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Petr Bošnakov - 24.07.2017

Silk Way Rally 2017: Good Thing Successfully Accomplished

Silk Way Rally 2017: Good Thing Successfully Accomplished

The first in history participation of the Tatra Buggyra Racing team in the Silk Way Rally across the territories of Russia, Kazakhstan and China became history just a couple of dozen hours ago. The time of evaluation has come. Despite all problems and trouble connected with long-distance races the balance is for the most part positive.


Action Hero of Bruntál

If one of the reasons for participation of the Buggyra team in the event was “marketing survey by fight” then the management of the Roudnice team may be absolutely satisfied. “The rally was originally thought to be about to become a grandiose festival of strength of KAMAZ trucks to which the other brands, led by IVECO and Renault, were expected to form the extras. But all of a sudden, there came Phoenix with Kolomý and rived off three stage victories, temporarily occupied the interim top rank and struggled for the overall podium. Media had a lot to devour and ponder upon,“ states the team manager Jan Kalivoda with satisfaction. “Fifty five TV stations broadcast to 196 countries of the world, and the name Kolomý was in the headlines nearly every day. Either he won the stage, or he waded in the mud, or he had a spare part thrown down to an inaccessible place where he got stuck by a helicopter. In a word, the action hero of Bruntál. He was constantly providing themes to write about or broadcast.


The respect Buggyra enjoyed at the Silk Way Rally was further evidenced by the personal helicopter of the manager of the competition, Mr. Vladimir Chagin in the role of assistant rescuer of Kolomý from the Chinese sand dunes. “The Dakar tsar Chagin is a nice man, even though at the moments Martin defeated his “sbornaya komanda” he did not look like one of our big fans. But his gesture was appropriately appreciated on the marketing side of the event. Pity the same generousness was not shown by his subordinates passing by Martin without noticing when he got stuck in the Kazakh bog,“ regretted Honza. At the same time he understood the pressure which the seven-fold Dakar winner was exposed to. “I cannot imagine what would have happened if KAMAZ had not won. In most stages we were the disturbing element breaking the carefully prepared original scenario, and we are glad for that.“


Baptism by Fire

The “newcomer” to the crew of Martin Kolomý, the rally navigator Michal Ernst literally underwent a baptism by fire. “I cannot understand why this is called rally, for the only thing it has in common with automobile rally is the name, like in the case of ice hockey and hockey ball. We have a vehicle, the team colours, but that is all. I think before the five operations and 20 screws in the body I would have coped better,” described Ernst his impressions from his premiere participation in the Silk Way Rally with a smile. “Next time I will certainly think a lot about whether I want to take part in this again,“ he added.


The other member of the crew, Jiří Stross, had indeed gathered some experience in long-distance races before, with more different crews, and thus could compare. “Now I rode with a racer,“ made the native of Roudnice nad Labem laugh the whole audience. This was the man who came up with an interesting idea in the course of the fatal repair. ”Well, I wanted to make one functional piece from the two broken monoblocks, but Kolomajz did not share my view and called Robin again to throw down a new part. The truth is that we would probably not have been able to take the sand out of that,“ laughed Stross in the course of the morning meeting with journalists, proceeding in a friendly an relaxed atmosphere.


Victory and Bad that is Good for Something

Although Martin Kolomý finally ended one rank below the top ten, the sports aspect of the experience was also endorsed with satisfaction. ”Long-distance motor vehicle races are like Tour de France. Nobody remembers the fourth-ranking rider of the overall ranks but that Štybar won a stage and Svorada even the sprint in Paris, that every fan will know and remember,“ thus Martin Kolomý offered a parallel to the concurrent cycling race. “This was certainly the hardest race I have ever participated in. I won three stages, which is more than anyone else except Sotnikov, supported in the second half of the race by all the remaining KAMAZs. And what is even more important, I covered a huge number of live kilometres, considering my past experience. Our technical director Robin Dolejš was “horrified” by the huge heap of data we will have to wade through. “


The TATRA Phoenix racing special, in Kolomý´s words, literally flew through the race, with the exception of only one stage, winning admiration of even on the part of the boss of the whole Silk Way Rally and the Dakar legend Vladimír Čagin. “He kept watching our chassis making uncomprehending gesture with his hands showing he could not understand how this could so perfectly copy the terrain,“ described Dolejš the funny scenes.


In the case of the steering defect which deprived Martin of his chances to fight for the overall ranking among the top three the rule about the bad that is good for something else. “One of the reasons why we decided to take part in the Silk Way Rally was preparation for Dakar 2018. Unlike the previous editions, this Peru will be about deserts and so we are much more experienced now.“ The standards of the race were seen by Martin as very high. “They told me from Prague that I repeated myself using the word “wrecking” in my comments on every stage. But it was a much fitting word. The organizers support the idea that only the strong survive and only the strongest win. “


Dakar Is (Still) Dakar!

While in the words of Martin Kolomý there is nothing to decide for there is never enough racing, Jan Kalivoda is more reserved about potential participation of the Tatra Buggyra Racing team in the Silk Way Rally 2018. “I accept all arguments of Martin, but it is above all about money. And so we have to sit down with our sponsors, assess the marketing impact and decide about what next. Dakar remains our absolute priority, though,“ says Honza, albeit at the same time admitting that the value of the shares of the Silk Way may continue to grow. “In a debate with colleagues in Moscow I overheard a couple of times that the organizers of Dakar must stop being intoxicated by the illusion of the prestige of the competition and must begin to listen more to the opinions of the individual participants. If the Silk Way Rally is to act as the ram, why not? But Dakar is still Dakar.“

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