Gulf News Fun Drive
Gulf News Fun Drive Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The annual Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive is back for its 39th edition. It is the 34th year of the Fun Drive and this time we have an all new format for you.

Mark the date

The Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive Tilal Swaihan Experience, supported by Al Futtaim Motors – Toyota will be held on January 17 and 18, 2020 (Friday and Saturday).

This year, the Fun Drive will be held in the Al Ain region at Tilal Swaihan. The new Fun Drive format will be a ‘loop’. This means it will begin and end in the same location. The 2020 Fun Drive is the first time an overnighter is being held in the Al Ain region. As a result the route is new and expected to be very challenging. So get ready for some great adventure.

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Off-roaders coming down steep dunes Image Credit: Evangeline Jose/Gulf News

The Fun Drive 2020 has been designed by Route Director John Spiller and Deputy Route Director Mohamed Saeed Al Shamsi with invaluable inputs from Al Ain Municipality. The annual event sure promises to be among the best routes in the history of Fun Drives held previously. Sure enough there will be plenty challenges for participants.

According to the route directors and organisers of the event, this year’s drive will be very exciting, challenging and test of drivers skills as they will have to maneuver through dunes, gravel tracks and hilly areas.

Participants’ details and disclaimer

A list of Fun Drive participants has appeared in Gulf News on January 6. Participants who registered online were sent a mail confirming their Fun Drive number. Participants have been asked to print the disclaimer and keep it ready for handing in when they come to collect the Information Packs. Those who registered at Gulf News office in person were handed disclaimers at the registration desk and they were asked to submit them when collecting Information Packs.

Important note

Participants must submit disclaimers with original signatures of all passengers and a parent’s signature for children under 18 years of age. Emirates ID numbers for all participants must be specified on the disclaimer form. Information Packs will not be issued unless the duly completed and signed disclaimer has been handed over.

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Marshals Pradish Thomas and Anit Zhakur stand proud after rescuing four people from a SUV that was wedged in deep in the dunes at last year's Fun Drive. According to expert marshals, a common mistake that people commit is that they don’t maintain safe distance from the vehicle in front. If you keep your distance right, you can see what is happening in front. As a rule of thumb in the desert, if you stop right you start right. If you stop flat, you cannot start and go forward with ease. Always stop on an incline so you have a rolling start. Remember the sand is soft and flat and wheels move in a clock-wise rotation. As a result, you can totally dig yourself in if you don’t take care. Also, never park behind a vehicle and check your tire pressure. Check your tire pressure every hour as heat can build up inside due to the friction with the wheels. Everything else is bottled down to common sense. Image Credit: Bindu Rai/Gulf News

Information Packs which include the Fun Drive number and the manual will be available for collection as follows:

Dubai : 6th – 9th January from 9 am to 7 pm

Abu Dhabi : 6th - 7th January from 9 am to 2 pm

Al Ain : 6th – 7th January from 9 am to 11 am

Addition and cancellation of passengers

If you want to add or cancel any passengers (not the vehicles) will be accepted during the above days and in these timings. Once these dates have passed, no passenger will be added and no refund will be given for cancellation.

The information manual provides a host of information about the event and participants are requested to go through this thoroughly and follow the tips and other details given.

The Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive is supported by Al Futtaim Motors – Toyota, who are the Main Sponsor and is being held in association with Tilal Swaihan, Dept of Urban Planning & Municipalities, Al Ain and ADNEC. Checkpoint sponsors include Al Jazira Poultry Farm LLC, BLACK + DECKER, Dobinsons Spring & Suspension Trading LLC, FASTFIT, Orient Tours, Orient Travels, Shell HELIX Motor oils, Toyota and Western Digital. Support sponsors include Byrne, Coleman, Emirates Water, Fly Audio & Almani by Ahaat, Mediclinic, TORC The Offroad Company and Techxhub. Catering and food packs will be provided by Capital Hospitality. Fun Drive numbers are sponsored by Tilal Swaihan. The communication sponsor is SanDisk and tyre sponsor is BF Goodrich. Shell HELIX Motor oils is the lubricants sponsor and recovery is by IATC.

Fun Drive
This year, the Fun Drive will be held in the Al Ain region at Tilal Swaihan. The new Fun Drive format will be a ‘loop’. This means it will begin and end in the same location. The 2020 Fun Drive is the first time an overnighter is being held in the Al Ain region. As a result the route is new and expected to be very challenging. So get ready for some great adventure. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

History

The first Fun Drive was a Day Drive held on March 28 1986 with just 75 vehicles. So far we have done seven Day Drives, 27 Overnighters, 1 Abu Dhabi Day Drive and 3 Friday Fun Drives. This year, again, we have over 750 4WDs participating.

For the record, 2020 Fun Drive will be the 34th year of the Fun Drive. We have run two events in certain years, hence this year’s Fun Drive will be the 39th.