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KAMAZ-master: We have a law: he who is not physically ready does not go

Motorsport is a bright tandem in which the result is achieved not only through human efforts. The lack of readiness of the car for the race can instantly deprive the driver of the chances of winning. How effectively the man-machine link works is proved over and over again by the Russian KAMAZ-master team, which has been dictating its conditions in the main rally-raid of the world Dakar for many years, but today we will only talk about a man.

KAMAZ-master: We have a law: he who is not physically ready does not go

Eduard Nikolaev

Photo: www.redbullcontentpool.com

Eduard, sport is, first of all, physical fitness: higher, faster, stronger. How important is it for a pilot participating in rally-raids to be physically fit?
We simply cannot do without general physical training, because driving 5-10 hours off-road is a colossal load, an ordinary driver cannot afford it. You need to be in good physical shape, because only a trained pilot can handle the load on the spine and neck. It is not easy to ride in a shake so that your head does not fly. We have a law: those who are not physically ready simply do not ride in a carriage.

And who determines the physical condition of a team member?
Pilots. First, any beginner goes through a compulsory course in the gym, where our instructor watches him, assesses his back, physical condition, asks him to do basic things: push up, pull up. If the instructor gives the go-ahead, we put the candidate on a special suspension, where the most serious amplitudes arise and where you can see at what moment and in what places the person groans. Many people understand everything themselves and immediately say that there is no point in continuing.

Is it true that all the last KAMAZ-master athletes started with karting in Naberezhnye Chelny?
Yes, the last generation pilots - me, Eirat Mardeev, Andrey Karginov, Dima Sotnikov, Anton Shibalov - we are all from there. This is probably the best school in Russia, and we see that it is useful to hire people from there. And yes, if a person has a great desire, he will find a place in our team.

At what moment did you have a great desire?
Love for a car passed to me from my father ... From an early age I was sent to gymnastics, I trained there for eight years, but my father was already involved in motorsport, he constantly took me with him, I was attracted by the sounds of engines, my hands were reaching for the iron. In gymnastics, I reached a certain level and began to understand that I had a fear of complex elements. In addition, I was attracted to cars, I knew that we have go-karting in Chelny, studied magazines, looked at pictures, I wanted something racing. But I do not regret at all that I did gymnastics, it still helps me - flexibility, warm-up.

KAMAZ-master: We have a law: he who is not physically ready does not go

Photo: www.redbullcontentpool. com

Parents were hardly delighted with such a sharp change in sports course ...
Of course, my parents did not want me to go in for motorsport, but seeing that the child is sick with this, did notand interfere. On the contrary, they helped me. At some point, I left the house for gymnastics training, reached the bus stop and turned towards the karting track. (Smiling.) So at the age of 12 I finally started karting, I did very well, went to the Russian championships, was a medalist and, of course, like any boy who is engaged in karting, dreamed of getting to the legendary KAMAZ team.

Once the team leader, then still Semyon Semyonovich Yakubov, came to look at the younger generation at one of the competitions. I then showed a good result, after which an important conversation took place. As a result, I got into the team, I was 18 years old then.

Did they immediately get behind the wheel?
Of course not. In the team, everyone starts with a broom and cleaning. (Smiling. ) Everyone went through this. Then he was a mechanic, but the desire was always one thing - to get into the steering wheel. And now, after a few years I was entrusted with it.

Is there an optimal age to start doing motorsport?
It's hard to say. You cannot start driving real cars without a driver's license, on the other hand, there is go-karting, you can practice different car simulators. This is 5-6 years old.

Do you follow the gymnastics competitions now?
Of course. For women and men. I watch the Olympics, world championships.

KAMAZ-master: We have a law: he who is not physically ready does not go

Photo: www.redbullcontentpool.com

What kind of sport are you still interested in?
I like swimming very much, and also synchronized swimming. Why? It's hard to explain, but synchronized swimmers, especially in team exercises, do everything just fine. They give us an incentive with their victories.

Do you have a concept of team training? Go to the gym together, swim together ...
Necessarily. This is the only way to prepare.

How many lessons per week are required?
Everything is individual. For example, I need three times, but we go five times. I try to give myself a lot of workload.

Tell us about the Wings for Life World Run, in which you participate as a team. Why do you need this?
His slogan is: Run for those who cannot, the charitable race is held in support of spinal cord injury research. This already says a lot. The race takes place in Kolomna, we take part every year. Again, there is a good chance of getting fit. I’m an auto marathon runner, it’s logical for me to cover marathon distances. ( Smiling. )

KAMAZ-master: We have a law: he who is not physically ready does not go

Eduard Nikolaev

Photo: www.redbullcontentpool.com

And what results do you show?
The system is like this: you start, run, and after a while you starts to catch up with the car. As soon as you catch up, you drop out of the race. So we run not for time, but for distance. Once I ran 17 kilometers, another time - 18. Not bad for a person who does not run..

Physics is only part of the preparation of any athlete. How do you prepare mentally and do you need it?
During a distance, it is important to always remain calm and respond correctly to stressful situations. We are all wrong - the pilot, the navigator, and the mechanic, you need to treat this with understanding. A psychologist works with us, plus music helps me. There is no special group or song, sometimes you want something calm, sometimes rhythmic.

Do you need any other special preparation?
We were preparing interestingly for in the highlands - they slept in special tents. We sometimes ride at an altitude of 5000 meters above sea level. So at home, two weeks. We train on special equipment in masks, where special hypoxic gas is supplied, simulating rarefied air at altitude.

Healthy nutrition is very important for the pilot - yes or no?
Of course. Before the races we use the services of a nutritionist, and throughout the year everyone is his own boss. There are no hard restrictions, but you yourself know what is possible and what is not. I am a sweet tooth, it is not surprising that I can not go over with flour and sweet. With mom's lovely pies, for example. ( Laughs. )

KAMAZ-master: We have a law: he who is not physically ready does not go

Photo: www.redbullcontentpool.com

How do you eat during the Dakar?
In fact, we eat once a day, in the evening. In the morning we have a very small breakfast - a sandwich, tea. During the race we do not eat anything and almost do not drink, except that closer to the end of the stage you can take a couple of sips of water.

How do you recover after long races?
We get a week vacation. I spend it at home with my family. And, of course, massage, without it anywhere. Easy work in the gym also helps.

Who is waiting for you at home?
Wife Oksana and little daughter Elina, she is only nine months old. And dad and mom, of course. Everyone supports me, my father is also an athlete, he understands everything.

What sports path awaits Elina?
While we are thinking, but apparently it will be dancing or gymnastics ... Synchronized swimming? This is unlikely, you need to go to Kazan or Moscow. We don't have it at all. So first, let's try what we have in the city.

Give championship advice to those car racing lovers who dream of taking part in the Dakar someday.
Wish this and strive for the dream. A great desire is the main thing that is needed. Without it, nothing will ever work.

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