After more than 2,500 miles and seven grueling days, John Maragozidis won the inaugural ATV Class at the “Dakar Down Under”, the Australasian Safari.

Maragozidis crossed the finish line aboard his Polaris Outlaw in 31hr 42m, almost two hours ahead of his nearest rival. 

With more than 1,600 miles of timed competitive stages on some of Western Australia’s most punishing desert terrain, the Safari covers both private and public trails before finishing in the state capital, Perth.

The introduction of the quad class this year has added another dimension to the 21-year history of one of the most taxing events in motorsports.

“Unlike the Dakar events in Europe and Africa, Australasian Safari competitors must also occasionally dodge five-foot tall kangaroos and Australia’s maddest bird, the emu, which is about the size of an ostrich,” says Polaris Australia’s national sales manager Peter Harvey. “They love to run along side you then cut out in front.”

John Maragozidis successfully avoided kangaroos and emus on his 2,500-mile journey.John Maragozidis successfully avoided kangaroos and emus on his 2,500-mile journey.

Unfortunately, this year an entrant in the ATV Class from South Africa hit a 150-pound kangaroo. Reportedly the rider continued to race with what he thought was a painfully bruised thigh. 

The Australasian Safari is a rally style event where competitors race at set intervals and compete against the clock. Cars, motorcycles and ATVs all complete the same competitive sections.

“The Outlaw 525 IRS handled the terrain brilliantly. I don’t think I’d attempt this race on a quad without independent rear suspension,” says Maragozidis. “When you’re belting across rocky terrain and bull dust at 100 kph (62 mph), traction and handling are everything.”

“This year, Polaris Australia and its dealers have made an outstanding investment in ATV racing, and it is great to see the results,” says Harvey.

So far this year Polaris Racing has won the Australian ATV MX Tri-State Series, the Queensland ATV MX Championship, and currently has a solid lead in the Victorian ATV MX Series.

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