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Molly Taylor

Last year, Molly Taylor was a Dakar Rally newbie. With the first year of the world’s toughest offroad race under her belt, Molly is ready to take on the 2023 rally. We caught up with Molly in Bathurst, Australia, while she was in the pits at the Mount Panorama track. 

 

Can-Am: Hey, Molly! Thanks so much for taking some time with us. It has been an exciting 12 months for you. We released your 72 Hours story from the 2022 Dakar Rally experience. What have you been up to?

 

Molly Taylor: It certainly has! I’ve been able to take all the learnings from our first Dakar into preparation for the 2023 edition. We’ve also competed in Rallye du Maroc with the team as well as some other racing opportunities. Off the track, I’ve been building a workshop, which has been a challenging but rewarding project. Can’t wait to get our Can-Am in there. 

 


 

So, you’ve competed in a few races since Dakar, like you mentioned. How has that been going? 

Molly Taylor: Yes, we have recently just returned from Morocco with the South Racing crew, which was an awesome experience and great preparation for Dakar. We had some great stage results, which is a great boost of confidence ahead of Dakar. I also have some more races in Extreme E coming up before the end of the year. 

 

That’s awesome! Speaking of Dakar and looking back at the 2022 Rally, what have you learned since the last Dakar, and what are you going to do differently or the same going into the 2023 Rally? 

Molly Taylor: Wow, so much. There are just so many elements and variables in the Dakar you need to prepare for or adapt to. One of the biggest things would be the importance of maintaining your road position. If you have a bad day, you start really far back and have to deal with a lot more dust, traffic and rougher conditions, which makes it even harder to get your road position back. To do that, you need to stay out of trouble whilst still maintaining a competitive speed. So, finding that balance is the key.   

 

There are only a few women who take on the challenge of Dakar, and thankfully we are seeing more and more women enter every year, which is incredible. What advice would you give to women who are interested in off-road racing?   

Molly Taylor: I would say to firstly go for it and give it a try! It’s no secret that it’s a tough sport, but it’s also so much fun, and the community is very welcoming and supportive. The best thing you can do is head out to races, join your local car club and get to know what it’s all about.

Thank you, and thanks to Can-Am. It’s amazing to see how capable the Can-Am Maverick X3 is, and how fun they are to drive!  

                                                                                                Molly Taylor


Do you have any memorable race experiences, and why was it so memorable?
 

Molly Taylor: Really difficult to single out! Winning the Extreme E and Australian rally championships was very special, but it’s also things like being in a Dakar stage, where you are in the middle of a desert, no one else around you and just kilometers and kilometers of dunes all around; it’s just breathtaking. Those little moments are pretty special too. 

 

What are you most looking forward to heading back to the Dakar Rally? 

Molly Taylor: Immersing myself back into the Dakar world! It really feels like you are living in another place for those two weeks, and I just can’t wait to be back out there competing and taking on the challenge with such a great group of people around me. 

 

What does your race preparation routine look like? 

Molly Taylor: When I’m at home, it’s all about staying fit, both outside and in the gym, and working on all the preparation on the operational side. There’s a lot of work and research we can do outside the car, and then it’s all about getting behind the wheel as much as possible. Once we get to the events, the attention turns to making sure we have our car setup dialed in, the equipment we need ready and our strategy for approaching the race. 

Speaking about being at home. When you’re not racing, what are you usually doing? 

Molly Taylor: Working on what needs to happen to get out racing! Everything from fitness, planning, sponsorship and managing all the aspects of the sport. I also do some work in TV broadcasting, media and speaking, which is really fun. 

 

In your down time, do you ever get to go on any non-racing-related adventures?   

Molly Taylor: I’ve just recently returned from an epic Can-Am adventure from Finke to the Simpson Desert in Australia. It’s an iconic place for off-road racing, but also as a location. It’s literally in the middle of Australia, in remote desert and absolutely spectacular. We spent five days exploring in our Can-Ams, camping every night, no phone reception; it was just magic. 

 

While you’re racing, are you listening to music? If so, what are your favorite songs?

Molly Taylor: I like so much stuff! I have a soft spot for the 80s, though. 

 

First Interview with Molly Taylor

MT: Well, I’m born and raised in Sydney, with 4 years in boarding school in country NSW. I’m now living in Melbourne by the beach, but really spend most of my time on the road these days. I love being outside, exploring and taking on things that challenge me. I usually have 1000 different projects on the go, but don’t think I’d have it any other way. I’m very lucky to have a close family and I love spending as much time with them as possible when I am in the country.

MT: I’m a third generation rally driver and my parents met through rallying. My mum is 4 time Australian rally champion co-driver, so she was a big influence on my career. However, I only started rallying when I was about 16 after visiting the rally school my Dad was running at the time. After my first taste of driving on gravel, I was hooked! I’ve always loved watching the Dakar rally, but only really got involved in off-road properly through Extreme E.

MT: It was absolutely incredible! The first few days were pretty eye-opening as it is just so different to what I am used to, especially when I saw the size of the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi. The sensation of driving through the dunes was just so much fun and I loved the adventure and challenge of such long stages. It really was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and I have to say I’m hooked already.

MT: I think Day 2 really stood out because that was when we first encountered the big dunes. They seemed like the size of mountains, and it totally takes your breath away. The first few big dune crossings were stressful! I was so impressed with how capable the Can-Am was climbing them and after that I really started to enjoy it. Also just driving through the terrain was unreal, so many times there was just nothing but dunes as far as you could see in every direction and it really felt like you were on another planet – or sometimes your only company was a few camels!

MT: It’s been so different. To be out in the desert, on sand, is unlike any of the rallying I’ve done before in Australia. Although the great thing about motorsport is that despite where you are, one thing that always feels the same is the camaraderie amongst the crews involved. In that way it felt like coming into another home away from home.

MT: All the feels! I’m so excited, but for sure there are some nerves too. I think it still feels a bit surreal because it’s been this bucket list dream for so long, but never with any kind of realistic date. And now it feels like it’s all come together relatively quickly, so I don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet.

MT: I always train a lot for Extreme E and rally, however focusing on heat adaption and endurance training will be more of a focus. The biggest area of preparation for me will be taking what I learnt in Abu Dhabi and applying that in Ha’il rally, as these competition miles are invaluable given, I have so much to learn in a short space of time.

MT: Comprehensive!

Most of my friends & family have a pretty good idea, but probably a simple way to explain it would be like driving a rollercoaster without tracks!

MT: Trying to get from A to B in an unknown, loose grip, ever changing environment as fast as you can. The biggest and best adrenaline buzz/adventure you can imagine.

MT: Just thank you for welcoming me into the team and this all really does feel like a dream come true!

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