Pilot Martin Macik, navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda from the MM Technology team successfully completed the 3rd stage of the Dakar, which was complicated by rain. At the same time, the Czech crew managed to pull buggies out of the flooded river, change a tire and wash out Cenda’s cabin during their ride through this wild stage as they battled fogged glass. Tuesday’s stage was originally supposed to lead to the city of Ha’il and promised a portion of 447 racing kilometers, but for safety reasons and due to heavy rains, it was eventually shortened by 70 km for the trucks. Nevertheless, its demandingness exceeded all expectations of the crew from Sedlcany, which has already won the prologue, achieved victory in the 1st stage and experienced a lot of unexpected twists and turns during this year’s Dakar. The MM Technology crew arrived as the first truck at the point where the race was terminated. (However, the official results were not yet available at the time of the release of the report).
We set a great pace
The well-rested crew of the MM Technology team set off for the 3rd stage at a chasing pace on Tuesday morning. Even the orange truck, Cenda, was again as good as new after the intervention of mechanics overnight. And the thorough preparation paid off. Although this special stage had to be shortened by 70 km for safety reasons, it brought the competitors from Sedlcany experiences that will go down in the team’s chronicles among the most extreme ones. “The stage was quite a handful again today. At the beginning, we set the pace. We turned right, left, we drove a lot in the sand. And suddenly a hole in the left rear tire appeared. But David managed to pump the air back into it for a while. At that time, we started to catch up with the crews ahead of us. They were driving in a row, together. We passed them one by one. But then we had to change the punctured tire and then overtake them again, which we successfully did. It helped us that Ferry saw through several navigation traps like a pro he is and hit all the waypoints right the first time,” says Martin Macik.
Cenda was pulling buggies from the river
But then it started to rain brutally, and the track changed. Puddles and rivers suddenly covered the sand. “Mordor has come. In the rain, we flew through water, which has nowhere to soak in around here. We drove in tracks that turned into huge puddles. Then we arrived at the river that had just formed there from the water flowing down from the mountains. We crossed it, but half of the truck disappeared under water. And suddenly we see buggies floating to the left. They were in the river and could neither go forward nor back. The tide caught them with the pilot still inside. We immediately turned around and went to pull them out. We threw them a rope, but they couldn’t tie the buggy. We pulled so hard it made a hole in the hood. The rope was breaking apart. We were stuck there in the sand and had to get out again through the water. Finally, as we were leaving, Ferry found out that we didn’t collect a waypoint that was on the other side of the river. So, into the water we went again. Picked up the waypoint. Returned across the river once more. When we went in there for the third time, we barely made it through. Really rough,” described Macik.
Flooding in the cabin
The crew then started the chase again in the rain, but further complications arose. “Our windshield was fogging up terribly. The wipers couldn’t keep up with the downpour. We first used a cloth and tried to wipe a small part of the front window clean for Mates. But it wasn’t doing any good. So, we took a bottle of water, made a hole in it, and splashed on the window from time to time. Which worked quite well. But gradually we started to have a lot of water in the cabin too. However, we managed to catch up and overtake Jarda Valtr and reach the point where the race was terminated,”describes navigator Frantisek Tomasek and adds that if things continue like this, the Dakar Obsessed events will probably last all night so that the crew can get to retell all the lived-through experiences to the attending fans.
At the Dakar, the situation often develops differently than planned. It is important that even in extreme conditions, such as today’s, all competitors reach the bivouac safely. At the time of the release of the report, it is not yet clear whether the program of the next 4th stage will go on by the original scenario. You can follow the current news on Martin Macik’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martinmacikjr.