Big Shock Racing’s yellow truck successfully passed the scrutineering and started the 7-day Rallye du Maroc long distance race. In the truck category it will compete with his twin brother, an identical Iveco, created for Jaroslav Valtra at the same time in the Big Shock Racing team workshop in Sedlcany. The very first Saturday’s part of the Moroccan Rally showed that the organizers had prepared a track for the drivers that would keep them on their toes. The challenging terrain will test the durability of racing machines and the preparation of drivers. In the first stage, Charles finished in the second place, after two defects and a minor navigational error.
Night shift to successful scrutineering
The racing machines set off to Morocco well in advance under the supervision of meticulous Big Shock Racing mechanics. Meanwhile, the pilot Martin Macik with navigator Frantisek Tomasek and other team members hopped on the plane after work on Thursday and went from rainy Prague to hot Casablanca. It was not easy to wake up the car rental staff after midnight, but eventually the pre-booked cars were picked up, albeit with a half-empty tank. After dealing with all the travel adventures it was only 288 km to Fes, where our drivers arrived at 4.30 am. They got into their tents and immediately fell asleep. After a few hours of sleep, a mad alarm clock woke them up. The program of Friday morning was the technical checks in the hotel park. “Charles, our new Iveco truck, passed the whole battery of tests without any problems. We presented the organizers with licenses, documents, payment receipts, medical questionnaires. We collected all the necessary stamps. We got bracelets, stickers with the number 501 and also some car devices. We are all set for tomorrow, hurray!” Martin Macik, pilot of the Big Shock Racing team, gleefully reported.
I don’t like the first stages
On Saturday, Charles and his crew set out for the first stage leading from Fes to Erfoud. As pilot Martin Macik always emphasizes, he does not like the opening stages. The crew takes some time to start and at the same time it is reminded by the proven experience that the first stage does not win the race. That’s why he drives with his head, thoughtfully and not in full speed. It was no different in Morocco. “In the beginning we were like the wind, but then we punched a rear tire. We managed to go on and regularly inflate it. But then, suddenly, we blew another, this time a front one. We couldn’t continue like that, we had to change the front tire,” Macik describes the development of the first stage. By changing the tire the Czech truck crew lost about 9 minutes, but in the remaining part of the stage managed to make up for the loss. A minor navigation misunderstanding slowed the Big Shock Racing car just before the end of the stage. “Coming out of a riverbed, we made a wrong turn and had to return through the dunes. That cost us a few more minutes,” the navigator Frantisek Tomasek added.
Macik’s car reached the finish line in the second place. “We’re safely in the finish, that’s the main thing, and tomorrow we’ll go full throttle. We already know it will be a rough ride, but we look forward to it. The initial stage was difficult, leading us on the rocks, the truck hardly fit there. At times it looked quite dangerous, but I like these technical tracks,” Martin Macik said. It is also important that the team special Charles is doing great. After the first stage, it did not need any major service, everything worked as it should. The second stage started on Sunday and the race will finish on Wednesday, 9th October.
Golden Czech hands save the day in the 2nd stage
Few expected the Rallye du Maroc with Martin Macik and the Big Shock Racing team would be boring, but nobody thought that the race would be a drama right from the beginning. Here’s what’s happened… The team started off the 2nd stage well, but then unexpectedly stopped at the 70th km. As Martin Macik commented: “Something is going on in the gearbox”. After dismantling Charles in the bivouac it turned out that it was a material defect; one of the remanufactured components broke and the crew got stuck in the middle of the desert. The drivers dismantled the cardan so that they could be pulled on the rope and thanks to the help of Jaroslav Valtra, whom they would like to thank very much this way, they got on the road. From there, the assistance dragged them about 80 km back to the bivouac and the works immediately began. However, the spare component needed was not in stock. That is why team boss Martin Macik picked up his phone and the mechanics dispersed to the local towns and villages to get what was needed. Thanks to the incredible abilities of all involved, especially Lada Fajtl, thy eventually got their hands on the component. “Although it wasn’t exactly the exact piece we needed – it wasn’t new, we’re Czech, so we can always work it out somehow,” the mechanic David Svanda said. At night, work began on the gearbox and in the morning around 4 am mechanics announced that Charles was ready. On Monday morning, the pilot Martin Macik, navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda could set off for the – over 270 km-long – 3rd stage of the Rallye du Maroc. The crew has been penalized for not having completed the 2nd stage but they were allowed to continue. “What’s important is that Charles’s weakness revealed itself in time and did not manifest itself during Dakar. Big Shock Racing keeps fighting, we are collecting new experience, Frantisek can refine navigation that is identical to Dakar, and he’s getting used to this year’s novelties. We continue to test Charles, and – most of all – we are having a good time,” Martin Macik summarized their efforts in Morocco.
For all fans of Dakar, there is a Facebook group and Instagram profile @posedlidakarem, where it is possible to follow the Big Shock Racing team’s adventures, join discussions keep your fingers crossed for all Czech drivers.