On Saturday, February 8, 2020 in the forests of Pabrade and Scencioniai this year’s first Baja championship stage took place. The CFMOTO Factory Racing Team dedicated their forces to it racing with two SSVs and an ATV.
The first attempt of the team wasn’t successful because of the incidents they had to experience. However, as announced in the press release, the misfortunes were compensated as one of the team’s members crossed the finish line fast enough to stand among the winners.
CFMOTO Factory Racing team got closer to the fortune when a family duo of Antanas and Audrone Kanopkinai overturned in the first special stage with their new ZFORCE 1000 SPORT SSV.
Although the team members managed to avoid injuries, they weren’t able to continue racing because of SSV’s damage. The duo had to pack their equipment and join the audience.
“We started second but those starting before us had taken the road book of the wrong special stage, therefore we became the first soon after the first kilometre. We were clearing the road for everyone. The storm didn’t affect the navigation, so the first round finished nicely. Moreover, we had a branch stuck between the vehicle’s fork, shock absorber and silencer, which turned the SSV sideways. Luckily, the SSV behind us stopped and offered a saw, which we used to cut the branch off, and kept on going. The inconvenience took 3-5 minutes.
As the second round started, the track became extremely slippery, so the speed had to be lower. It was the point when that situation happened – we jumped on a trampoline, landed sideways and lost control. This was our first overturn as a family”, said Antanas Kanopkinas.
Antanas’ wife Audrone shared her insights managing to see a positive side of the event. According to her, this misfortune is an addition to their experience load.
“We are somewhat happy about this overturn, because we haven’t got the fear of it happening anymore. We already know what it means and feels like, therefore we will have more courage now when racing. However, we enjoyed the competition in general. We were first on the track for a while, so there were a certain amount of responsibility and concentration trying not to get lost as we had to create the track for ourselves and other participants”, added Audrone Kanopkiniene.
Another team member Adomas Gancierius driving the CFORCE 1000 ATV experienced a significantly bigger misfortune. In the second round of the second special stage, Adomas fell of its vehicle and got severely injured.
The ATV driver was immediately taken to the hospital while the crowd that had witnessed the accident were delighted about the crash ending well enough considering the fact that Adomas fell off in a long and fast section.
“At the beginning of the second special stage, I made a navigation mistake; I had to risk a lot in order to gain my time back. Therefore, I didn’t estimate the safe speed towards that section and entered it at around 100 km/h speed. I got hit by the back of ATV and fell while the vehicle rolled about 20 meters away from me.
My legs and hands were shacking before the doctors did the scan and the computed tomography. Their diagnose was a broken sacrum. There is yet no certain information on how much time will be needed for rehabilitation. However, the doctors said that six weeks is the most that it should take before I can race again”, Adomas Gancierius commented from the hospital.
The team’s misfortunes didn’t affect the successful performance of Dalius Mockapetris and Faustas Kucys. The racers driving CFMOTO ZFORCE 1000, an older generation SSV, maintained the stability all day and that led them to the second step of the podium in Side by Side category.
After the successful finish, Dalius Mockapetris stated that this stage was very tricky; although the duo had a few dangerous moments, they were putting efforts in order avoid any unnecessary risk at all times.
“First special stage wasn’t as slippery as the second one. The latter was extreme but we weren’t ready to give up, so tried to get used to it. Of course, our tires are not suitable for ice but we had the strategy to help us going. I believe that the slippery track made everyone’s chances equal, as in such case, the power became insignificant.
Luckily, we had no incidents; we reached the finish line safe and with a sound SSV. I enjoyed working with the new navigator. There were no mistakes made, except from a small one when we managed to turn the wrong way and kept on going for about 20 meters, but we solved it fast”, shared Dalius Mockapetris.
Before this race, CFMOTO Factory Racing Team announced that at the end of March they plan on participating in Tuareg rally, held in Africa in the end of March this year.
The team confirmed that even after the crashes experienced in 4x4 Perimeter, their plans don’t change. The bone breaks will heal, the technical damages will be fixed and the team members will be ready to go to Algeria.