Austin Jones became the first American to win the FIA’s World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. At only 25 years of age, Austin powered to glory at the last round, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. In 2021, the world cup consisted of six races on three continents. This latest trophy joins a bulging cabinet: Austin has previously won the Baja 1000 twice and the SCORE Trophy Truck Championship. Supported by the legendary Scott Abraham and the Motul-backed South Racing team, this is a recap of an extraordinary year for the young racer.
Teamwork makes the dream work
“Throwback to San Felipe 2019, getting the win with my dad riding in the right seat. Such a crazy day and one I’ll definitely never forget,” he wrote. “So stoked to get back down south for this year’s race coming up next month.” His father, Jesse is a 20-year desert racing veteran who runs the Jones Motorsport team. Looking back, it was exactly around April that marked the turning point of this intense and successful 2021 season that culminated in the world title.
It’s important to turn the setback around again
“The key was actually after the Dakar,” Austin said. “Having finished second, and so close to first, was frustrating because we had put so much effort into it, pushing to the limits for 12 consecutive days. But on the other side, the disappointment gave me such an incredible boost to work even more on myself to improve all the aspects of my driving style, the preparation and the race approach.”
There is no ‘easy’ button
The FIA World Cup is as brutal and ruthless as the Dakar, because there is no “easy” button, no escape route. It means pushing hard through five or six consecutive 150 to 200-mile days. The World Cup win is a big achievement for the 25-year-old, who is in just his third year in the sport.
In 2019 Scott Abraham, South Racing’s managing director, predicted:
“We are very excited to be joining the Motul family. The Monster Energy Can-Am team are looking to Dakar for a strong result looking to win the FIA World Cup. It is a partnership that we have talked about for several years and this year everything came together. Both companies are growing quickly, and we look forward to many fun and successful events together in future.”
Austin Jones concluded: “It takes a team to win races”
“I’d like to thank Gustavo Gugelmin for doing an incredible job. Together we are a perfect duo in the cockpit. He is the best navigator in the world, especially in the Can-Am with his incredible mechanical expertise,” Austin said. “The team did its part by giving us a good car that allowed us to finish in the top five every single stage of the championship, except on stage four in the Morocco Rally when we suffered a mechanical issue.”
Looking ahead, the next big appointment for Austin Jones is the upcoming 2022 Dakar in January, where he starts as the man to beat. After such a successful 2021, he goes into 2022 brimming with confidence.
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