N°408 Lightweight vehicle MONSTER ENERGY CAN-AM

AUSTIN JONES

(usa) 1.82m / 79kg

Hobbies

Motorcycles, friends, shooting guns

Sponsors

Monster Energy, Can-Am, Motul, Tensor Tire, Method Wheels, J.Juan Brake Systems, OMP, Bell, Lazer

2020: 8th (2nd rookie)

2020: Qatar Cross-Country Rally (Ab.), Vegas to Reno (17th), Andalucia Rally (9th)
2019: SCORE International (3rd); San Felipe 250 (1st), Baja 500 (4th), Baja 400 (4th), Silk Way Rally (5th), Morocco Rally (4th)
2018: Parker 425 (1st), SCORE International (1st); San Felipe 250 (2nd), Baja 500 (1st), Baja 1000 (1st), Baja Aragon, Morocco Rally (Ab.)

Interview

“Dakar 2020 was insane!”

After getting a first taste of the Dakar a year ago, rising star Austin Jones can't wait for a second tilt at the world's biggest (and no doubt craziest) rally. The talented American is only 24 years old, yet he is among the favourites in the SSV class, where he will be lining up alongside 2018 champion co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin. After an impressive debut showing with Kellon Walch in 2020, 'AJ' has traded South Racing Can-Am for the Monster Energy Can-Am factory team, who are out to defend their title following Casey Currie's victory a year ago. Offroad racing runs in Austin's blood; his father Jesse has been competing in desert events for the past 20 years and runs the Jones Motorsport team. AJ therefore spent his childhood learning the ins and outs of racing, although it was only in 2018 that he got behind the wheel himself, after spending a year as his dad's co-driver. A proud Jesse admits that he has been having the "time of his life" sharing his knowledge and experience with AJ, and says that seeing his son win is better than winning himself. In his first full season, Austin teamed up with Bryce Swaim and they took the SCORE International championship by storm, claiming victories at the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 in the Trophy Truck Spec class. He took his first steps in rally raid towards the end of 2018, participating in Baja Aragon and the Morocco Rally. In 2019 he achieved top-5 finishes at the Silk Way Rally and Morocco before taking the plunge with Kellon at the Dakar, coming 8th overall in the SSVs and finishing as the second-best rookie after Axel Alletru. Having first heard about the rally thanks to American racing legend Robby Gordon, AJ is now keen to follow in the footsteps of Currie and Ricky Brabec, who became the USA's first Dakar champions in 2020. His ultimate goal is to stand on the top step of the podium, even if he knows that you need very strong performances and a healthy slice of luck to win the Dakar.

A.J.: “The experience of Dakar 2020 was amazing. We were in a really good spot about halfway through, but then we had a bunch of mechanical problems, stuff that was out of our control. It was a bummer to have some of the bad luck we did, but we've got it all dialled in now. Last year was amazing, the size of the entire event really blew me away, the scale of the organisation, how worldwide of an event it is, the adventure. F***, it was insane! We went really far through one of the world's biggest countries. This year, mentally, I'm much more prepared for it. Basically, I have a better idea of what's about to happen. We're ready to go, I'm excited to go. We raced in Qatar in February, and we did Andalucia. Other than that we haven't done many rallies, just lots of training and testing in the USA and Portugal. Gustavo rode with me in Qatar and Andalucia, and we worked very well in the car together. He's a very good navigator, obviously, and with all his experience and knowledge he complements my driving pretty well. Saudi Arabia is extremely similar to Arizona. We don't have dunes here where I live, like they do in California, but the desert, the rocks, the sharpness of the rock, and the openness of Saudi, it's very similar to the west coast of the USA, and down in Mexico. My dad raced down in Mexico, doing Baja 1000, Mint 400, Trophy Trucks… he was a three-time champion back in his day. I grew up being in the desert a lot, being in the pits and seeing the guys work on the cars, learning how it all works. I'm not going to lie, I'm not very experienced. Last year was my first Dakar, and this only is my third complete year. As far along as we are, it's still pretty new, I'm still figuring it out. Casey winning the SSVs last year adds a strange kind of pressure -the American in the Monster Energy Can-Am won last year, so the American in the Monster Energy Can-Am should win this year, right? We're going to have to fight, and it'll be a long, gruelling race. But obviously our goal is to do as well as possible. Winning would be amazing, and we'll certainly do everything we can. If we can have clean runs every day, and avoid the mistakes, then hopefully we'll do well.”

Vehicle

MONSTER ENERGY CAN-AM

  • Mark : CAN - AM
  • Model : XRS
  • Performance tuner : Monster Energy Can Am
  • Assistance : Monster Energy Can Am
  • Class : T4.1 Turbo production SSVs

Ranking 2021

Scratch Stage General
0 3 3 3
1 2 2 2
2 8 8 6
3 2 2 3
4 5 5 3
5 4 4 3
6 4 4 2
7 8 8 2
8 5 5 1
9 10 10 2
10 2 2 2
11 6 6 2
12 9 9 2

All news of A. Jones

Newsflashes - 12/01 15:50 [GMT +3] - Véhicule Léger

Big blow for Quintero!

Seth Quintero, who led at the start of the special, has broken down after 210 km. The youngest ever stage winner on the Dakar, who was in second place in the general standings 10’31’’ behind Austin Jones at the start today, could suffer a big time loss.

Newsflashes - 05/01 12:45 [GMT +3] - Véhicule Léger

Jones still leads at the midway point

Austin Jones is still in front in the race between the lightweight vehicles after 217 km. The American leads Jose Antonio Hinojo Lopez by 2’12 and Mitchell Guthrie by 3’35.

Newsflashes - 05/01 11:23 [GMT +3] - Véhicule Léger

Jones, Guthrie and Varela separated by less than 30 seconds

Behind the wheel of his Can Am, Austin Jones is maintaining his lead after 88 km. The American, last year’s second best rookie, leads his countryman Mitchell Guthrie by 23’’. Reinaldo Varela, the SSV category winner in 2018, completes the top three, 27’’ behind.

Newsflashes - 03/01 17:21 [GMT +3] - Véhicule Léger

Varela, Jones and López within a minute

Reinaldo Varela has claimed the first stage of the 2021 Dakar. The Brazilian winner of the 2018 edition beat Austin Jones by 28 seconds and "Chaleco" López by 42. Last year's runner-up, Sergey Karyakin, was off the pace and finished in fifth place, losing over three minutes and finishing behind Gerard Farrés.

Newsflashes - 02/01 17:22 [GMT +3] - Véhicule Léger

Jones takes the SSV prologue

The American, the second best rookie of last year's edition, claimed the prologue of the 2021 Dakar with four seconds to spare over a far more experienced driver like former champion Reinaldo Varela. "AJ", promoted to the Monster Energy Can Am factory factory team for this edition, honed his rally skills by racing alongside his father. Aron Domżała made it a 1-2-3 for Can Am,...

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