Dakar drivers Martin Macik and Jan Brabec of the Big Shock Racing team have completed their challenge and eventually set off into two speed-test laps of the Ralle Sumava Klatovy in a Valtra tractor. The very successful event, which originated from an impulsive idea, eventually became a pleasant diversification of the popular Czech race and entertained fans of motorsport and the drivers alike. What happened before the start and what was the atmosphere in the tractor cabin like?
April Fool’s Day
The decision to start the Rally Sumava Klatovy in the tractor was announced by Martin Macik on April 1 and few people believed it to be true at first. Even in Klatovy, people were wondering if the polished Valtra vehicle, coloured by enthusiasts from Rallye Design, would really take part in the race. Now we can confirm that everything was successful, and Macik and Brabec went through the two speed-test laps of the Klatovy circuit. The whole event was preceded by a relatively short preparation, a couple of trial rides, some tractor design tuning, and an arrangement with the race organizers. Thanks to the enormous enthusiasm of all the participants, the event got underway.
The riders already arrived in Klatovy in high spirits. When it came to the race itself, Martin Macik set the pace, Jan Brabec navigated on the passenger seat with borrowed notes, and the atmosphere was buzzing – both along the track and in cabin of the tractor with Nokian tyres. The first lap at 2 pm was more careful, but they went full-throttle on the second one in the evening. “It’s a whole new experience, I had to get used to it. You sit higher, controllability is different than in a truck, speed is more limited. But it was a great experience, I think the tractor driving skill will prove useful in Dakar as well. This was mainly about fun and safety was also important for us. But there was also adrenaline. At one point during the race, we bumped into some haystacks and hit our heads a few times. And when it started raining in the evening, I it took me some time to learn how to control the wiper on the SmartTouch display, but in the end, I found it in the good old place on the lever under the steering wheel,”Macik reported and jokingly complained that Jan Brabec, the navigator, was a bit in his way in the tractor cabin. “It was a great ride, we did it mostly for the fans. And it turned out that motorsport has no limits, fans are open and they like to have fun. Dakar drivers can drive the tractor at the Rally Sumava and everyone enjoys it – and that’s great to know,”Jan Brabec added.
The tractor was lent to the Big Shock Racing Dakar team drivers their friends from Topagri. Macik and Brabec completed the race in the N 174 model, which Martin chose during the training sessions. The tractor has 201 horsepower, it is a four-cylinder engine weighing six and a half tons, and Macik managed to drive it at 60 km/h. He opted for this model because it is the most suitable for the rally race. It is smaller and more manoeuvrable than the T 234, which holds a speed record. It has 250 horses and 6 cylinders, but it is more powerful and longer, which would not be entirely optimal for passing some sections of the rally track.
Hundreds of people came to the Valtra tractor team for signed cards or just for a chat. Franta, Martin Macik’s Dakar special, was also available to fans. The race drivers received several offers for the agricultural works after their performance and Jan Brabec especially wanted to try plowing or at least sowing.
The Big Shock Racing team is already planning other events that would fill the time and entertain fans before the next Dakar Rally.