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Stage 1 images from the 2019 Dakar Rally

My Name Is Casey

Dec 292020

Casey Currie’s first childhood memory is sitting on his dad’s lap in a pickup truck. Growing up in a motorsport family in Anaheim Hills, California, two hours from the desert, everything was about off-road racing.

By the age of 5, Currie was competing on motorcycles, and by 16 he jumped behind the wheel of his first race truck. His off-road resume is packed with wins on motorcycles, trucks, and buggies in the desert. Casey shined in the Baja 1000 with three victories, he won two Torc Short Course World titles and scored the Torc Short Course and the Score Baja championships. Last January he ultimately tackled the Dakar—the toughest rally in the world—with the Monster Energy Can-Am Team, finishing fourth in the “Side by Side” category.

“Wild, loud, and upfront” is how Currie describes himself. He always voices his opinion and strongly believes in what he’s doing. If you need to look for him, go to the desert, where you will find him training for the biggest appointment of the year: the Dakar. But when it’s time to relax, there is no more precious moment for him than that spent with his wife Ali and his two kids Ryan and Evan.

Not scared of riding two bulls on a rodeo resisting 8 seconds, just for the sake of the challenge, when it’s about racing, Casey doesn’t know the word limit. Failure is what scares him most.

Like many racers, Casey Currie has a unique vocabulary. “Fun” means “adventure, challenge, and hard racing.” “Danger” means “crashing and failure.” And “dust” means not winning, as in, “If you’re eating dust, you’re behind somebody else.”

Racing is in your DNA. What did you inherit from your family?
My dad and grandpa were huge motorsports fans and were racing off-road. I started riding a bike when I was 3. Riding dirt track taught me a lot about setup and technique. On a bike, you learn the importance of body position to go faster. In a truck, you learn the mechanics and how to push the vehicle to its limit.

Dakar is considered the ultimate challenge. How was your first Dakar?
I made the mistake of facing this new challenge with a co-driver I didn’t know, and this created a lot of misunderstanding in the cockpit. It was frustrating; I should have taken it more seriously. We also faced many technical challenges, but it was a good lesson.

Some say no one returns from Dakar the same.
It’s true. I learned a lot about myself. I learned to be patient. I was completely lost, driving backward on the race route. It was scary! I discovered so much passion for what I’m doing. Otherwise, you cannot wake up at dawn every morning to face another 10-hour drive in extremely physically and mentally demanding conditions. There is nothing in America that can compare with Dakar; it’s like the Baja 1000 for two weeks in a row.

What is the limit for you?
My limit? I don’t have limits. I see more the limitations of the vehicles or miscommunication with my co-driver.

And your greatest fear?
Failure. This is what I hate. I don’t want to let anyone down. It’s not about me; it’s a team sport where people invest a lot, so I don’t want to waste their time and money.

When did you last cry?
Last January at the finish line for all the effort and sacrifice. To finish the Dakar means you really love what you do. The passion for racing comes out of you. Otherwise, you cannot go on day after day. I realized how deeply I love what I’m doing, and I bring this passion back home. For this reason, I have the whole support of my wife and family.

In January, you will have a second chance to prove yourself.
My first Dakar experience was a lot harder than I had anticipated, and I learned a lot. Now I feel better prepared. I trained with (Americans) Ricky Brabec and Andy Short, and I have worked a lot with my co-driver Sean Berriman. We won the Morocco Rally in our first outing, and this gave us a lot of confidence. The “finish the Dakar” box is ticked off. Now, we have to win.

Experience or superpower? What is the best recipe to win the Dakar?
If I had to choose a superpower, I would love to be invincible so that I cannot get hurt. But I’m a down-to-earth boy, so I prefer to train hard with the navigation and get familiar with the mechanics of our Can-Am so we arrive ready for the Dakar. The Saudi Arabian terrain is new for everybody, but we will find a lot of sand and dunes. That requires respect, but it is very familiar to me, so I’m really confident and excited.