Al-Balooshi and Al-Musallam take bike and quad wins in Dubai International Baja
Mohammed Al Balooshi (KTM) overcame a disappointing opening day, raised his game on day two and took advantage of the retirement of first stage winner Aaron Mare and Mohammed Jaffar to seal victory in the Dubai International Baja, the opening round of the 2018 FIM Cross-Country Bajas World Cup.
The unfortunate South African Aaron Mare delivered a stunning first day performance, but found himself stopped with mechanical problems on the second stage, after 91km, and was forced to retire.
His misfortune gave Al-Balooshi the prospect of a victory, but the end of the second special stage of 273 km through the Al-Qudra Desert was not easy for the Emirati rider either:
Al-Balooshi said: "It was a stage of madness today. I attacked really hard and I did not lift off until I crossed the finish line. But I had the impression at the refueling that there was confusion with my teammates and I rode to the end of the special with fear in my stomach in case I did not have enough fuel to finish!"
Al-Balooshi won the second stage and took the overall victory ahead of Frenchman Benjamin Melot, who also had a stressful special: "We rode really fast today. Suddenly, I had problems with the rear brake and then the gearbox. The last 30 km, I finished stuck in third gear. I am happy to have finished and to be in good shape!"
Al-Balooshi’s younger brother Sultan rounded off the podium places. "It was very hot today and, at the beginning of the special, I fell. Luckily, I finished and in third place!"
In the quad category, the victory went to Fahad Al-Musallam for the second successive season, despite some mistakes on the track. The Kuwaiti rider finished ahead of the Emirati Khalifa Al-Rasse, who solved the problems that handicapped him yesterday. Russian rider Aleksander Maksimov was third.
Official Overall classification Bike FIM
1. Mohammed Al Balooshi 3:58.39
2. Benjamin Melot 4:01.35
3. Sultan Balooshi 4:08.42
Official Overall classification Quad FIM
1.Fahad Al Musallam 4:44:31
2.Khalifa Al Rasse 4:54:09.
3.Aleksander Maksimov 5:12:28.0