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Stephen Board from the Abu Dhabi rickshaw team.
Stephen Board from the Abu Dhabi rickshaw team.

UAE team wins rickshaw race

A team from the Emirates zoomed into the top spots of a motorised rickshaw race across Sri Lanka, raising funds for some of the Asian nation's poorest people.

UAE teams zoomed into the top spots of a motorised rickshaw race across Sri Lanka that raised funds for some of the Asian nation's poorest people. The Dubai-based team of James Curtis and Jono Gosselin won the Lanka Challenge, a 10-day charity race that rewarded speed, navigation, problem-solving skills and scavenging along a 1,200-kilometre course.

The third spot was captured by Abu Dhabi's Team Beach Rotana, consisting of Nicole Shillington and Stephen Board. Several other teams from the UAE finished in the top half of the 24-team field. Funds raised will aid some of the thousands of Sri Lankans forced from their homes during the nation's long civil war. Mr Curtis said their victory was forged by teamwork and ingenuity, but a mechanical malfunction on the final section of the race nearly derailed them.

"The muffler came off with about 200m to go," he said. "It sounded sweet, like a V8, but if it was any longer than a couple of hundred metres, it might have been a different story." Among the race's challenges: tree planting, finding the hottest chilli pepper, taking the best photographs en route and even shot-putting aged elephant droppings. Funds have been used to purchase water purifying kits for displaced people, for tree planting programmes, and to buy sacks of rice for some of the communities the racers passed.

Another of the UAE teams, comprising the Dubai residents Sam Harwood and Kat Twaites, came in 10th. Ms Harwood said racing in open-sided motorised rickshaws was "just incredible". "You see the whole country," she said. jhenzell@thenational.ae

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