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30 Seconds with John Spiller

Route director of the January 12 Gulf News Fun Drive in the UAE

Image Credit: Supplied
John Spiller, route director of Gulf News Fun Drive
XPRESS

So you’re all set for the big event?

Yes, the 32nd Gulf News Fun Drive is ready to take off from Umm Al Quwain at 8am on January 12.

What is the route like?

We have developed the route of 2016 in the northern emirates by ironing out some sections that were unsuitable for large convoys and have incorporated some new sections which will add to the experience. The route presents increasing levels of demands on participants but is never extreme.

What are the main challenges your foresee?

The biggest challenge is to get people of different abilities – from those who are very experienced to those who have never driven on sand – to conduct themselves in a safe and disciplined manner. If someone gets stuck, it affects a convoy of 30-40 vehicles, so people start getting frustrated. It can be both physically and mentally challenging and one has to deal with that.

What advice do you have for the participants?

Don’t forget that the desert is a hostile terrain and can be unforgiving. So read up the instructions carefully beforehand, not after you hit a problem. Follow the route directions (Roadbook). Drive responsibly, this is not a race, it’s a fun drive. Make sure everyone has the seat belt on. Be especially careful with kids. Check the tyres and deflate them. Download the tracking app and keep it active on your smartphone. Keep a good gap between vehicles. If things get tricky, hang back and let the car in front clear the difficult part. If it gets dusty, slow down. And above all, do not litter the desert.

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