Sand and sights of the SSVs By the staff of Dirt Wheels Photos by WESTx1000 and

Quad, truck, car, action landscape during the 2nd stage of the Dakar 2021 between Bisha and Wadi Al Dawasir, in Saudi Arabia on January 4, 2021 – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

The 43rd annual running of the Dakar Rally took place in the first half of January. It’s the longest off-road race on the planet. Trucks, buggies, bikes and quads all take part in the historic, grueling event. Competitors have to travel nearly 5000 miles during the 12-day event, keeping their bodies and machines alive while braving the elements of the Saudi Arabian desert. For the first time ever, a U.S. citizen competed in the Quad class: Pablo Copetti. Casey Currie made history by becoming the first American to win (American Ricky Brabec also won on a bike) any class at the rally last year in the UTV class. So, having a Miami, Florida, resident in the competition was exciting for all of us back home. There was a great showing of Americans in the UTV class as well, with Seth Quintero grabbing stage wins and Austin Jones finishing the rally in second. Pablo Copetti finished third out of a field of 16 quad riders. Copetti’s weapon of choice was a Yamaha Raptor 700. Enjoy these amazing photos from the land of sand.

While much of the course is composed of sand and gravel, other parts are literally solid rock.
One of the race helicopters prepares to rescue a quad.
Parts of the course wound in between stunning rock formations
For brief sections the course hugs the sea coast.
This shot of one of the quad entrant blowing through sand is amazing. Yamaha Raptor 700s dominate the racing in the quad class.
Like all Dakar race vehicles, the Raptor 700s are customized to handle the distances and abuse of the route.
Some of the desert route could pass for California or Baja.
There is a 4×4 class for quads. It has fewer entrees, and it is dominated by Can-Am machines.
Polaris stepped into Dakar for 2021, and had some success, but Can-Am still swept the podium.
As you see from the course map, not much of Saudi Arabia is bypassed by the race route.
428 Guayasamin Sebastian (ecu), Torlaschi Ricardo Adrian (arg), Polaris, Xtremeplus Polaris Factory Team, Motul, SSV Series – T4, action crash accident during the 8th stage of the Dakar 2021 between Sakaka and Neom, in Saudi Arabia on January 11, 2021 – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

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