By DON SIMPSON
From the moment Mathieu Desjardins stepped onto the dirt track, his passion for racing was palpable. His natural ability behind the wheel, combined with his deep understanding of racing dynamics, allowed him to make an immediate impact.
Mathieu Desjardins, despite being relatively new to the racing scene with a career that began in 2010, has managed to accomplish remarkable feats within a short span of time. His passion for racing and unwavering dedication have propelled him to remarkable achievements, setting him apart from his peers. From his early beginnings to his meteoric rise in the racing world, Desjardins has left an unforgettable mark, making a name for himself as an exceptional and talented driver. But Mathieu would achieve the biggest win of his career at the World Finals in Charlotte at the end of last season. Mathieu, in a challenging 30-lap race, was able to win the prestigious trophy at the World of Outlaws World Finals.
The road to winning a World Finals trophy began many years ago as a crewman on the renowned Team One racing team out of Sorel, Quebec. For a number of races at the Autodrome Drummond in 2007, Mathieu, who was still a member of Team One, was seated in the team backup car.
In 2010, the driver from Yamaska, QC, decided to take on a new challenge and compete in the Sportsman Modified division as an independent racer, separate from Team ONE. During the first season, Mathieu finished second in points at Autodrome Drummond. He also won the Rookie of the Year award due to several podium finishes, including two feature wins.
Things, however, would not go as smoothly in 2012, but were back on track in 2013, with four feature wins and a second-place finish in points at Autodrome Drummond in the Sportsman Modified. Mathieu would also compete in the DIRTcar Sportsman series and would finish in a respectable third place out of 234 competitors.
It would be in 2014 when Mathieu Desjardins would shine. That season, Mathieu visited victory lane 12 times and captured the track championship at Autodrome Granby and Drummond, along with a third-place finish in points at RPM Speedway. Mathieu would also go on to win the 2014 DIRTcar Sportsman Series title.
In just four seasons, Mathieu has established himself as the Best Sportsman Modified driver in 2014. Mathieu Desjardins’ rise to becoming the top DIRTcar Sportsman driver serves as an inspiration to aspiring racers. His story underscores the power of passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to one’s craft. As he continues to push the boundaries of what is possible on the dirt track, the racing community eagerly awaits the next chapter in his extraordinary journey.
In 2015, Mathieu had a similar performance to the previous year. He won the track championship at Autodrome Drummond and placed as the runner-up at both Granby and RPM Speedways. Additionally, he won an impressive 15 feature races, leading him to win the DIRTcar Sportsman series once again. Mathieu also tested his skills behind the wheel of a 358 Modified at Super Dirt Week at the Moody Mile. This would be the final race at the legendary track in Syracuse, and Mathieu wanted to experience all he could at the Mile. Mathieu had the 10th fastest time in time trials, which qualified him for the Salute the Troops 150. He would come home with 22nd out of the 39 starters, an experience he will never forget as the track has since been torn down.
In 2016, Mathieu would make the considerable jump to compete full-time in the 358 Modified Division. A big move for the small team owner. Early in the season, Mathieu picked up his first feature win in the 358 Division at the Autodrome Drummond. He would pick up four feature wins along with 15 top-five finishes. Overall, it was a good season.
Mathieu said, “That year we were six guys who put money together to be able to buy our first 358 engine. It was the only way we could afford an engine. It was a very good year for a rookie season, but, unfortunately, we broke two engines, so it was difficult for us as a small team. If we had not broken the engines, we would have been champion at Drummond, and we would have had four wins. I’m really proud of that year because, after that season, I was sure that my place was in the 358 division.”
Mathieu won four additional feature races in 2017, and he showed continued improvement in adapting to the 358 class. In the points battle at his local tracks Mathieu, finished 3rd at both Autodrome Granby and Drummond, along with a strong second place at RPM Speedway.
During the 2018 season, Mathieu had an impressive performance, winning the track championship at Autodrome Drummond and securing four Feature wins. He also came in second in the points standings at RPM. Despite having limited resources, this small-budget team achieved great results.
Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse in 2019 for the small team. They lost a significant sponsor, which greatly impacted their race budget. Unlike larger teams with ample sponsorships, small teams like Mathieu Desjardins rely heavily on sponsors, making it increasingly difficult for them to remain competitive. What you are seeing is that teams rely on sponsors. That season, Mathieu was restricted to just racing at Autodrome Drummond, but still managed to finish fifth in the points battle.
Because of rising costs and a lack of sponsors, Mathieu Desjardins decided to close the chapter on his racing career at the end of the 2019 season, a difficult decision but one he had to make.
Mathieu’s luck changed when Paul St-Sauveur and Harold Wilson extended an invitation to him to become a part of St-So Racing for 2020. Mathieu eagerly accepted the offer and started making preparations for the challenges that lay ahead.
In 2020, the pandemic brought racing to a halt. Borders closed, and tracks had to follow health restrictions, causing racing to slow down. Despite this, Mathieu managed to win two races among all the chaos and win the track championship with a limited race schedule at Autodrome Drummond.
For the 2021 race season, most tracks had health restrictions in place, and only a few fans were allowed in the stands. Additionally, some borders were still closed, and the schedule was somewhat reduced. Despite these challenges, Team St-So Racing made the best of the situation and continued racing, but struggled with setup. Mathieu would pick up two wins over the season and finish second in points at Le RPM Speedway and fifth in points at Autodrome Drummond.
The 2022 season was similar to the previous one for the team, as they continued to work on the car’s setup. However, Mathieu managed to win the RPM challenge in a thrilling side-by-side race against Even Racine. Despite the challenges, the season ended on a high note with Mathieu achieving the biggest win of his racing career, making up for any disappointments.
Mathieu achieved a remarkable feat by winning his first Super DIRTcar Series at The Dirt Track at Charlotte during the World Finals. He put forth his best effort and utilized all his skills to secure the victory, which was a proud moment for the driver hailing from Yamaska, Québec.
Mathieu will be driving the # 37 the “Les Equipements Harjo ” sponsored car in the 2023 Super DIRTcar Series, a difficult challenge considering the best in the sport will all be vying for the championship. Car owner Paul St-Sauveur, who retired from racing after the last season, has passed on the seat to Mathieu.
Paul said, “This year is going to be a significant one for us as we have over 73 races planned to ensure Mathieu gets the most laps. These races include the SDS Series, Granby, Drummond RPM, and others, depending on our schedule.”
Paul went on to say, “We have been supporting Mathieu for many years, and now that I have retired, my partner and I have decided to join him on the team. I promised Mathieu that if he performs well this season, I will take him to Oswego and Charlotte, and things have fallen into place. Currently, I am only responsible for running tests with the cars, while Mathieu has taken on the role of the official driver of car No. 37.”
As Mathieu Desjardins reflects on his rewarding racing career spanning the last 13 years, he stands at a pivotal moment. The upcoming season of racing in the Super DIRTcar series promises to be his most challenging endeavor yet, but it also represents the fulfillment of a long-time dream. With each passing year, Desjardins has defied expectations, overcome obstacles, and surpassed his own limits. Now, as he prepares to take on the best drivers in the sport, he is fueled by a combination of nerves and excitement, eager to test his skills on the grandest stage of DIRTcar racing.
Mathieu said, “I have been very happy about racing for Harold and Paul because everything was over for me in 2019. It’s cool to see that they trusted me as a driver and they were confident that I can bring home the win again in their car. I have a lot of fun with this team, everybody is really nice to me. We have to be serious but when it’s the time we laugh a lot about everything It’s nice to have everything we need ( parts, engine, etc). This year, I can realize my ultimate dream with their help… driving à big block is so unbelievable Im so grateful to them, I cannot thank them enough for that.”
This season is more than just another chapter; it is the realization of a lifelong ambition, and Mathieu Desjardins is ready to leave his mark on the Super DIRTcar series with the same passion and determination that has carried him through his remarkable journey thus far.