In 1984, then-graduate Reinaldo Varela and two of his cousins thought that the tasty meals served on the family farm would be very successful if served in a restaurant. Securing the support of their parents and the person responsible for the food—their grandmother, known as Dona Iza—they opened their first colonial farm-themed restaurant. Now, more than 200 locations prepare Dona Iza’s recipes across Brazil.
At the same time, Reinaldo’s passion for racing counted more than 370 events over 37 years of competition. He’s won two world championships in cross country rally, for a career that adds up to one of the winningest in Brazil and South America. After being invited to drive a race-prepared Can-Am Commander in the Dakar, he vowed to go all the way and return with a Maverick X3, plus the preparation and support of South Racing Can-Am.
Just as SSVs became an official Dakar class, his efforts to compete at the front in the Maverick X3 started to pay off. He led the class most of the days, winning many stages and finished as the 2018 Dakar champion in the side-by-side segment. Last year’s win was also the first title for Can-Am at Dakar.
Reinaldo starts this year’s race as a fan favorite to repeat his Dakar victory—and he’s just as hungry to win as ever.