It was a dramatic event, indeed, at the Qatar International Baja. In what turned out to be a battle of navigation and strategy. Qatari quad rider, Adel Hussein Abdullah (KTM 525 XC ATV), took top honors in the Bike/Quad Class with Mohamed Balooshi (KTM 530 EXC Rally) finishing a strong third with only 14 second between him and second place.
Organized by the Qatar Motor & Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) as a candidate for inclusion in the 2012 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, the Qatar International Baja lived up to its reputation of difficult navigation, demanding the utmost concentration from participants as they ride through off-road routes in the remotest areas of Qatar.
Adel Abdullah, overall winner in the motorcycle.quad class, just bought his KTM 525 XC ATV a few days before the baja. KTM-UAE set up the quad and prepared it for the competition. Riding consistently and his navigational ability kept him from getting penalized with time penalties like the other riders. Sticking to the prescribed routes and maintaining his pace, Adel was able to surpass the field. His performance at the Qatar International Baja and bullet-proof performance from his KTM 525 XC ATV is proof positive that the KTM motto– Ready To Race– are more than just words– It’s a fact!
Time penalties were handed out to most of the field as riders and drivers alike, made navigational errors throughout the event. Balooshi, riding his KTM 530 EXC (rally prepared) mastered the navigation the best but fell victim to not finding PC7 together with Sam Sunderland and thus lost his chance at winning the event. Mohamed Balooshi led the race from Sam Sunderland after the 136 km. mark, only for Sunderland to regain the lead at the refueling point at the 246 km. point. Both riders crossed the finish line after each other but shared the same fate of missing PC7. Despite that, Mohamed still managed to claim third place overall ahead of Sunderland and 1st in the Open Class, which was a great result given the challenges he faced. And since this was only his second rally, Mohamed is clearly showing great potential of a true up and coming champion.
Another notable KTM rider was Tonya Colson. Aboard her KTM 450 EXC (rally prepared), in her first international event, the lady rider rode very well. She, too, suffered from navigational difficulties and was handed time penalties. But despite the setback, Colson rode an excellent Baja and she will be back for more.
KTM-UAE and KTM Qatar Al Fardan supported KTM riders with rally service and assistance. Mohamed Balooshi and the KTM-UAE Racing Team is supported by Red Bull, Geodis Wilson, Volkswagen, Al Shafar Group and Fibra Foil.
Positions after SSS3 – Bikes/Quads:
1. Adel Hussein Abdullah (QAT) KTM XC 525 (Quad) 6h 21m 16.3s;
2. Justin Taylor (AUS) Honda CRF 450X (450) 6h 25m 49.2s;
3. Mohamed Balooshi (UAE) KTM 530 EXC (Open) 6h 26m 03.0s;
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR) Honda CRF 450X (450) 6h 52m 23.9s;
5. Nasser Hassan al-Rabaan (QAT) KTM 525 (Open) 7h 45m 44.5s;
6. Rico Langer (GER) KTM 690 (Open) 9h 02m 41.1s
Photos by: Giusy Concina, Tim Trenker and John Colson