RALLY DAKAR 2017 | The Cursed Caravan
My stories / 2. February 2017
Štefan had great support from his team, which this year also took care of all organizational and technical issues and sought to provide him with the greatest comfort so he could focus solely on the race. Despite all the effort, Štefan was terribly unlucky with his temporary accommodation – caravan.
„They stole almost everything.“
The biggest disaster struck them near the Argentine city of Salta, where the caravan while trying to avoid a truck, ran into a ditch and got a puncture. In addition, the front axle was destroyed and oil pal took damage, and it could not continue its journey. Two members of the team have therefore decided to let the car be towed to Salta, where it could be fixed by mechanics.
„When it happened to the guys, they were not on the official road, because it was blocked, and so they had to choose a detour. At the height of 4,000 metres above sea level, they had no signal to call a tow truck. They locked the caravan and went to search for a car repair shop.“
On a secondary road, they were an easy target for thieves, who were not looking just for money or valuables, but they took everything.
„I lost a helmet, clothing, bandages, motorbike reserve tanks, spare parts, civil things, money, laptop, two watches, and a big teddy bear for my daughter. They even stole our mattresses; the only lucky part of it was that I kept my passport because I had it with me.“
Števo had no contact with his teammates Viliam Tóth and Marian Jacina for three days, and he learned about their fate after the end of the race’s final stage. Števo regretted in particular that he learned about all this so late and that the theft was not immediately taken care of. However, the issues with the defective caravan still persisted.
„We agreed with the towing service to tow the caravan to the port. We waited all day, but no one came. On the day of departure, we called the port, where the organizer was supposed to stay, but not one of the official phone number was picked up. When a support truck breaks down, it is solely up to you to fix it. With just a little more help, everything could be easier.“
The problem was that the mechanic did not want to take it by himself, because, as he said, he could get into trouble with the police on the road long 1,800km. One member of the team, therefore, had to make a sacrifice and remain in South America.
„Maroška Kubačka, my manager, had to extend his stay in America for nearly a week, who eventually positively resolved the entire situation with the caravan. He got the support truck to the Port of Buenos Aires on the ferry, which he managed to catch at the eleventh hour.“
All members of the Svitko’s Slovnaft Rally Team are already in Slovakia, and their belongings are heading home on a ferry.