Big Shock! Racing team preparations for the 2021 Dakar are in full swing. Charles, the truck, had an automatic gearbox installed and went through several technical improvements by the skilled mechanics in the Sedlcany workshops. The crew, driver Martin Macik, navigator Frantisek Tomasek and mechanic David Svanda, have already tested the modified truck at a racing pace during Baja Poland. The next step in preparations was to be the Rallye du Maroc, however, due to the coronavirus safety measures, the race was cancelled and replaced by the Andalucía Rally. This would be good news if only there was a trucks category in the Spanish rally. That is why the yellow special of the Big Shock! Racing team starts training on Friday, October 9, at the Polish Baja Drawsko race. This is not the first change of plans in this year’s unusual season. Nevertheless, the crew are convinced that they will race in the 2021 Dakar in Saudi Arabia on January 3, and they will be well-prepared. There are several scenarios for the last three months before Dakar, and there are still a few unknowns.
We’re looking for dunes
The now-cancelled Rallye du Maroc was to help the crew get used to the automatic gearbox in the dunes, so it was necessary to quickly find other sandy terrains for practice. This was not entirely easy in the current situation. The choice ultimately fell on El Chott – Rallye de Tunisie. The Iveco team truck, piloted by the well-established crew, was to start the nine-day race leading through the Sahara Desert on October 25. Today, however, they learned that the rally had been cancelled. Therefore, the search for dunes continues. “We have Charles well-set-up for hard terrain, rocks, pistons. But we have not had the opportunity to ride it in the dunes yet, where the vehicle will behave a little differently. On finer sand, we also want to work with the chassis settings. We believe that we will still be able to get into the sand to test and adjust everything we need,” the cabin mechanic David Svanda explained.
How to get to Saudi Arabia?
So far, the question remains how the Czech crews will get to Saudi Arabia in January. “There are several options at the moment. The organizer offered us help with arranging flights. But at the same time, we are also considering having a special plane dispatched, which will transport Czech participants to Dakar. Negotiations are already underway so that we have more options to choose from,” the head of the Big Shock! Racing team Martin Macik, Sr., reported.
This time without men’s driving
According to reports from the Big Shock! Racing team available so far, preparations for the 2021 Dakar are running according to plan. At the moment, the organizers are setting the track and solving the logistics associated with the race. The arrangements at Dakar should be similar to those during the Tour de France, organized by the same organizer, A.S.O. “We have information that the first bivouac will be on the site of technical and administrative inspections, at the stadium behind Jeddah, just like last year. We will probably be here in an enclosed space, together with other participants in the race. Unfortunately, the current situation will not allow us to do the traditional kick-off party. No guys’ night out this time,” the navigator Frantisek Tomasek noted.
Dakar with a face mask
The Big Shock! Racing team take the safety measures seriously and will follow any and all rules that the Dakar organizers decide to put in place. “We are already looking forward to it. We assume face masks are going to be mandatory, there will be disinfection available, separate sectors… But this is not a problem. I don’t think that the course of the next Dakar will be fundamentally different from all the others. I assume that we will all undergo testing before departure and will stay together as a group during the race. So, no major changes. In the bivouac, it is usually just the team members, no mingling with others. There is not even room for anyone else,” Martin Macik described the situation. He wishes that this year’s attention be focused mainly on what is happening on the track. According to him, that will be as interesting for the audience and as challenging for the competitors as always.
The ‘Obsessed with Dakar’ have a plan
At the moment, the specific form of the project ‘Obsessed with Dakar’, a series of interactive talk shows organized for Czech fans, is also a subject of debates. The shows are scheduled for February 2021. If the situation allows it and the fans show interest, Martin Macik is ready to go on a tour of Czech cities again after returning from Dakar. “We will do everything we can to ensure that the ‘Obsessed with Dakar’ audience can meet safely. We have prepared several options as to what form the events could take. We are also aware of the mandatory quarantine which we will have to go through upon arrival from Saudi Arabia,” Macik added.
It will be three very interesting months for the Big Shock! Racing team. The crew and mechanics are already looking forward to the next year’s most demanding race, in which they reached the 5th place in the truck category this year. And, of course, the fans cannot wait for it either.