the same. It was challenging, but fun,” describes Macik.

Adrenaline-filled continuation

But suddenly there was a bang, and it was obvious that there was something wrong with the truck. “The cabin attachment snapped on the front left side. We had to climb out and see how we were doing. We spent some time on the spot before we managed to secure the cabin. And then we drove the rest of the stage at half, sometimes at three-quarters of the pace. That means when the terrain was flat and we weren’t bouncing, we sped up, when the track was jumpy, which was most of the time, we had to slow down. That’s how we reached the finish line,” Martin Macik describes the complications on the road.

Icing on the cake

After the crew of the MM Technology team reached the finish line safely and headed down the road to the service area to meet with the mechanics, another mishap happened. “To make matters worse, some wannabe racer, who doesn’t brake on the retarders, passed us on the road and his wheels threw up a stone which hit our windshield. There is a door-sized hole right in the middle,” Frantisek Tomasek described. And Martin Macik concluded: “Today we certainly stocked up on more stories for Dakar Obsessed. But we are at the finish line and David remains an optimist. Our mechanics know how to come on top of every situation. We keep fighting, so keep your fingers crossed for us tomorrow, we’ll keep pushing again.”

Unexpected “marathon” stage – there are only 2 hours for repairs

The originally planned traditional marathon stage for this year’s Dakar awaits the riders in the dunes of the Empty Quarter on 12th January. All competitors will spend the night in makeshift conditions in the desert with no facilities and no support vehicles, so they will have to handle all the repairs of their machines by themselves.

But this time, in order to maintain the difficulty of the rally after the shortening of the 7th and 8th stage, the organizers unexpectedly announced another marathon stage for Saturday as well. However, it was to be more pleasant. After the crew reached their finish line, they moved along the road to the service zone, where they were allowed to utilize the help of their mechanics for repairs and maintenance. But the service time was reduced to just two hours. Then the vehicles went to the parc fermé, where they will be picked up by competitors before Sunday’s stage.