Winning the Dakar Rally is an incredible challenge. For American off-road racer turned rally raid competitor AJ Jones, it was not without tremendous difficulties and overwhelming triumphs. AJ Jones wins Dakar in only his third attempt in the global motorsports competition. He is now the youngest person to ever win a class overall in Dakar history!
During the 2022 Dakar Rally’s twelve stages, Jones finished each event with only two ending up outside the Top 5. He scored seven podium finishes, led the T4 division for most of the rally, and ultimately clinched victory on the final day of competition.
The 2022 Dakar event was AJ’s third attempt and first victory. In 2020 as a rookie, he placed 8th and then scored a 2nd place podium in 2021. After completing the 12th stage, Jones provided an emotional interview.
AJ Jones Wins Dakar
“I told you that it was going to come down to the very end, and that’s exactly what it did. We had a pretty clean day today, I drove as hard as I could, we got a couple of mistakes here and there, but overall, obviously we got it done and we made it. This is crazy. Shout out to my navigator Gustavo Gugelmin, who for 13 days straight has been great. The whole team, South Racing, Scott… it takes the whole team.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say, I feel crazy. We knew we had a 1’41” gap coming in this morning. The liaison helped to relax. I just knew what we had to do, we had a goal, and we went for it. It means everything, this is what we’ve trained for three years now, it’s the goal any every rally race. To get it done on the last day like this is a perfect ending to a really great story!”
“Dakar is one of those races that has ups and downs. And it was a fight until the end. I couldn’t have been a part of a better Can-Am Factory South Racing team. Now, time to rest up and focus on the World Cup!”
AJ Jones spent most of 2021 focused on the very demanding FIA World Cup where he managed to win three of the five rounds for the championship. It was a big win for him and the Can-Am Factory South Racing team which no doubt built the synergy to help AJ Jones Win Dakar.
AJ Jones Wins Dakar In A Can-Am Maverick X3
Racing and winning the Dakar Rally is no easy accomplishment. It definitely helps to be running reliable equipment like the Can-Am Maverick X3. Since 2017, the Maverick X3 has claimed back-to-back class wins. 2022 marks the fifth consecutive year in a row. In fact, the top 17 finishers in the T4 category were driving a Can-Am, and the first non-Can-Am vehicle to cross the finish in 18th place was a whopping 9 hours and 30 minutes behind Jones and Gugelmin.
The Dakar-winning Can-AM Maverick X3 piloted by AJ Jones is not that much different then one you would find at a local BRP Can-AM dealership. The 195 HP Rotax Engine is restricted to 160HP with original BRP powertrain. The cars even are wearing OEM body panels. Can-Am Factory South Racing does outfit the race UTVs with custom carbon fiber panels, aluminum skid plates, and shatter-proof windscreens. Suspension is upgraded with custom arms, reinforced ball joints, and Ohlins dampers. For wheels and tires, AJ Jones and South Racing are equipped with 33-inch Tensor DSR Tires, and Method Race Wheels 407 UTV Bead Grip 14×6.
“It takes a true team effort to accomplish what our Can-Am Off-Road team just did at the Dakar Rally,” said Sandy Scullion, Senior Vice President, Global Retail and Service – Powersports at BRP. “We have the best of the best, from drivers to support staff to the incredible Can-Am Maverick X3 platform. We can’t wait for what’s in store for the rest of this year for racing as we plan to continue our incredible momentum with championships from all over the world.”
AJ Jones Wins Dakar With Can-Am Factory South Racing
South Racing has become an elite super team in the sport of cross-country rallies. The organization is most well known for providing arrive and drive services for production based Can-Ams T4 SSV category in the FIM World Cup rally events for both professional and gentlemen drivers.
At Dakar 2022, South Racing serviced and supported 21 Can-Am’s out of 121 participants (T3 & T4) and represents the biggest team at Dakar as well as the first-ever Can-Am Factory supported race team (4 vehicles). 160 men and women from all over the world were involved in the effort.