It’s been a while since we had a Canadian to cheer on at Dakar, but in 2023, we’re back on the scoreboard, nationally speaking!
Gareth Jones, from Powell River, British Columbia, is racing at the 2023 Dakar Rally as a member of HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing (see the team’s Facebook page here). Jones caught the bug for rally raid at a training camp event in Spain a couple of years ago, and ever since, he’s had his sights on the Dakar, the biggest rally-style race in the world.
He’s been working his way through the international rally raid scene for the past few months, racing in Morocco and Greece to get his paperwork approved for the big race in Saudi Arabia. Now, he’s in the desert, riding with one of the top privateer teams, at 40 years old.
As of Stage 3, Jones is sitting in 101st place overall, certainly a long way from the front of the pack, but also far, far ahead of some of the speedsters who have already crashed out! He’s not at Dakar looking to win first overall; participation and completion is the goal for most riders at Dakar, especially for the first-timers, and chances are he will be most pleased if he gets his completion medial at the end of the final day.
Here’s how Dakar.com describes Jones’ approach to this year’s race:
“The more intrigued you get about the [Dakar] race the more you watch it every year. It’s a huge adventure. I never thought I would actually be in the Dakar. It was always a dream to follow it and to go one day and watch it … It’s nice being out there in the middle of nowhere, faced with the challenges. I’m not out there racing people. I’m not interested in finishing in a position. It’s all about if I race this event and beat the rally itself. It’s all about the adventure. It’s going to be a shame if something should happen and I don’t finish, but it won’t be the end of the world. I have a wife and three beautiful kids and coming home to them is more important.”
Sounds sensible, and since Jones is with one of the top privateer teams, he’s in good hands.
If you want to contribute to Jones’ race efforts, there is a GoFundMe page here.
Follow this year’s race at Dakar.com; see the up-to-date rankings here.