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New Champions Crowned as EDC Season comes to a Close

The fifth and final round of the 2016-17 Emirates Desert Championship season took place in stormy conditions on Friday morning, but the wind and rain couldn’t stop the various competitors still fighting to secure their titles.

In the motorcycle category, after coming second in the previous two seasons, Emirati Mohammed Al Balooshi finally put those demons to rest by taking the win on the day and confirming himself as the new champion.

“After coming second in the last few seasons, and starting this year still recovering from injuries, I can’t describe how important this win is to me! It will definitely take a few days to settle in”, said Al Balooshi.

“The conditions today were really hard but I knew I had to fight through it and push myself if I wanted the title, and I finally found that good luck I’d been looking for in the past. I’d like to thank the ATCUAE and EMSF for putting on such a great event, not just today, but all season”, he concluded.

Balooshi’s closest challenger, last season’s champion Ross Runnall’s could only manage fourth overall on the day, leaving him a close second place in the championship. Runnall’s will be able to commiserate himself with the fact that he has finished season as first in the 450cc Class, with Al Balooshi first in the separate Veteran’s Class. Additionally, Al Balooshi’s good fortunes continue with the fact that his own team, Balooshi Racing, featuring himself, Sultan Al Balooshi, Mohammed Jaffar and Shannon O’Connor, have finished the season as winners in the team competition for the first time, ahead of the Sandy Helmets in second and SRG Portable Shade Husqvarna in third.

Elsewhere, despite an uncharacteristic mechanical issue that left him fourth on the day, Ahmed Al Maqoodi had already done enough to reclaim his Buggy title that he previously won in 2014-15. His Polaris Racing Team UAE teammate Omar Sawan finished round five in first place, with the team holding onto the best Auto/Buggy Team award that they also won last year. Ryan Trutch was second on the day with Patrick McMurren in third place.

The quad category celebrates its fourth different Emirati champion in four seasons, with Obaid Al Kitbe the latest rider to add his name to the list, but circumstances on the day forced him to work hard to secure the title. Finishing fourth on the event, which was won by Khalifa Al Rasse, Al Kitbe had to carry out emergency repairs in the middle of a desert sandstorm in order to continue the race and score the much needed points. He finished the season only one point ahead of Kuwaiti rider Fahad Al Musallam.

Finally, in the Car category, Emirati driver Khalid Al Jafla was one of the few competitors to retain a title from last season, doing so in style by comfortably winning the final race of the year. Briton Mark Powell was third on the day, with compatriot Ian Barker in third place.

“I’m delighted for all the winners, and really impressed that they had the courage to still push themselves today in some horrendous conditions! Between today and the previous event two weeks ago, we don’t seem to have had much luck weather wise, but it all adds to the challenge”, said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, ATCUAE President and EMSF Chairman.

It’s been a great season, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported the championship, especially all the officials and marshals. However, the work is never over and we are now full steam ahead organizing the Dubai International Baja, our new FIA and FIM World Cup event for Dubai that is taking place in just over three weeks’ time, and we hope everyone will come out to support it”, he concluded.

The Emirates Desert Championship is the UAE’s national baja rally championship for Cars, Buggies, Motorcycles and Quads, and is organized over five events by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and the Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF).

The Dubai International Baja takes place from the 9th to the 11th March 2017, with the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge held from the 30th March to 6th April 2017.

Al Jafla, Al Maqoodi, Runnalls and Al Musallam Celebrate Victory at Challenging Penultimate Emirates Desert Championship Event

Khalid Al Jafla, Ahmed Al Maqoodi, Ross Runnalls and Fahad Al Musallam won their respective Auto, Buggy, Motorcycle and Quad races in tough conditions at Round 4 of the Emirates Desert Championship in the Margham region of Dubai on Friday morning.

Competitors had to battle against the elements as well as each other as rare storms hit the UAE on Thursday and Friday. Heavy overnight rain washed away all desert tracks making navigation more difficult, as well as leaving a heavy layer of damp sand throughout the desert, which is especially difficult for the motorcycles to stay upright in. Thankfully, despite low temperatures and overcast skies, the wind and rain held off long enough early on Friday morning for the organisers to start the race, and all competitors were keen to score some much needed championship points, with only one more round of the championship to go.

In the Auto category, Emirati Khalid Al Jafla was a dominant winner in his Armada Trophy Trucks, setting consistently fast times, and emerging as a clear winner, with Briton Mark Powell second and Qatari Sh. Hamad Al Thank third in a pair of Nissan Patrols.

“The conditions suited my vehicle which is significantly lighter than the Nissans, and I was able to glide along on the top of the wet sand. It was great fun to be honest!” said Al Jafla.

“While the win is always welcomed, it was actually more important for me to get used to this new vehicle and its capabilities ahead of the Dubai International Baja in March, and I hope to be able to fight for the win alongside the world’s top teams”, Al Jafla concluded.

In the Buggy category, Ahmed Al Maqoodi of the Polaris UAE Racing Team recorded his third win in succession, and looks to have gained control in the championship as he seeks to regain the title he previously won in 2014-15. Al Maqoodi’s teammate Omar Sawan was second on the day, with Briton Tom Bell in third place. Ryan Trutch, who had been leading the championship going into the event was forced to retire with mechanical problems.

Reigning motorcycle champion Ross Runnalls finally won his first event of the season with a comfortable margin from fellow South African Aaron Mare in second place. Mohammed Al Balooshi finished in third place, leaving himself and Runnalls effectively in a two way fight for the title going into the final round. While Al Balooshi, who was runner up to Runnalls last season, goes into the final round holding advantage, due to him having finished all four events compared to Runnall’s three, he will need to finish ahead of Runnalls at round five to ensure that he takes the championship.

Elsewhere among the motorcycles, Al Balooshi was first in the Veteran’s Class, Shannon O’Connor won the Master’s Class, Benjamin Melot was best of the Over 450cc Class, and Shelby Ingrilli was top of the Marathon Class riders. Elisha Dessurne was first in the Ladies Cup.

Finally, in the quads, Kuwaiti Fahad Al Musallam won a tight fought battle over two time Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge winner Obaid Al Kitbe, with the Al Musallam beating his Emirati rival by a margin of just eight tenths of a second after two hours and 100kms of racing. Khalifa Al Rasse finished the podium off with third place. Al Kitbe will be hoping for a strong result in round five as he aims to become the fourth different Emirati to win the quad title in four seasons.

“Today was a real challenge for the competitors and we were lucky that the conditions permitted us to run the race, although they deteriorated a bit as we got to the end. A lot of the competitors are using this championship as training for the Dubai International Baja and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge coming in March and April, so I am glad that we still gave them the opportunity to race today”, said ATCUAE President and EMSF Chairman Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“I would like to thank all those that came out today to the event, not just those that competed, but more importantly the marshals, sweep team, media, service crew and spectators who braved the worst of the conditions to support UAE motorsport”, concluded Ben Sulayem.

The Emirates Desert Championship is the UAE’s national baja rally championship for cars, buggies, motorcycles and quads and is organized by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and the Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF). The fifth and final round of the championship will be held on Friday 17th February 2017, and will be followed by the Dubai International Baja on the 9th to 11th March and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge from the 30th March to 6th April 2017.

Al Balooshi Aims to Seize Control at Emirates Desert Championship

Round 4 of the Emirates Desert Championship is taking place on Friday 3rd February 2017, and Mohammed Al Balooshi is determined to cement his place at the top of the overall motorcycle classification.

With three of the five rounds of the season already completed, Al Balooshi currently leads the championship by at least 12 points from his nearest challengers, and after finishing as Runner Up in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, he is more determined than ever to finish the season as champion.

“After the disappointment of coming second in the last two seasons, it would mean a huge amount to me to win this championship and also give me a real confidence boost going into the Dubai International Baja and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge”, said Al Balooshi.

While Al Balooshi has suffered his share of bad luck over the seasons to deprive him of the title, it may be the misfortune of one of his main rivals that elevates him to the role of title favorite. Josh Brodalka, winner of the previous two rounds and Al Balooshi’s closest competition for the championship was injured in a crash while testing last weekend, and his injury is serious enough to keep him out for the rest of the season.

“It’s a huge shame to lose Josh at this stage of the season, as the racing recently has been hugely competitive and exciting”, said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, ATCUAE President and EMSF Chairman.

“However, Mohammed is a hugely experienced rider and he knows that he will still have to work hard to secure the title, with the likes of Mark Grams, Sam Smith, Mohammed Jaffar and last season’s champion Ross Runnalls all ready to pounce on any mistake. For us as the organisers, we are not too concerned with who the champion is at the end of the day so long as everyone has fun and makes it home safely”, Ben Sulayem concluded.

Elsewhere, the championship fight is also heating up in the race for the Buggy title, with an excellent entry of twelve entries in that class for this event. Ryan Trutch currently leads the championship on 58 points, following two third places and a fourth in the opening three rounds, but Emirati Ahmed Al Maqoodi, the 2014-15 Champion, is currently in second with 50 points and is favourite for the title. Championship regulations state that a competitors best four scoring results from the five rounds are counted towards the final point total, giving Al Maqoodi the advantage going into the final two rounds.

The Emirates Desert Championship is the UAE’s national baja rally championship for cars, buggies, motorcycles and quads, and is organized by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and the Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF).

The 2016-17 season is held over five rounds, with round four taking place on Friday 3rd February 2017 in the Margham region of Dubai, with the race of 84 competitors across all classes starting at 08:30 and finishing at 10:30. The fifth and final round of the championship will take place two weeks late on Friday 17th February 2017 at a yet to be disclosed location.

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.


Al Maqoodi Makes Winning Return to Emirates Desert Championship

2014-15 Emirates Desert Champion Ahmed Al Maqoodi made a winning return to the Emirates Desert Championship on Friday morning, winning the BUGGY race for the Polaris UAE Racing Team.

Emirati Al Maqoodi has only made limited appearance in the championship since winning the title two years ago due to other commitments, but was delighted with the victory.

“It feels great to be racing again, and I’m delighted with the win. It was a great result for our team, as we also secured second and fifth places too”, said Al Maqoodi.

Al Maqoodi was part of a record entry in the BUGGY category, with the ‘Side-by-Side’ buggies manufactured by the likes of Polaris, Yamaha and CanAm now being viewed by many in the sport as a great alternative to a full sized rally car.

“I see great potential in these vehicles as they are a lower cost, entry level vehicle, not to mention extremely fun to drive”, said ATCUAE President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“There are thousands of these vehicles in the UAE and many are owned by young Emiratis. We want to encourage them to come racing in the championship where they can push challenge themselves and their vehicles safe in the knowledge that they are in a well-managed and safe environment”.

Elsewhere, Georgy Gomshiashvili and co-driver Jordan Beale picked up their first race win in the AUTO category in their T1 Class Predator.

In the MOTORCYCLE race, South African rider Josh Brodalka caused a big upset by taking a debut win, with Mohammed Al Balooshi second and Aaron Mare in third place. Reigning champion Ross Runnalls crashed while leading the race, but escaped with minor injuries. Balooshi’s second place followed a third place in the opening round and means that he now leads the motorcycle championship.

Finally, QUAD rider Emirati Obaid Al Kitbe continued his good run of form since returning to the sport, picking up his first win, amazingly becoming the sixth different winner in the last seven races stretching back to the start of last season, which highlights the close and exciting competition among the quads.

The Emirates Desert Championship is a five round series organized by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and the Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF). With two rounds now completed, the championship now enters a break period, with round three scheduled for Friday 20th January 2017.

2015-16 Emirates Desert Championship Season Concludes with Prize Giving

The third season of the Emirates Desert Championship, the UAE’s National Baja Rally championship for cars, buggies, motorcycles and quads, concluded on Saturday 22nd May 2016 with a gala prize giving at the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel in Dubai.

All the season’s prize givers were in attendance with Emirati’s Khalid Al Jafla and Ahmed Al Fahim collecting the Overall Prizes for winning the AUTO and BUGGY competitions respectively, while South African Ross Runnalls collected the trophy for winning the MOTO competition following a dominant campaign. Mansoor Al Suwaidi became the third different Emirati winner of the Quad Class in three years.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Chairman of the EMSF and President of both the ATCUAE and UAEMC, was on hand to present the awards and was quick to praise the enthusiasm and commitment of all the season’s competitors.

“It’s been a great year of racing, and, most importantly, it’s been a safe year where we have been fortunate to avoid any major injuries. It is important that we continue to grow and sustain this championship, which is already the biggest series in the entire Middle East region in terms of entry,” said Ben Sulayem.

The trophies for the respective team competitions were also awarded, with the Polaris Racing Team UAE taking the honours for the AUTO/BUGGY competition, and Vendetta Racing KTM UAE winning the MOTO team competition.

The event doubled as a celebration of the efforts for the volunteer marshals who have worked tirelessly throughout the season on the Emirates Desert Challenge, culminating with the World Championship Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

“Motorsport will always be high risk, but our team of volunteers are always prepared for every situation to ensure that the events are run to a high and safe standard. This day is as much for them as it is for the competitors, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them myself for their efforts again this season”, Ben Sulayem added.

The fourth season of the Emirates Desert Championship will start in October 2016.

The Emirates Desert Championship is organised by the Emirates Motorsport Federation (EMSF), with the support of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and the UAE Motorcycle Club (UAEMC).


Round #3 Entries Open!

Round 3 of the Emirates Desert Championship will be held on Friday the 13th of November at a yet undisclosed location. The weather is cooling down, but the racing is heating up with the first 2 rounds gaining over 100 competitors this is set to be another great event.

Entries will close at 0900 on Wednesday 11th November 2015. Entries will not be accepted after that time.

The Entry Form can be accessed via this link


Live Tracking & Timing!

We are LIVE! from round #2 of the Emirates Desert Championship 2015 – 2016 season.

All spectators, friends and family are able to log into our live tracking system for timing and tracking updated every 30 seconds from any mobile device or laptop. Choose how you want to track the event by clicking on the below links.

Live Tracking via SportTraxx

Round #2 Coming Right Up!

After a very successful first round to the 2015 – 2016 Emirates Desert Championship season we are back with Round #2. Hosted at one of the popular venues Margham from last season we are set for another round of action.

The competition for first place in the 450 class will heat up this round with the return of Mohammed Al Balooshi returning from Rally Du Maroc where he cemented an excellent 6th place in the world championship.

Yet again we have broken another record with 14 quads entered including 2x desert challenge quad winner Mohammed Abu Issa from Qatar and multiple British & European Quad Cross winner Paul Holmes as well other guest riders from Saudi and Kuwait.

To access the location and other details for round #2 Click Here or navigate on the menu to round 2 under the events section.

We look forward to seeing you all there!