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Al Beloushi lines up his priorities

The UAE’s latest world champion now has the Dakar in his sights for next season

Image Credit: Courtesy: Organisers
Mohammad Al Beloushi will compete in the last round of the 2018 FIM Bajas World Cup in Hungary this weekend.The Emirati champion is the leader of the rankings at present and will fight for his first world title.
Gulf News

Dubai: Now with one of his main goals accomplished, star UAE rider Mohammad Al Beloushi wants to inspire the next generation.

Al Beloushi, who turns 39 next month, entered the history books when he became the first-ever Asian and Arab rider to win the FIM Bajas World title with a superb top-five finish at last weekend’s Hungarian Baja — the third and final round of the 2018 FIM Bajas World Cup held in the ancient city of Veszprem, Hungary.

“This is the first time that the World Bajas title has left Europe, and for sure defending my crown will be among the main aims for me next season.””Tweet this

Up against a handful of challengers including the likes of the Metge brothers Michale and Adrien and Joan Pedrosa, the UAE rider needed another three points to ensure a maiden world crown in the final round in Hungary.

The final day at the Hungarian Baja on Sunday didn’t get any better with rain lashing down and changing the terrain. Added to this, Al Beloushi ran into a spate of mechanical problems including a faulty petrol pump on his KTM that kept on slipping. At the later part of the stage, the UAE rider incurred a penalty. But with the advantage accumulated earlier in the race and over the course of the season, the points were just enough for him to keep his position and emerge as the new King of Bajas.

“Over the past few years one of my aims was to be a world champion. I feel proud with what I have achieved in my career. This world title is by far the biggest one for me, personally and professionally,” Al Beloushi told Gulf News.

“Now that one of my main aims has been achieved, I want to inspire the next generation into our sport. This is the first time that the World Bajas title has left Europe, and for sure defending my crown will be among the main aims for me next season,” he added.

Al Beloushi had gone to the top of the standings following an outright win in the season-opening Dubai International Baja held in the first half of March. Last month, he followed this up with a tenth place finish at the Baja Aragon held in the Northern part of Spain and maintain his slender lead. “Sometimes I wonder why we can’t see more Arabs in our sport,” he mused.

“This part of the world has so many advantages. We have the most perfect terrain and a conducive setting that allows us enough opportunities to go all out and achieve. All we need to do is just step out of our comfort zone a little, grow mentally strong and put it in our minds that we need to make our country proud,” he added.

With one of his main dreams fulfilled, Al Beloushi’s next target is the gruelling Dakar Rally to be entirely hosted in Peru from January 6 to 17. His campaign in Cordoba earlier this season fetched him a 50th position in a field of 85 riders, and exactly 23.56 minutes adrift of eventual champion Kevin Benavides from Argentina.

“I am still hungry for racing and I think I still have a lot of fire left in me to challenge some of the best in the sport,” Al Beloushi said.

“The secret now would be to start as soon as possible with the aim of doing better than last year in the Dakar. It’s a long time on the road, and the first priority would be to get the necessary budget. I have achieved a lot, but what is to come is going to be much more interesting,” he added.

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