Liberty Kawasaki rider Ross Runnalls continued his 100% record in the 2015/16 Emirates Desert Championship by taking his third win in a row at round three on Friday 13th November 2015 despite being pushed hard by Mohammed Jaffar.
The event boasted a season high entry list of 96 riders across all motorcycle and quad classes, and also debuted a new route in the Al Faqa’a region along the Dubai/Abu Dhabi border. The route was a mixture of flowing valleys, fast straights and rolling jumps, which made it very popular among the riders from a motocross background.
Racing over multiple laps of a 25km route, Runnalls had to fend off the challenge of Kuwaiti rider Mohammed Jaffar, with the Red Bull sponsored rider actually leading the race up until the half way point on his KTM SXF 450.
Going into the final lap, Runnalls and Jaffar were separated by a gap of less than two seconds, but Runnalls managed to stretch that out to over twenty seconds and take the win. The UAE’s Mohammed Al Balooshi was a distant third a further four minutes back.
“That was a great race. It was enjoyable and it’s the first time we have been over here. The course was really good for all the riders of all levels. For me the day was OK, I had a few crashes, but I managed to take the win, so it was very enjoyable,” said Runnalls following the prize giving ceremony.
In the other classes, British rider Sam Smith was victorious in the Marathon Class aboard his Rebel X Yamaha, with veteran rider David McBride taking the Masters Class honours for the KTM-UAE Vendetta Racing Team. Warren Christie won the Over 450 Class while Vicki Northway was first in the Ladies Cup.
Finally, the quad class is providing some of the most interesting racing of the season so far, with three different winners from the opening three rounds. Returning to the championship for round three following injury was reigning quad champion Humaid Al Mashghouni of the UAE. In the end it was Qatar’s Mohammed Abu Issa who was victorious, followed by 2013-14 Quad Champion Mohammed Al Shamsi in second, and Al Mashghouni in third.
After three events in the space of seven weekends, the riders and officials have all now earned an extended break, with the fourth round not scheduled until February 2016. However, a non-championship race will be staged by the championship organisers on Friday 29th January 2016 over a considerably longer route, intended to replicate a single day of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the UAEs round of the FIM World Championship for Cross Country Rallies.
“We hope that this event, which will be a single loop of around 150km will prove popular with competitors who want to test themselves in anticipation of doing the Desert Challenge, as well as providing a ‘shake-down’ for competitors who have raced it many times before”, said UAE Motorcycle Club President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who founded the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in 1991.
For further details about the Emirates Desert Championship, please check out the website at www.emiratesdesertchampionship.ae
Images: Tim Ansell