Ross Runnalls dominated round two of the 2015-16 Emirates Desert Championship, the UAE National Baja series in Dubai on Friday 23rd October. Repeating his runaway victory from the series opener a fortnight ago, the South African secured an early championship lead on his Liberty Kawasaki KX450F.
With Factory Red Bull KTM star, and Dubai resident, Sam Sunderland not racing after breaking his femur and collarbone while leading the Merzouga Rally in Morocco, it was down to Sunderland’s KTM UAE teammate Mohammed Al Balooshi, himself returning from the Rally Du Maroc where he secured an excellent sixth place in the FIM World Championship for Cross-Country Rallies, to provide the competition to Runnalls.
The event was staged over a 20km route in the Margham area of the Dubai desert, with the objective to complete as many laps as possible within a two-hour window. While the riders at round one had to endure high temperatures, riders at round two were greeted with high winds and dust.
Runnalls led the race from start to finish to take the win in the Overall MOTO category as well as the 450cc Class, with Al Balooshi finishing second ahead of SRG Motorsports Husqvarna rider Mark Ackerman in third.
The Masters Class for riders aged over 40 was won by the 2010 FIM World Championship for Cross-Country Rallies Production Cup winner Tim Trenker, with Husqvarna teammate, and former WRC driver, Janne Tuohino in second place, and KTM mounted Brit David McBride in third.
Among the other class winners on the day were British riders Tom Childs in the Marathon class on a Honda CRF450X, Steve Blackney in the Over 450cc Class on a KTM EXC530, and Vicky White in the Ladies Cup riding a Honda TRX700.
In the Quad Class, Emirati rider Mansoor Al Suwaidi took a maiden win in the series on his Yamaha, ahead of Qatari rider Mohammed Abu Issa, racing as part of his training for his third attempt at the Dakar Rally in January 2016. Saudi rider Abdulmajeed Al Khulaifi completed an all Yamaha, all Arab podium in third place.
Round three of the five round championship, which also features Rally Cars and SxS Buggies, is scheduled for Friday 13th November 2015.
Additional info can be found at www.emiratesdesertchampionship.ae