2021 enters with a jolt thanks to the Dakar rally, named the “World’s Toughest Race”. From January 3 to 15, hundreds of vehicles (including more than 30 Can-Am Maverick X3 race cars) will set out from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on a 4,750-mile (7,646 km) route around the country. Arriving as defending 3-time Champions in the side-by-side (SxS) class, Can-Am teams, drivers, support crews and Maverick X3 will be tough to beat—but making it four wins in a row might be the most difficult challenge yet.
Fielding four cars, including a new face, the incredibly talented American driver Austin Jones. Thanks to his father Jesse Jones and a lifelong immersion in off-road racing, Austin Jones started as his father’s co-driver in Best in the Desert competition. Later, Jones graduated to winning events like the Parker 425 and Baja 1000 before committing to the challenge of mastering European-style off-road rallies with Monster Energy Racing Can-Am.
Returning for Monster Energy Can-Am is the former winner, Brazilian driver Reinaldo Varela (2018); also returning is renowned racer Gerard Farrés, from Spain. New to the team is the up-and-coming Polish hotshoe Aron Domżała.
But drivers are only part of the puzzle. Supporting Can-Am racers is South Racing, a leading motorsport organization that handles everything from spare parts—including more than 340 wheel rims and 520 tires—to repairs, race strategy, booking travel, arranging physiotherapy, meals…and much more. Because the entire Dakar Rally is traveling as a single unit (as per COVID-19 safety precautions), team support will matter more than ever in 2021.
On our Dakar Rally online hub, in social media and beyond, Can-Am will be highlighting some of the lesser-known faces who may not be competing wheel-to-wheel. From mechanics to logistics and every job in between, a passion and a love for off-road racing can lead anyone to participate in the Dakar Rally.