Can you tell us about the races you’ve competed in since Dakar?
Austin: Sure! First was the Abu Dhabi Rally in March, followed by a few trips to the South Racing headquarters/Can-Am factory in Lisbon, Portugal, for development, testing and training. The debut of South Racing in the United States at Vegas to Reno in August was a great opportunity to see the future of racing domestically, as well as the Baja 400 in Ensenada, Mexico, where I saw the potential of the race car in a Baja racing setting. Then off to Agadir, Morocco, for the Rally of Morocco, round three of the cross-country world championship. This was in addition to the Andalusia Rally in Seville, Spain, the following week to wrap up the FIA season. Now it’s back to Mexico for the Baja 1000 where the goal is to win and become the first/only person to win the Dakar Rally and Baja 1000 in the same year. Not an easy task by any means but a challenge I’m definitely up for and excited about.
We were there with you at Vegas to Reno, your first official UTV race in the US. What have you learned coming into the North American UTV scene and what have the races in the US and Mexico been like?
Austin: It has been great getting a chance to race at home in North America again. It took a few years off to focus on rallies, and I didn’t realize how much I missed racing over here. To be around all my old friends and competitors from the past has been awesome, as well as how familiar I am with that style of racing where I learned how to drive. Vegas to Reno in the US and the Baja 400 in Mexico have been the last two. I’ve learned how to drive the car effectively on North America’s different styles of terrain; it’s not easy, but comes very naturally for me from my past experience
That’s awesome! So, with so much seat time in so many different places, that’s certainly a lot of seat time in the Can-Am Maverick X3 in so many different types of terrain. Can you tell us about your vehicle experience with the Can-Am Maverick X3 so far?
Austin: Yeah, a lot of seat time for sure! Honestly, everything about the Can-Am Maverick X3 impresses me during such a tough and grueling race like the Dakar Rally and all the other races we’ve taken on since. The toughness and durability for the vehicle really stand out to me personally. The ability to maintain top performance after 12 days at a rally like Dakar and going as fast as possible through some of the roughest terrain and tallest dunes in the world is amazing.
Back as the defending champion in the T4 class, and this year, you’re taking on a new challenge in the T3 class. What can you tell us about this transition, and have you had to adapt and familiarize yourself in a new Can-Am Maverick X3 vehicle?
Austin: You know, I’m always up for a new challenge. The T3 car is similar, but there are a lot of things I had to change about my driving style to adapt to the new car. I’m very comfortable with the higher speeds, so I think my past racing experiences in trophy trucks will be an advantage for me entering this new class.