Polaris RZR, the winningest brand in UTV racing, today announced its factory race team will compete for the first time ever in the 2021 Dakar Rally — one of the world’s toughest races. The RZR Dakar team will be comprised of three BAJA champions, including Wayne Matlock, Kristen Matlock, and Craig Scanlon, competing January 3, 2021 through January 15, 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
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2021 Dakar RZR Factory Team: Drivers Wayne Matlock, Kristen Matlock and Craig Scanlon make history as the first Polaris RZR Factory Racing team to compete in the world-renowned Dakar Rally. (Photo: Business Wire)
“The Dakar Rally is a global platform that embodies the spirit of adventure and pioneering for off-road racing and elevates it to an entirely different level. It’s an honor to take part in such a historic event,” said Steven Menneto, President of Polaris Off Road. “The revolutionary innovations featured in our 2021 RZR Pro XP vehicles, coupled with the support of our performance-driven sponsors, have allowed us to realize this significant milestone for RZR Factory racing which starts a new chapter in our ongoing off-road racing legacy.”
The Polaris RZR Factory Racing team will compete in the SSV class with all-new 2021 Polaris RZR Pro XP machines modified by Jimco Racing®. With over 40 years of competitive racing experience combined, Scanlon and the Matlocks will make their Dakar debut in the event’s fastest-growing class. The drivers will be coached by Team Manager Darren Skilton, whose name is renowned in the off-road racing industry. Skilton has more than 25 years of experience at Dakar, including OP Class victories in 2011 and 2012.
Husband and wife duo Wayne and Kristen Matlock will each be racing at Dakar in their own RZR vehicles. Carrying more than 20 years of professional racing experience and known as RZR Racing’s most decorated BAJA driver, Wayne is a 10-time UTV BAJA Champion across BAJA 1000, BAJA 500 and San Felipe 250 races. At Dakar, he will be backed by navigator Sam Hayes. Kristen, a seven-time BAJA Champion, will be teamed with navigator Max Eddy. Known for her competitive drive, Kristen started racing UTVs professionally less than five years ago and has since dominated major races, including BAJA 1000 and BAJA 500 wins in 2019 and, most recently, the overall UTV win at the 2020 BAJA 500 which marks her second SCORE series victory in a row.
“In the world of off-road racing, getting the chance to participate in the Dakar Rally is an opportunity of a lifetime, and we are humbled to be part of RZR’s inaugural group of racers,” said Wayne Matlock, RZR Factory Racer. “We are thrilled to be backed by this industry-leading team and an incredible army of sponsors to help prepare us and our machines for this endeavor.”
Craig Scanlon’s passion for off-road racing led him to play a major role in the conception and development of the Polaris RZR Racing program more than a decade ago. A regular competitor in the off-road racing world, Scanlon recently won the 2019 SCORE BAJA 500. He will be supported by navigator Keith Redstrom at Dakar.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for the knowledge and experience that it takes to be successful in Dakar,” said Scanlon, RZR Factory Racer. “The racers and teams that have done this for years at the highest level have paved the way for new programs like the Factory Polaris RZR team.”
The team is backed by some of the best brands in the off-road industry including 4 Wheel Parts® – the largest off-road accessory retail chain, BF Goodrich® Tires – the official tire of the Dakar Rally, Method Race Wheels®, and FOX RACING SHOX®. Sparco® is the official supplier of the team’s safety equipment, driving suits and helmets, with equipment and vehicle liveries designed by Troy Lee Designs®. RZR Factory Racing Pro XP vehicles are also powered by Motul®, Braille Battery, Motec®, and Jimco Racing®. Additional supporters include Rigid Industries®, Trayco, Shiftpod®, and Factory Canopies.
The team will tackle the world’s toughest race beginning January 3, 2021 through January 15, 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
As the global leader in powersports, Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII) pioneers product breakthroughs and enriching experiences and services that have invited people to discover the joy of being outdoors since our founding in 1954. With annual 2019 sales of $6.8 billion, Polaris’ high-quality product line-up includes the Polaris RANGER, RZR and GENERAL side-by-side off-road vehicles; Sportsman all-terrain off-road vehicles; Indian Motorcycle mid-size and heavyweight motorcycles; Slingshot moto-roadsters; snowmobiles; and deck, cruiser and pontoon boats, including industry-leading Bennington pontoons. Polaris enhances the riding experience with parts, garments and accessories, along with a growing aftermarket portfolio, including TransAmerica Auto Parts. Polaris’ presence in adjacent markets includes military and commercial off-road vehicles, quadricycles, and electric vehicles. Proudly headquartered in Minnesota, Polaris serves more than 100 countries across the globe. www.polaris.com.
Unless noted, trademarks are the property of Polaris Industries Inc. JIMCO RACING® is a registered trademark of Jimco Racing, Inc.®; 4 Wheel Parts® and 4WP® are registered trademarks of TAP Worldwide; BF Goodrich® is a registered trademark of B. F. GOODRICH COMPANY; Method Race Wheels® is a registered trademark of CUSTOM WHEEL HOUSE, LLC; FOX RACING SHOX® is a registered trademark of Fox Factory Inc.; Sparco® is a registered trademark of Sparco S.p.A.; Troy Lee Designs® is a registered trademark of Troy Lee Designs, LLC; MOTUL® is a registered trademark of MOTUL société anonyme (sa); Motec® is a registered trademark of Motec Holdings Pty Ltd; Rigid® is a trademark of JST Performance, LLC d/b/a Rigid Industries, LLC; TRAYCO® is a registered trademark of Home Depot U.S.A., INC.; Shiftpod® is a registered trademark of Christian W. Weber.