Dubai: The UAE will have a full presence at next weekend’s opening round of the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship with defending world champions from Team Abu Dhabi and Victory Team prepared for yet another tough and demanding season.
The new season gets under way with the Grand Prix of Portugal in Portimao from May 17 to 19 and both teams from the UAE are hopeful of a winning start.
Victory Team’s Ski GP1 world champion Kevin Reiterer was in action at the first round of the UIM-ABP Aquabike European Championship held in Penafiel, Portugal last weekend where he won all three motos to open up a lead in his category.
Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Mulla has also been putting in hours of practice along the Abu Dhabi Corniche in an attempt to win a second world crown in the freestyle category.
“The first race of the new season was an indication of how far I am with the current set-up. It was important for me to be there as most of the best riders were present,” Reiterer told Gulf News from his native Austria.
“It was a good final test for me and the team to ensure that we are on point and we are where we want to be heading into the defence of my world crown,” he added.
“Winning all three motos with a really big lead has given me a great feeling inside that we can be the force we want to be in the world championship this season as well,” the 26-year-old Austrian insisted.
Also heading into the new season will be Team Abu Dhabi’s Al Mulla while defending his freestyle title. “I’ll be introducing three new tricks in the world championship,” Al Mulla related.
“I’ve been working on my backflip, the barrel role and on a double backflip. I’ve been practicing every day and also working hard in the gym. If I don’t have any problems with the ski I’m hundred per cent confident that I can win the world title again,” he added.
Dominating the Freestyle category last season, Al Mulla clinched his first world title with a brilliant display in the final round on Khalid Lagoon in Sharjah to complete his sixth Grand Prix win in-a-row.
Also representing Team Abu Dhabi in the Grand Prix of Portugal will be Rashid Al Tayer, who will be lining up again in the Runabout GP1 category and Salman Al Awadhi, who will be contesting the Ski Division GP1.
The first round of the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship — the Grand Prix of Portugal — will be held in Portimao in Portugal’s Algarve region from May 17-19.