Dakar winner’s kingdom: own top trucks and cafes

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A few days ago, Martin Macík Jr. won the prestigious Dakar Rally off-road car race in the truck category, so no one will take the title of leader of the given category from him this year. With a bit of exaggeration, however, it can be said that it has belonged to him for a long time. As he explains to CzechCrunch, he and his father, Martin Macík Sr., build racing trucks under the MM Technology brand for hundreds of thousands of euros for their rivals, and his media agency also makes sure that they and the Dakar receive the appropriate attention.

Wasteland – 650 thousand square kilometers of sand dunes. This is the world’s fourth largest desert, the Rub al-Khali, which is largely located in Saudi Arabia. The Dakar Rally was also held there this year, specifically its extreme two-day stage (you can find more about the history of the race in the box at the end of the article). “We didn’t know what we were doing, we were in the middle of the desert and it was beautiful. The hardest stage I’ve ever experienced, but we had a lot of fun.” says Macík, who participated in the famous race for the twelfth time.

At the finish line of the mentioned stage, his crew with navigator František Tomášek and mechanic David Švanda gave the second team, also a Czech one led by another well-known pilot Aleš Loprais, about an hour and a quarter. Čend, the name of the machine that brought them to the finish line, avoided breakdowns and Macík’s crew did not let anyone in front of them after the Desolate End.

Euphoria at the finish line could thus begin. Macík junior has finished fifth, fourth and last year second in the race. And no one will take the first place from him after this year. As he says: “Dad and I have been working on this for over twenty years. It is the result of a long-term effort.”

Photo: MM Production

This year, a two-day stage in the Rub al-Khalí desert took place at the Dakar

Thirty-four-year-old Macík Jr. has off-road racing in his blood. The father is also a multiple participant in the famous Dakar, in which he was at most fourth. The first machine that Macík junior drove, but it did not have a steering wheel. She was the babe he was raving about at his dad’s printing house in Sedlčany. “I was five or six years old. My feet didn’t reach the ground and I kept falling.” laughs the new winner. Gradually, however, he switched to more powerful machines, and even raced on motorcycles. He finally switched from single-track machines to two-track ones, never let go of the steering wheel and finally got the papers for a truck in his twenties.

The Macík family’s business obsession with Dakar fully erupted twenty years ago, when the elder of the Martin duo took the money earned by a printing company in Sedlčany and started manufacturing trucks. The KM Racing company was established, under which the MM Technology brand falls today.

“We build trucks to order. We provide service to those sold both during and after the races. Today we already have several divisions,” Macík the younger explains. Although MM Technology is still a family business and does not build as many trucks as large factories, it is equal to them in terms of quality. And as this year’s Dakar showed, he can even surpass them. At present, they produce three machines a year, there were four at this year’s Dakar, and a total of eight are in use in the world.

And what makes cars whose price starts at around five hundred thousand euros (roughly twelve and a half million crowns) unique? “They are all ours. Although we have the engine block from Ivec, we modify it according to our ideas. We need enormous performance, endurance and reliability from him.” it is called Macík fervently. It is similar with other parts: “Today we can design the muzzle ourselves. We give the machine a name, for example Čenda, and that’s it.” The racing special from MM Technology has over 1,100 horsepower and consumes roughly 150 liters of fuel per hundred kilometers.

With exceptions, all machines have Czech names. “I think dad will just wake up, come to me like the last one and say that it will be called Čenda and Jenda. I then ask him what they will call it in English, and he says simply Čenda and Jenda,” Macík explains with a laugh.

Whether it’s called Čenda, Jedna or Franta, the designers have to keep pushing the capabilities of the machine. The organizers of the Dakar, the French agency ASO, which is also responsible for the cycling Tour de France, want to make the race more difficult. And although they are improving the technique at MM Technology, it is already hitting its limits somewhere. “The problem is the tires, they will bang. So it is up to the driver to adapt the ride,” Macík the younger explains.

martin-macik-mladsi-and-vitezny-truck-cenda

Although, according to Macík, his most profitable activity is building trucks, most of the money he earns goes back into the races. “It eats money. For the entire team, Dakar means expenses in the millions of euros. Just registering one car is a matter of tens of thousands of euros, and the entry fees are hundreds of thousands.” lists a pilot who currently lives by what he studied: marketing.

His agency MM Production makes visible not only its own projects, but also clients, for example from among Macík’s rivals in the Dakar. “We provide media for dozens of teams. Photos, videos, graphics, social networks, strategy… For us, it means two months of preparation before the Dakar, then two weeks of the event itself and a month after it. This year we had about twelve people on site, and twelve more worked in the Czech Republic on the Dakar alone,” says Macík.

There has been a long-term interest in the Dakar in the Czech Republic, which after all is illustrated by Macík junior, who is successful not only on social networks – he is followed by over 94 thousand users on Instagram and can keep the fan community together even live. Under the brand Obsessed with Dakar Macík et al. with their talk show, they tour cities across the country and manage to sell out one place after another.

It eats money. For the whole team, these are expenses in millions of euros. Registration of one car is a matter of tens of thousands of euros, entry fees are hundreds of thousands.

As Macík admits, off-road racing is a life-long activity for him, but in recent years he has devoted himself to something new. “I never drank coffee. But then my wife and I opened our first cafe just before covid, we had our first child and I started,” he says one afternoon at the Pilot Cafe near Prague’s Letná, which is managed by his wife together with the second branch in Pankrác.

“We wanted something that we would like, that would be enjoyable and that would pay for itself. The wife used to work in such an environment, so it made sense for that too.” explains Macík, saying that they are currently looking for a place for a third branch, which they would like to open in Smíchov, Prague.

He is thinking of displaying a statue of a Bedouin, a trophy for Dakar winners, in cafes. He has two, the big one for this year’s victory and the smaller one for last year’s second place. “If I have three, I would like to show them here as well. I have the statue on display in my study, but since I’ve been back it’s mostly been in the back seat of the car because I’m always taking it somewhere,” he concludes with a smile.

The Dakar Rally, originally called Paris-Dakar, is one of the most demanding and prestigious off-road car races in the world. It has been running since 1978, when the race took place from the French capital to Senegal’s Dakar. In 2009, for security reasons, the event was moved to South America, and since 2020 it has been held in Saudi Arabia. The Dakar is contested in several categories: motorcycles, quads, cars and trucks. The race consists of several stages, which participants complete over the course of two weeks.

Source: Dakar Rally

The article is in Czech

Tags: Dakar winners kingdom top trucks cafes

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