The Dubai International Baja, being organised by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of ATCUAE, and his team has the honour of opening the FIM Cross-Country Baja World Cup season.
Starting on Wednesday, March 7th, the Dubai Autodrome will welcome competitors and their teams for administrative and technical checks. Located in Dubai’s Motor City, the Autodrome’s modern infrastructure has offered an excellent solution to also accommodate Rally HQ, the Service Park and Parc Fermé over the race weekend. This will be the nerve centre of the Dubai International Baja.
With two days of administrative and technical checks completed, 27 motorbikes and quads will have the privilege of crossing the start podium, which is also located in the circuit, where they will receive the hand of Mohammed Ben Sulayem and the signal to start the race.
On Friday, March 9, competitors permitted to start the Dubai International Baja will take an early 50km road section to the Al Qudra Desert and the start of the 173km special across varied terrain composed of small and large dunes, as well as sabkhas. A second special of 173km will be staged on before the chequered flag is raised back at the Dubai Autodrome.
Mohammed Al-Balooshi, the multiple Arab Motocross Champion, is one of the favorites to take the win. The amicable Emirati finished on the third step of the podium at the 2017 Dubai International Baja.
The KTM rider said: "I was very happy with this third place last year but, this time, I start with the intention of improving my performance. I am a passionate rider, the race is my life and I am looking forward to the start of this first round of the FIM Cross-Country Bajas World Cup. I worked very hard during the last year and now is the time to reap the benefits."
“I do not want to think about who I have to fight. I run to improve my technique and my performance. My goal is to be good enough to beat others. For me, it's always about evolving as a rider."
Balooshi Racing's KTM UAE Team has other contenders for the podium or at least the top of the rankings: the Kuwaiti Mohammed Jaffar and Sultan Al Balooshi, the younger brother of Mohammed, plus Abdulla Shatti, who also hails from Kuwait.
In the quad category, the Russian rider Aleksandr Maksimov will be keen to lead his Yamaha Raptor to the top step of the podium.