ATV Racing In the Dakar Rally Comes to an End

Ross Ballot
by Ross Ballot
Photo Credit: Dakar Rally

Many would argue that the Dakar Rally is the world's most difficult off-road race, but unfortunately the times of ATV riders competing in the event has come to a close. Though four-wheelers have long been an exciting class to watch, interest in the division has waned and manufacturer interest has been redirected to other more popular (and financially best-serving) classes.

The Dakar Rally organization announced this development on Facebook, stating:

After more than 30 years as part of the family, the #Dakar2025 will not feature a quad race. We would like to thank and congratulate all the competitors who have been part of this adventure. The Dakar will now focus on the wildly popular motorbike category. We will work hard to fine-tune the selection procedure and boost the safety of the riders.

The lack of participation by ATV riders is largely the reason behind this happening. 2023 saw only 19 ATV riders race in the event, with only 10 in the 2024 event. Racing across the Saudi Arabian desert is a huge undertaking not only for those competing but also for event organizers and everyone else involved, and the manufacturers alike were showing less and less interest in supporting a poorly-attended division of the racing. This coincides with increased interest in the SSV (side-by-side vehicle) and Rally2 motorcycle categories, which have taken some of the steam out of the ATV division.

While this is sad news for those who have participated and those who enjoy following along, it is ultimately a small concession in the broader spectrum of keeping the Dakar Rally alive. Other classes, like motorcycles, trucks, and UTVs, will continue to be able to participate in the event, and most importantly, the event will continue on as a whole.

Ross Ballot
Ross Ballot

Ross hosts The Off the Road Again Podcast. He has been in the off-road world since he was a kid riding in the back of his dad’s YJ Wrangler. He works in marketing by day and in his free time contributes to Hooniverse, AutoGuide, and, and in the past has contributed to UTV Driver, ATV Rider, and Everyday Driver. Ross drives a 2018 Lexus GX460 that is an ongoing build project featured on multiple websites and the podcast and spends his free time working on and riding ATVs.

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