Son of off-road racing champion Jesse Jones, Austin or as most people call him “AJ” Jones grew up in off-road racing in the pits of his fathers race teams. AJ grew up watching his father racing short course and desert racing and quickly started driving UTV’s under the careful tutelage of his father. In 2017 AJ started navigating with his dad in the Best In The Desert series. His Dad continued training him during pre-running, teaching him on the fundamentals of off-road racing, everything from car control, to navigation, to gameplanning for a race.
In just four short years, AJ Jones has been able to accomplish what most off-road racers spend their lifetime trying to achieve. In 2018 AJ teamed up with Bryce Swain to race the TSCO built and prepped Thunderstruck 6100 truck. The duo had immediate success winning the Parker 425, then going on to dominate the SCORE series beginning with a second place at the San Felipe 250, winning the Baja 500 then winning the Baja 1000 securing the SCORE championship by domination.
“2018 was a dream year. I couldn’t believe the results we were getting. Bryce was a great driver. We had good equipment and support, but most of all my dad had shared his knowledge of off-road racing. Now I need to back it up in 2019!” stated AJ.
Towards the end of 2018 AJ steeped outside of his comfort zone and went to race a UTV in rally raid at the Rallye du Maroc (Rally of Morocco) where he won one stage and finished two of them before a mechanical DNF. 2019 started off with a bang winning the San Felipe 250 for a second year in a row splitting driving duties with his dad. AJ headed to China and tackled the famed Silkway Rally and managed to earn a solid third place finish despite having a bad crash early in the race. AJ returned to Rallye du Maroc (Rally of Morocco) and fought his way to a respectable 4th place finish. After only three rally raid races AJ took on the beast that is Dakar. At the start of 2020 after 14 days of long grueling stages racing against some of the best racers in the world AJ finished 3rd in 4 separate stages and managed a top ten finishing 8th in class. Shortly after Dakar AJ wanted to be back in the dirt applying the lessons he learned from Dakar to his next race which would be The Qatar Cross Country rally where he won three stages out of five until he was forced to retire due to another competitor crashing into him damaging his UTV beyond repair.
As off-road racing re-starts AJ was planning on entering his 525hp 6100 Trophy Truck Spec the 1000hp Trophy Truck Class in an attempt to prove that drivers skills trump horsepower. Now due to the date and location changes of the Baja 500 he will now attack the famed Vegas to Reno where he will be at a further disadvantage due to elevation which further robs engines of their power. “ I was able to pull off a 7th overall in the Baja 1000 last year in my 525hp 6100 Trophy Truck Spec and I felt like we were running 70%. We will be at a slight disadvantage at Vegas to Reno, but we are going to give them hell!” stated the enthusiastic AJ. As he continues to improve his driving skills, from Dakar to Baja, UTV to Trophy Truck, AJ is the new breed of champion off-road racer, a throwback to the days of drivers racing multiple disciplines. Aj takes another step towards taking the wheel of AWD Mason with 1000+ hp later this year.