This year’s Dakar Rally immortalized Californian Ricky Brabec as the first American to ever lock up a victory in the world’s most prestigious rally raid, as the Monster Energy Honda rider grabbed the motorcycle lead after Stage 3 and never looked back. But if you’re looking for a category where the stars and stripes really flew, look no further than SSV, as Casey Currie’s overall victory led a dominant year for the red, white, and blue.

405 Currie Casey (usa), Berriman Sean (usa), Can – Am, Monster Energy Can-Am, SSV, Motul, podium at the arrival of the Dakar 2020, in Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia, on January 17, 2020 – Photo Francois Flamand / DPPI

After a fourth place overall finish last year and top rookie honors, Currie admitted to being disappointed with his debut performance. The South Racing Can-Am driver spent much of last year improving his rally raid skills, teaming with new co-driver Sean Berriman and winning Rallye du Maroc, the final tune-up before this year’s Dakar. He opened the event with a second place finish on the first stage, and first took the lead after Stage 3.

405 Currie Casey (usa), Berriman Sean (usa), Can – Am, Monster Energy Can-Am, SSV, Motul, action during Stage 10 of the Dakar 2020 between Haradh and Shubaytah, 608 km – SS 534 km, in Saudi Arabia, on January 15, 2020 – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Despite yielding the top spot for a few days, Currie rediscovered his form after the rest day and seized the lead after Stage 7. From there, he never looked back, eventually extending the advantage to more than 39 minutes over Sergei Kariakin when all was said and done. Defending event winner Chaleco Lopez completed the podium.

409 Hildebrand Blade (usa), Cazalet Francois (fra), OT3, Red Bull Offroad Team USA, SSV, action during the departure ceremony of the 2020 Dakar in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on January 4, 2020 – Photo Julien Delfosse / DPPI

The brand new Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team debuted in this year’s Dakar to plenty of fanfare, and proved its speed with five stage wins, but reliability issues plagued the squad from the very early stages. Blade Hildebrand’s hopes of a strong overall finish ended in the second stage with mechanical issues, but he ended his sophomore Dakar effort with two stage wins in three days and a second place finish in the final stage of the event heading into Qiddiya.

Guthrie Mitchell (usa), OT3, Red Bull Offraod Team USA, SSV, portrait during Stage 8 of the Dakar 2020 between Wadi Al-Dawasir and Wadi Al-Dawasir, 713 km – SS 474 km, in Saudi Arabia, on January 13, 2020 – Photo Florent Gooden / DPPI

Mitch Guthrie Jr., meanwhile, had one of the most heartbreaking events imaginable in his Dakar debut. The defending Best in the Desert UTV Turbo champion scored his first stage victory in Stage 4 and cracked the top five going into the rest day, but mechanical issues coming out of the rest day ended his hopes. A second stage win came on Stage 10, but further trouble ended his event on the penultimate stage.

427 Austin Jones (usa), Kellon Walch (usa), Can-Am, South Racing Can-AM, SSV, action during Stage 11 of the Dakar 2020 between Shubaytah and Haradh, 744 km – SS 379 km, in Saudi Arabia, on January 16, 2020 – Photo DPPI

However, it wasn’t all bad news for Americans other than Currie in the overall standings. Like Guthrie, AJ Jones made his first trip to the event this year in another South Racing Can-Am and never fell out of the top 10. He ran as high as fourth after Stage 5, with top five finishes in six of the 12 legs of the event, before eventually settling into eighth overall at race’s end.

2020 Dakar Rally SSV Stage Winners

Stage Winner Team Time
OVR #405 Casey CurrieMonster Energy Can-Am53:25:52
1#419 Aron DomzalaDomzala4:00:58
2#400 Chaleco LopezSouth Racing Can-Am4:13:30
3#401 Gerard FarresMonster Energy Can-Am4:42:47
4#412 Mitch Guthrie Jr.Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team5:01:13
5#403 Cyril DespresRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team4:40:43
6#401 Gerard FarresMonster Energy Can-Am5:27:25
7#409 Blade HildebrandRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team5:26:35
8#402 Reinaldo VarelaMonster Energy Can-Am4:50:48
9#409 Blade HildebrandRed Bull Off-Road Junior Team4:00:42
10#412 Mitch Guthrie Jr.Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team2:23:47
11#400 Chaleco LopezSouth Racing Can-Am4:59:51
12#402 Reinaldo VarelaMonster Energy Can-Am 1:36:19

Words by: Chris Leone // UTVUnderground.com
Photos via: Amaury Sport Organisation

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