DUBAI // Sixty-seven riders representing eight nations put in seven hours of practice yesterday ahead of the first Arab Motocross Championship, today at the DMX Motocross track in Jebel Ali.
Mohammed ben Sulayam, a vice president of the FIA, the governing body for motorsport, and the president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, said the event was an outgrowth of the overhaul of the Arab Motorcycle Federation (AMF) in August this year, a move driven by the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees to take competitive bike racing in the Middle East to the next level.
"With this new beginning, we have a solid foundation on which to build a bright new future for motor racing in the Arab world, with a calendar of events run to the international standards," he said.
"We now look forward to some exciting action at the track in Jebel Ali which has been designed to provide a stern test for many of the top riders from across the Arab world."
Riders representing Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the host nation took laps around the 1,600-metre track.
Most riders should have a feel for the course by now, but Mohammed Al Balooshi, the two-time UAE champion, said it is not easily mastered.
"The DMX track is very technical," he said.
"Running counterclockwise, riders have to make a sharp left-hand turn from the starting gates, and it will take a very skilled rider to complete the circuit in less than two minutes.
"I am really looking forward to putting in a top performance on my home turf and I hope there will be plenty of local support getting behind the UAE team."
The riders have one more practice session at 10am today, followed by two races for each of the two categories, MX1 and MX2, in the afternoon. Entry for spectators is free.
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