While the SSV class has only been racing the Dakar Rally for four years, it quickly became a favorite, attracting competitors from around the world to compete for victory in their favorite brand of UTV. While a private racer in a Polaris won the class in his first year, 2017, the victory has been going to Can Am ever since. This year, Polaris hopes to bring the Cup back to Minnesota with a factory-backed three RZR team. Polaris RZR Factory Racing has had many race wins here in North America, but this will be the first time the factory team has competed in Dakar.
A trio of RZR Pro XP will be outfitted and equipped to take on the desert terrains of Saudi Arabia in January next year. Each will be driven by off-road legend Craig Scanlon, as well as husband and wife team Wayne and Kristen Matlock.
Kristen has seven Baja titles to her name and will represent Polaris’ new Empowersports Women’s Riding Council in the Dakar. Which is particularly cool, considering the event is held in Saudi Arabia, not particularly known for empowering women.
Wayne is RZR Racing’s most decorated driver in Baja with 20 years of racing experience, three wins in the Baja 500 UTV category and two wins in the Baja 1000 UTV category. He is also the current SCORE UTV Season Champion.
Craig Scanlon started the Polaris RZR Racing program just over ten years ago and is returning home for this Dakar effort. Scanlon is the 2019 Baja 500 Pro class champion, among hundreds of other credits to his name, so keep an eye out for this one as a Dakar contender.
None of these three riders have ever competed in Dakar before, so this will be a new endeavor not only for the Polaris factory effort, but for everyone involved.