x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Portraits: Desert challengers

The National's Pawel Dwulit was at the finish line for Monday's stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge for motorcycle competitors to capture the determination that pushed them through more than four hours in 40 degrees-plus desert heat.

Motocross rider Mohamed Balooshi of the United Arab Emirates. Pawel Dwulit / The National
Motocross rider Mohamed Balooshi of the United Arab Emirates. Pawel Dwulit / The National

The Liwa desert offers some of the harshest terrain in the world, a perfect test of man and machine against Mother Nature and the time clock. This week's Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge hosted many of the world's best off-road endurance specialists to compete in the seven-day event; people such as Marc Coma, the KTM rider and two-time winner of the Dakar Rally; and the duo of Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret, both multiple Dakar winners, were running in a Mini Countryman rally car.

These competitors come here to win; they have factory sponsorship and a team of support mechanics in an all-out bid to finish at the top of the time sheets. But for others, the Desert Challenge is more of a personal test; with limited financial backing and support - usually from friends and family - they know it's highly unlikely they'll finish first. But that's not the point; just finishing this tough event is a glorious achievement for any competitor.

The National's Pawel Dwulit was at the finish line for Monday's stage for this portrait gallery of motorcycle competitors - professional and amateur - as they came in after more than four hours in 40 degrees-plus desert heat. In their faces, you'll see the arduous effort and the determination that pushed them beyond what most people could possibly understand.

The staff of Motoring doff our helmets and offer hearty congratulations to all of the competitors of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

For more portraits and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge coverage, visit www.thenational.ae/multimedia