Dubai: Mohammad Al Baloushi will be the only Emirati at the Dakar Rally which gets under the starter’s orders on Monday.
Al Baloushi, the local and Arab champion, is a man of records and having pioneered in the Motocross and Off-Road racing in the region for over 15 years, he has more “first ever” and “only UAE national” in his CV than any other Arab rider. Adding to this record, he is once again the only Emirati competitor participating in Dakar 2019, having the honour to take the colours of the UAE flag to the remote lands of Peru, where millions are expected to follow the race during the next 10 days.
This is the second year in a row that the race will start in Peru, which will allow to have the chance of enjoying a little familiarity with the terrain in the opening stage. As always, the Dakar will have challenges and difficulties beyond imagination, and the circuit is poised to pose different obstacles for those involved.
The 41st edition of this legendary rally, ‘The Bone Breaker’ they call it, will be raced over the course of 10 stages and will no doubt be once again a platform for drama with competitors and machines pushed beyond their physical and mental limits day after day. The details on the route and dangers hidden are unknown to the contestants, which is typical of Cross Country racing where the route is secret, and only revealed to the competitors a few hours before the start of the action every day.
This will be Al Baloushi’s third Dakar Rally. In 2012 he was forced to retired with an injury after a harsh crash and then last year, he was able to finish the race in Argentina in 32nd position, becoming the best position an Emirati and Arab competitor ever achieved on two wheels, in this legendary rally.
Last year was an exceptional one for Al Baloushi; in August he clinched the FIM Bajas World Cup Title after finishing 1st in world ranking and later, in November 2018, he was awarded Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Sports Creative Award as “UAE’s best athlete of the year”.