ENDURO21.COM RIDER OF THE YEAR 2016

South African rider Josh Brodalka caused a big upset by taking a debut win at the second round of the Emirates Desert Championship.

With round one winner Sam Sunderland on rally duty, Brodalka took full advantage of the situation to secure the win over 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 means that he now leads the motorcycle championship.

MOTO Race winner Josh Brodalka 1200

Brodalka, traditionally more of a motocross rider than a desert rider, ran a consistent race and capitalized on other rider’s mistakes to take his first win in the series. Reigning champion Ross Runnalls had led the race initially, but crashed midway through, injuring his hand.

“On the first lap, I tried to stay behind Ross as long as I could, get some lines down and pull a gap back to third and fourth,” told Brodalka who races for the Powertec UAE Team.

“It worked out well and then unfortunately Ross crashed and I got the lead from there, so I just tried to keep it consistent and keep it on two wheels, so I’m really happy with it!. It’s the first time I’ve won in a while, so the result means a lot!”

Over 450 Class Winner Benjamin Melot 1200

The win means that Brodalka joins a small but elite group of riders to have claimed an outright win in the series, already featuring Sean Gaugain, Sam Sunderland, Mohammed Al Balooshi, Jake Shipton, Mohammed Jaffar and Ross Runnalls.

Brodalka’s victory was also notable as the first win for a Suzuki in the series, previously dominated by KTM, Husqvarna and Kawasaki. In fact, of the 85 riders entered in the second round of the championship, Brodalka and teammate Shelby Ingrilli were the only two Suzuki mounted riders.

Completing the overall podium on Friday was Mohammed Al Balooshi in second place (also taking the Veteran’s Class win) and Aaron Mare in third.

Kuwaiti Abdullah Al Shatti 1200

The other class wins came courtesy of Ludovic Caumont in Masters, Benjamin Melot in Over 450, Tom Childs in Marathon, and Dana Miskulnig in Ladies. Obaid Al Kitbe became the sixth different Quad Class winner in the last seven races stretching back to the start of last season, highlighting the close competition in the series, while The Sandy Helmets were best MOTO team on the day.

After the initial two rounds of the season, local hero Mohammed Al Balooshi leads the overall standings thanks to his two podiums so far, followed by German Mark Grams in second and Briton Sam Smith in third.

The Emirates Desert Championship is a five round series organised 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.

 

Photos:  Timothy Ansell / www.luxinflux.com