Al Maqoodi, Powell, Al Shamsi and Brodalka Victorious at Emirates Desert Championship Round 3

Ahmed Al Maqoodi, Mark Powell, Mohammed Al Shamsi and Josh Brodalka all tasted victory in their respective Buggy, Car, Quad and Motorcycle events during the third round of the Emirates Desert Championship on Friday 20th January.

Al Maqoodi made it two buggy wins in a row, beating teammate and last season’s champion Ahmed Al Fahim into second place, with Briton Ryan Trutch in third. Trutch of the MX Dubai sponsored team leads the championship after the first three rounds, with Tom Bell of Sabertooth Motorsports and the Polaris UAE Racing Team’s Al Maqoodi in joint second place.

“It was a good day for us, as the team took 1st, 2nd and 4th position, as well as maximum points in the Team Championship”, said Al Maqoodi, who last month won the 2016 Dubai International Rally.

“The season is going well for us so far and we want to continue this momentum through the upcoming international events”.

Elsewhere, Mark Powell, co-driven by multiple Dakar Rally veteran Annie Seel, was victories in the Car category in his FIA T1 Predator Trophy Truck, beating Emirati Khalid Al Jafla in a similar FIA Spec Armada Trophy Truck. Qatari driver Sh. Hamad Al Thani took fourth place to maintain his lead over Al Jafla in the championship.

Emirati rider Mohammed Al Shamsi was a dominant winner in the quad class, with the 2013-14 Champion taking his first victory in the category since the opening round of last season in October 2015. The runner up was Abdulmajeed Al Khulaifi of Saudi Arabia, with Obaid Al Kitbe in third place and extending his lead in the quad championship.

Finally, young South African Josh Brodalka emerged victorious for the Powertec UAE Team following a close fought battle with the Balooshi Racing pair of Kuwaiti Mohammed Jaffar and Emirati Mohammed Al Balooshi, pipping Jaffar to the win by only five seconds, one of the closest margins in Emirates Desert Championship history. Balooshi finished a further 17 seconds back from Jaffar in third place and still holds top spot in the championship standings, but Brodalka is closing on him as a result of his maximum points in the last two rounds.

The event was staged in the Al Faqa’a region of Dubai with the terrain proving to be a big hit with all competitors.

“We have received nothing but positive feedback from our competitors who all enjoyed the fast flowing valleys that make up this part of Dubai. This terrain has been specifically chosen for the car drivers as it allows them to maintain a much higher speed than events held in areas with sorter, choppier dunes”, said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sport federation (EMSF).

“It is also great to see the amount of competitors continuing to come from overseas to take part, and we have successfully position the series as one of the premier desert racing championships in the world, a fact proven by series regular Sam Sunderland, who just won the Dakar Rally”, concluded Ben Sulayem.

The Championship has now entered a busy period, with Round three being the first of three events to be scheduled in a period of just five weeks. Round four is scheduled for Friday 3rd February, with the season concluding at the fifth round two weeks later on Friday 17th February.

The Emirates Desert Championship is the UAE’s national baja rally championship for Cars, Buggies, Motorcycles and Quads and is organized by the ATCUAE and the EMSF.

Emirates Desert Championship Returns from Hiatus for Round 3


The Emirates Desert Championship, the UAE’s national baja rally championship for cars, buggies, motorcycles and quads, returns on Friday 20th January 2017 for Round Three following a break over new years.

A total entry of over 85 vehicles across all classes will compete in the third event of the five round series, which enters a busy period with Round Four scheduled for Friday 3rd February and the fifth and final round scheduled for Friday 17th February.

Lt season’s motorcycle champion, Ross Runnalls heads the entry list and returns to competition following a serious hand injury suffered during the second round back in November, and will be keen to make up for lost ground in the championship race. While Runnall’s fellow South African Josh Brodalka took the win in Round Two, it is Emirati hero Mohammed Al Balooshi who currently leads the championship following podium placing in each of the two opening events.

One rider who will not be taking part in this event is Sam Sunderland, who won the opening event in October and has just returned to Dubai following his amazing victory in this year’s Dakar Rally, becoming the first Briton to ever win the event.

“What Sam achieved is truly amazing, and we in the UAE motorsport community are all extremely proud of him”, said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and Chairman of the Emirates Motor Sport federation (EMSF).

“When Sam came here to the UAE almost ten years, he was just another promising young motocross rider. Now he is the 2017 Dakar Champion, and was second in the 2016 FIM World Championship. I would encourage all young riders to look at him as a role model and see that anything is possible with hard work and dedication”, concluded Ben Sulayem.

Having just returned back from a grueling two weeks in South America, Sunderland will sit out this event and hopefully return to the Emirates Desert Championship for Rd 4 in February.

Elsewhere, Obaid Al Kitbe leads the quad class with a second and a first in the opening two rounds, while Dana Miskulnig and Sune Schaffler are level points in the Ladies Cup. Due to Schaffler’s absence as a result of a collarbone injury, Miskulnig should move into the lead if she avoids any problems on this event.

In the Car and Buggy categories, former FIA Middle East Rally Champion Sh. Hamad Al Thani of Qatar leads the Overall Auto classification, while Briton Ryan Trutch currently holds a narrow two point lead over compatriot Tom Bell, with both racing Polaris RZR 1000s.

The Emirates Desert Championship is organized by the ATCUAE and EMSF. Round Three will take place in the Al Faqa’a region of Dubai, just north of the border with Abu Dhabi along the Al Ain Road. Racing starts at 08:30, lasting for two hours. All spectators are welcome to attend.