On Thursday afternoon, all residents and guests of Vilnius could notice the racing equipment displayed in the city center - the quads of the CFMOTO Thunder Racing Team team and the truck named Hans accompanying them were displayed there all day. It has already become a tradition that at the "Olybet bar and grill" the team publicly presents its plans and shares both successes and failures of the past periods.
Racer and team manager Antanas Kanopkins said that when he first publicly expressed his expectation about the team's start in the Dakar Rally a few years ago, he did not think that this goal was so difficult to achieve: "Then, after setting such a goal, everything seemed simpler. Clearly, there was a lack of both ability and general understanding of what the Dakar Rally is all about. We have repeatedly heard the word "no" in one context or another, but our entire team knows that we do not change the goals, we can only change their date. The results will come, sooner or later. Together with new experiences, knowledge and abilities."
In order to be able to start in the Dakar Rally, the team had to not only prove its abilities in the international arena, which it has already done several times, but also meet the requirements set by ASO, the organizers of the Dakar Rally. The 2023 season started at one of the stages of the World Rally Raid Championship in Abu Dhabi, where the flag of the CFMOTO Thunder Racing Team could be seen on the podium of the ATV classification. After this and many other achievements, the Dakar organizers finally opened the door and allowed the team to start in the most difficult race.
"The goal that failed last year will finally happen this year. For the first time in the history of motorsport, we will see a CFMOTO quad at the start line of the Dakar Rally. I hope to see it crossing finish line as well - we will do our best for that. The experience gained in various competitions over the past four years has increased the competences of the entire team and now we feel more prepared than ever", said A. Kanopkinas and said that he will have a particularly big responsibility in the upcoming Dakar Rally, because he will be team‘s only representative in the first start of the team in the Dakar Rally. The goal, he says, is to have two or three team members on the track, but for now it's the way it is.
Another start before Dakar
An integral part of this sport is the search for technical improvements and weaknesses. In different competitions, the equipment faces different and difficult to predict challenges - for example, the first days of racing in the deserts of Abu Dhabi had to contend with heating problems, but all this has been solved and tested to minimize the possibility of this problem happening in the future.
Preparation for Dakar is no exception. The racer said that at the moment there are many updates prepared for the quads, which still need to be tested. This will be one of the main objectives in the upcoming Rally Morocco. It is true that A. Kanopkinas himself will not participate after the accident in the Dinaric rally, but he expressed absolute confidence in the abilities and competence of his teammates.
The team leaves for Morocco in a week, where desert challenges await. The members of the CFMOTO Thunder Racing Team have vowed to continue telling their story as it unfolds.
"We hope everyone will like it. Maybe it will even inspire you to pursue your dreams and goals. And never give up, even if you hear no. It means that you just need to put in more effort and work to hear that," A. Kanopkinas concluded his speech about the upcoming adventures.