Martin Macík reports big squad changes and attack on the box

“We are going to attack the highest places of Dakar 2022 and in preparation we have done our best”, reports Martin Macík Jr. to his impatient fans, who expect no less. But for this year, that doesn’t just mean a well-tuned car, thousands of miles of practice at the wheel and hundreds of hours in the gym (you can’t even imagine how hard the Dakar is to survive!) , it also means building brand new technology and major team expansion.

Arnošt, Vincenzo and Nicias – these are the names of three new racing specials born under the wings of the MM Technology project, a technology company of the Macík family, which deals with the preparation of racing equipment for Dakar trucks. “The birth of MM Technology is not new this year. It is the result of our intensive work over the past three years – the transition to the world famous Iveco brand has helped us a lot, and we have gradually become the only private team to develop their own cars and prove on the track that they really work.”

MM technology
Twenty years of experience with Dakar races have been transformed into a newly born technology company committed to the development, production and testing of racing equipment for this demanding long-distance rally. The team around the Macík family itself designs and welds the chassis, manufactures most of the components (and modifies the rest) of the chassis and transmission, builds its own engine and tunes the transmission. The result is fast, durable machines that are the only ones that can rival the KaMAZ and MAZ factory specials, as evidenced by the results of the Big Shock crew! Races.

This year, MM Technology produced two customer trucks – the blue Vincenzo for the Italian racing team Italtrans, the white Nicias for the Dutch Project 2030 team of Keese Koolen and another customer chassis for the Dakar Speed ​​special team, but above all they built the evolution of their own racing concept.

Arnošt, as the new special is called, brings a number of seemingly small, but in fact major improvements: longer wheelbase (20cm), improved suspension and modified weight distribution (note the movement of the spare tires in the middle, a novelty is also a large fuel tank in the middle). And the result? “Calculation! During the race in Morocco I was excited about it, the car was much more stable and copied the terrain better,” Martin Macík applauded. An even bigger shock for all the fans was that he will not take the start of the Dakar 2022 behind the wheel.

How to build a racing truck?
It all starts with the welded frame of the chassis, the backbone of the whole car. They implant a heart there in the form of their own engine and gearbox with their own software, most of the other parts are also made by the team itself – the rules of the series parts define the range of the series ( tens and hundreds of pieces), which four trucks manage to fill. Completion is particularly demanding in terms of time, but this year the team trained on three cars so much that they managed to assemble the last one in just two months.

“It just came to our knowledge at that time. I asked my crew’s opinion, I asked everyone in the team, I even asked my wife, but the final decision belonged to me”, describes Martin Martík the martyr. “On the one hand, I wanted to drive a new car, but Karel and I have already been through so much, everything has been tested and verified by two Dakars, and I already know him perfectly. I just trust him more now. And it will be also his third start, there are three of us in the cabin and we have start number 503 – and three is my favorite number,” he adds with a smile.

Photo: MM Photography

Arnošt has proven himself in a tight test in Morocco and in national tests, but Martin Macík trusts Karl more. Maybe her confidence won’t let you down

However, this does not mean that Arnošt will unfortunately stay at home in the garage. The experienced Dakar matador, Martin Šoltys, will take his place behind the wheel and join the Big Shock! Racing left Buggyra this summer, with which it drove four Dakars and finished in the Top 10 in the last one.

“Having two trucks in the race is definitely an advantage. If everything goes according to plan, Martin and I will try to go as far as possible and at the same time be in sight of each other. We will get to know each other, we will help each other. When something happens on the track, we stop, get out of the dune, help with repairs, share parts or tires,” explained Macík, another tactical advantage for this year’s race.

Photo: MM Photography

The big shock team! The race will use two trucks to fight, the second will be driven by the experienced Martin Šoltys and Martin Macík will cover each other’s backs

The strength of the team
In the middle of the race, the drivers themselves are the most visible, but there is always a big team behind them, without which it wouldn’t be possible. Specifically in this case, it is mainly navigator František Tomášek and mechanic David Švanda, who share the cabin with Martin Macík. Then comes a large group of mechanics who tirelessly prepare the equipment – in the last months before the start for the Dakar, even up to 14 hours a day. “We also have three volunteers who wanted to experience the Dakar so much that they decided to devote their free time, so they work with us all day in the workshop and continue to work”, adds Macík. Such is the power of Dakar. In December, as all the ship’s equipment moves from Marseille to Jeddah, the whole team will rest and be able to regain strength for the main event of the whole season – the Dakar 2022 race itself.

Photo: MM Photography

It’s not just about the driver, but the entire crew and all the other team members. Number of participants for the Big Shock team! The race will be a record this year

Four MM Technology race trucks will be at the start and their technical and logistical support has taken the team to a whole new level. “Thanks to the cooperation with the Czech representation, we have three new Iveco support vehicles, which together will transport 85 tonnes of spare parts. Instead of the 20 people last year, our team has grown to 37 people this year – mechanics, tire drivers, drivers, auxiliaries and journalists, “calculates Martin Macík. It’s logistics on a completely different level than before, so the strength of the team’s background will be almost at factory level.

In the end, Martin Macík himself will always have it in his hands: If the stages start to win, it will only be in the second half – when everyone is tired and the cars are broken, I accelerate . The more tired I am, the better I drive. At that point, I rather instinctively drive and let the car roll and everything starts to fit together beautifully. I also really appreciate that the cabin guys trust me in all situations. Even when I hunt him wherever I can. »

Even at the start of the stage, you generally don’t know how you’re going to go that day. You can be in any mood, from the start the cars in front of you can drive past you and dust you off, in the middle you say the whole stage is in the woods že but these stages are so long you have some enough time to get going, let yourself be devoured while flying like crazy – and ride to victory.

Photo: MM Photography

In a few weeks, Karel and Arnošt will taste the Arabian dunes. Maybe they’ll like it there

After two fifth places (interspersed with a second place in the half marathon) and a fourth place, all fans would like to see Martin Macík on the box – and this year there is a very good chance that it will work. On the other hand, you never know… “It’s just one mistake and you’re having crises literally every step of the way. The Dakar ends at the finish line, and in the meantime, anything can happen. So let’s keep our fingers crossed that he wishes the 503 and 510 trucks well and makes himself and all of us happy at the end of the long run.

The Dakar 2022 begins and ends in Jeddah. Departure is January 1, 2022, arrival January 14 with only one day off. 8,378 kilometers await the runners, of which 4,250 kilometers will be covered at high speed. Who will be the winner at the end? You will be able to watch this in reports directly from the site on Garáž.cz.

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