On Thursday 10 March the participants in this first FIM Baja of the year will head for the desert, with a first 91.66 km special followed by a second over 82.24 km.
On Saturday 11 March, they will tackle the third and last special over a distance of the 174.20 km before reaching the finish of this Dubai International Baja whose sand- and saltscapes will doubtless remain etched in their memories.
For this first edition of the FIM Bajas World Cup, Mohammed Bin Sulayem and his team have prepared an exquisite trail through the Al Qudra Desert with small dunes, large dunes and the Sabkha (Salar in South America or Chott in the Sahara), great salt lakes that have more or less dried out and are sometimes very tricky to negotiate.
Thirty-eight motorcyclists and quad riders have signed up for this new challenge: 27 in the FIM motorcycling category (450cc), 8 FIM Quads, including one woman, Camelia Liparoti, three Juniors and three non-FIM motorcycles (+450cc).
The star turn will be 2017 Dakar winner Sam Sunderland, who is taking to his KTM to keep his hand in and show his appreciation of the United Arab Emirates where he has been staying during the year.
“To be frank, I haven’t done much since the Dakar”
“and I am really happy to race again. But I’ve been riding my bike a lot in the desert for pleasure and I’m ready for the Dubai International Baja!”
In Quad, Italo-French champion Camelia Liparoti (Yamaha) will have her work cut out to outpace the Emirates’ Humaid Almashghouni (Honda), riding on his own patch, and the young generation of quad riders, Fahad Al Musallam (Yamaha) from Kuwait, Brit Kyle Stockman (Yamaha) and Kazakhstan’s Azamat Tleulessov, all three entered in the FIM Bajas World Cup Junior category.