A Seemingly Endless Number Of Details

Planning a rally is a great deal of investment, not only in terms of money, but also in terms of time. There are a seemingly endless number of details that can’t be left until the last minute.

A few weeks after we got back from the Breslau Rally, we made an inspection of the Iveco service truck. We had driven over 4,500km to Poland and back, so we wanted to make sure that everything was ok. During the rally we had had some trouble with the clutch. Sometimes it was difficult to put the truck in first gear, a problem that only got worse after we had to do some maneuvering on sandy ground. We decided to take a closer look and ended up changing the clutch; the release bearing was worn.

Iveco Clutch

Since it was the first time we’ve done this kind of maintenance, we enlisted the help of an experienced acquaintance who is in charge of servicing a fleet of heavy construction vehicles. The procedure didn’t turn out to be that difficult. We accidentally pulled off a sensor bracket while removing the transmission and had to re-weld it, but otherwise everything went smoothly. The job was finished in about six hours.

Once we were satisfied that the service truck was in good condition, we started to work on our checklist for the rally. While most of our friends were on vacation, we stayed home, working during the weekdays; planning for the rally consumed most of our evenings and weekends.

The biggest part of the first upgrade on the Tatra had been done in Koprivniče early this year, but there were still a number of things we wanted to do without waiting until the last minute. We installed a fan on the oil radiator to improve the engine cooling and mounted a small winch on the truck bed for hoisting the spare tires.


We placed a number of fasteners and holders in the cabin and box for the spare equipment and tools we might need during the race. Everything needs to be secure so it won’t move around, but it also has to be quickly and easily accessible. To protect the headlights, which might be damaged in the dunes, we fitted a plexiglass plate onto the front bumper.


Finally, we made a console for the navigation equipment and satellite tracking unit, and installed the wiring for the electrical connections. Once the console was ready we installed the GPS units and Terratrip rally computers and checked that everything was working properly.

Although the test drive in Slovakia went well, we still wanted to improve the front suspension. The shock absorber we damaged during the testing was most likely defective, but twelve days of sandy tracks and dunes will be more demanding than the testing we did. Over the last few weeks we reviewed all the options for upgrading the suspension and decided to replace the front Sachs shock absorbers with Fox 3.0 Piggyback units. These are 80 mm diameter triple by-pass shocks. The only problem would be fitting them in place without having to modify the mounts, which are sized for metric and not US customary units. We contacted Fox and were pleased by how helpful they were and how easy it was to work with them. They sent us the technical drawings of the shocks and end caps so that we could make sure they would fit. We chose the end cap that worked best for us and designed a set of ring adapters that would allow us to install the shocks on the existing mount and keep the current Sachs shocks as spares.

Once we were convinced we could mount them properly, we confirmed the order and Fox scheduled the build. In total, it took about a month to build and ship the shocks. During that time we were able to finish the design of the adapter parts. We used the DraftSight CAD software and gave the resulting technical drawings to a local company that makes precision machine parts. Both the shocks and the adaptor rings were delivered last week. We spent the weekend installing them and taking the Tatra out for a short road test. We’ll post more details and pictures during the week.

Except for a few remaining details such as mounting the onboard cameras, the only thing left now is to review our checklists to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything and then start packing. We leave in just under five weeks.

Our Sponsors

We’re happy to introduce the sponsors whose support has helped make possible our upcoming participation in the El Chott Rallye.

ZZ KUSTOM test color euro4x4_3D_RVB_ang fox-1c-black-3in LOGO HD RANDO VECTO

ZZ KUSTOM has been providing installation and custom fabrication of 4×4 offroad vehicles since 2004. Specializing in rock crawling, Jeep and Hummer, ZZ Kustom participates in 4×4 competitions in Europe and abroad and recently took second place on the podium at the King of The Valleys in the UK. They also provide racing rental and assistance services via ZZK Racing.

Euro4x4parts imports and distributes 4×4 parts for trade and individual clients throughout the world. Their catalogue features parts for more than 98% of the 4×4’s found in Europe. More than just an online store, the Euro4x4parts team are “4x4dicts,” with a long-term commitment to serving clients through their professional experience and knowledge gained on the field. Euro4parts attends offroad meetings and competitions in and beyond Europe.

For over three decades, FOX has been a leader in the design and development of high performance shock absorbers and racing suspensions for snowmobiles, mountain bikes, motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, off-road cars, trucks, and SUVs. Founded by motorcross racer Bob Fox in 1974, who set out to improve his racing performace by designing a better shock absorber, the company remains close to the racing community, and works closely with athletes to better understand their needs in competition. Fox shocks are used by racers on winning vehicles from Baja California to Dakar.

Specializing in travel and adventure equipment, the members of the Randoequipment team are experienced overland travelers with all types of motor vehicles. Their catalog has a large range of equipment for furnishing all types of vehicles (4×4, Quad, Camping-Car) including boats and especially for demanding conditions.

We’d like to thank all our sponsors for their support. We’ve also created a dedicated sponsor page, which you can find in the header bar at the top of the page.

First Rally For Erg Racing

It’s official! We’re happy to announce the Erg Racing Team’s first rally. We’ll be taking part in the El Chott Sahara Rallye of Tunisia. The Rally takes place during 12 days in October and November along a route of almost 2,000 km of special stages, and 1,000km of liaison.

We’ve already got our number: 508.

With just six and a half weeks to go, we still have lots to do to make sure everything is ready on time. More announcements and information are coming soon!

Read the next post in the series.