Baja Ha'il 2023: Riders from 12 nations set to tackle opening round of FIM Bajas World Cup in Saudi Arabia

Thirty-one motorcycles, five quads and competitors from 12 nations have entered this weekend’s Saudi Baja-Hail, the opening round of the 2023 FIM Bajas World Cup, in addition to four riders taking part in a national event running behind.
While two-time event winner Mohammed Al-Balooshi of the MX Ride Dubai team heads the field on his TM 450, two other former Hail winners feature on the international entry.
Al-Balooshi’s brother Sultan also represents the MX Ride Dubai team and is a two-time former winner of the longer Hail International Rally (2018 and 2019), while Saudi rider Mishal Al-Ghuneim reached the top step of the podium on a Husqvarna in 2021.
There is strength in depth across the entry, with several riders more than capable of challenging for victory, while others will be hopeful of scoring points in the FIM Womens’ and FIM Veterans’ categories.
Young Jordanian rider Abdullah Abu Aishah (KTM) has pushed Al-Balooshi close on several occasions in the past and will be hopeful of starting his FIM challenge in winning style. He finished fifth on the 2022 Saudi Baja last November, behind the triumphant Al-Balooshi, Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti (Kawasaki), Al-Ghuneim and fellow Saudi Anass Al-Reheyani. All three of those rivals will be challenging for top honours again this weekend.
FIM Junior hopeful Alex McInnes is seeded at four and the Briton is more than capable of finishing on the podium, while Qatar-based Australian was sixth last year and will be aiming for a top three finish. Other international riders likely to challenge for top honours are Kiwi Philip Wilson, Australia’s Andrew Houlihan and the British duo of Barry Howe and Brett Hunt.
The neighbouring State of Qatar will be represented by Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani (Gas-Gas), Mohammed Al-Kaabi (KTM), Mahanna Rashid Al-Naimi (Honda) and Abdulrahman Al-Sheeb (KTM). Yaghoob Azadi will ride a Rasen Racing Team Husqvarna in the national category.
Kuwait’s Sarah Khuraibet (Duust Rally Team Husqvarna) and Indian rider Sarah Kashyap (Beta) will decide the outcome of the Womens’ category.
Last year’s quad winner Haitham Al-Tuwaijri faces Saudi rivals Hani Al-Noumesi, Abdulaziz Al-Atawi and Sultan Al-Masoud and Emirati Abdulaziz Ahli to decide the honours on four wheels.
The Baja is being managed by the Saudi Motorsport Company, in conjunction with the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) and the Ministry of Sport. The event is running under the chairmanship of H.R.H. Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, the President of the SAMF and in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel (ALJ) Motors.
The weekend weather forecast is for dry, sunny conditions but cool daytime temperatures in the deserts surrounding the city of Hail. The on-stage timetable of events fires into life with a three-kilometre Qualifying Stage on Thursday (February 2nd) afternoon that takes place after the traditional ceremonial start adjacent to the Maghwat conference facility.

Valid for:

  • FIM Bajas World Cup, round 1
  • FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, round 1
  • FIA Middle East for Cross-Country Bajas, round 1
  • Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, round 1

2023 Saudi Baja-Hail – leading entries:

1. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) TM 450
2. Abdullah Abu Aishah (JOR) KTM EXC-F 450
3. Abdullah Al-Shatti (KWT) Kawasaki KC 450
4. Alex McInnes (GBR) Husqvarna FE 450
5. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) KTM 450 Rally
6. Anass Al-Rehyani (SAU) KTM 450
7. Martin Chalmers (AUS) Beta 450
8. Hamdan Al-Ali (ARE) Husqvarna FE 450
9. Abdulhalim Al-Mogheera (SAU) KTM EXC F 450
10. Sultan Al-Balooshi (ARE) TM 450
11. Yasir Al-Khuraif (SAU) KTM SFX 450
12. Ehab Al-Hakeem (LEB) Yamaha WR 450F
13. Ahmed Al-Jaber (SAU) KTM 450
14. Fawaz Al-Toaimi (SAU) Yamaha WR 450F
15. Mohammed Jaffar Meshari (KWT) KTM 450 RFR
16. Mohammed Al-Kaabi (QAT) KTM 450
17. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani (QAT) Gas-Gas 450
18. Philip Wilson (NZL) KTM 450 Rally
19. Gerard Lubbinge (NLD) KTM EXC F 450
20. Jonathan Finn (CAN) Honda CRF 450 RL
21. Barry Howe (GBR) KTM SXF 450
22. Brett Hunt (GBR) Husqvarna FE 450
23. Andrew Houlihan (AUS) Husqvarna RFR 450
24. Mahanna Rashid Al-Naimi (QAT) Honda 450
25. Sohaib Al-Barade (SAU) Honda CRF 450 X

100. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700
101. Abdulaziz Al-Atawi (SAU) Yamaha YFZ 450
102. Abdulaziz Al-Ahli (ARE) Yamaha Raptor 700
103. Sultan Al-Masoud (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700
111. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700

2023 Saudi National Baja-Hail – leading entries:
60. Bader Al-Bader (SAU) KTM EXC-500
61. Simon Francis (AUS) KTM EXC-F
62. Yaghoob Azadi (QAT) Husqvarna FE 501
63. Abdulwahab Al-Mana (SAU) KTM EXC-F


Source 2023 Saudi Baja Hail Official press release

Baja Ha'il 2023: Quality International Field Announced for 2023 Saudi Baja Hail

Defending champion Al-Rajhi and five-time Dakar winner Al-Attiyah top car list
Two-time winner Mohammed Al-Balooshi leads quality motorcycle field

A little more than two weeks since it hosted the most demanding Dakar Rally ever to be staged in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom will play host to next weekend’s Saudi Baja-Hail, the opening round of the 2023 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, FIM Bajas World Cup, the FIA Middle East Cup for Cross-Country Bajas and the Saudi Toyota National Rally Championship.
Managed by the Saudi Motorsport Company, in conjunction with the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) and the Ministry of Sport, the three-day event has attracted a star quality entry across the respective car, motorcycle and quad categories.
The event is running under the chairmanship of H.R.H. Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, the President of the SAMF.
The provisional entry includes 35 FIA cars (three T1+, four T1, eight T2 and 10 T3 and 10 T4 vehicles), 31 FIM motorcycles and five quads, 30 cars in the Saudi-Hail National Baja and four additional motorcycles running in a national category.
Topping the car field is the leading Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi in the first of three Toyota Hiluxes run by Overdrive Racing. The 2022 Saudi Baja winner lines up against the recently-crowned five-time Dakar Rally winner Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and a third Overdrive Hilux for Argentina’s Juan-Cruz Yacopini.
The Race World Team’s Yasir Seaiden also reverts to a Toyota in the T1 category where Polish veteran Krzysztof Holowczyc wheels out an X-raid Mini JCW Team Rally Plus. Local drivers Khalid Al-Feraihi and Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri round off the T1 entrants.
Nissans dominate the entry for T2 showroom production vehicles, with Ahmed Al-Shegawi, Ibrahim Al-Muhanna and Abdullah Al-Sanad running three of the eight cars.
Nine Can-Am Mavericks and a solitary G Rally Team OT3 for Dutchman Kees Koolen will contest the T3 section for lightweight prototype machines. Fernando Alvarez is the defending FIA World Cup Bajas T3 champion and last year’s T3 winner in Hail: the Spaniard leads the way against the likes of Saudi Arabia’s Dania Akeel, Mashael Al-Obaidan, Saleh Al-Saif and Hamed Al-Harbi.

Kuwait’s Meshari Al-Thefiri, Spain’s Santiago Navarro and Diego Martinez and Brazil’s Otavio Sousa round off the T3 entries.

The T4 category has a truly international feel to it with last year’s Saudi Baja T4 section-winning Brazilian Cristiano Batista leading the way against rivals from Spain, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, France and Argentina. Motor sport all-rounder Saeed Al-Mouri, Abdullah Al-Shegawi and female driver Maha Al-Hamali represent the host nation.

MX Ride Dubai’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi won the motorcycle category in 2020 and 2022 and the TM 450 rider heads a strong field on two wheels. Main rivals include 2021 Hail winner Mishal Al-Ghuneim (KTM), the young Jordanian Abdullah Abu Aishah (KTM), Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Shatti (Kawasaki) and Great Britain’s Alex McInnes (Husqvarna).
Additional riders from Australia, the UAE, Lebanon, Qatar, New Zealand, Holland, Canada and India will also take part and there are entries from female riders, Sarah Khuraibet (Husqvarna) and Sarah Kashyap (Beta).
The Saudi quartet of last year’s winner Haitham Al-Tuwaijri, Hani Al-Noumesi, Abdulaziz Al-Atawi and Sultan Al-Masoud will line-up against Emirati Abdulaziz Ahli to decide the honours in the quad category. All five riders are entered on Yamahas.
The on-stage timetable of events fires into life with a Qualifying Stage on Thursday (February 2nd) afternoon that takes place after the traditional ceremonial start.
Competitors will then tackle two demanding days of action in the neighbouring Al Nafud desert on Friday and Saturday.


Source Saudi Baja Hail official press release

Ha'il Baja 2023: The Xtremeplus Team at the Ha’il Baja with 3 crews.

The Polaris Pro R proved to be very competitive at the 2023 Dakar Rally fighting often for the top 10. It was an incredible result considered that it was the first race for the new machine built in Polaris with no time to test before the competition started in Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia.
Two weeks later the finish in Damman, the adventure continues with the first round of the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas that kicks off on February 2-4 in Ha Il, Saudi Arabia.

For this first event, the Xtremeplus team lines up three crews.

The very experienced Michele Cinotto, 2016 Dakar winner in the T3 category will team up with Dakar legend Maurizio Dominella. If we add their Dakar participations together, they can boast 38 participations. An absolutely record number!
The second crew is made by Maria Luis Henderson from Uruguay who has an impressive palmares in off road racing where he competed since 2002. He will fight for the positions that count with his navigator Juan Carlos Carignani
The third Polaris Pro R will see the young and talented Jeremy Warnia teaming up with Loic Minaudier, who has a solid background in enduro, rally raid and Dakar as motorbike racer.
“After a very demanding Dakar, in a week we will be facing a new challenge”, commented the team owner Marco Piana, “I expect a tight fight in the T4 category. I really looking forward to the race”.

About the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country
The calendar for the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas completes the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship to provide competitors with a diverse calendar on a number of different terrains. The series focuses on Europe and the Middle East, with two events in the Middle East taking place at the start and finish of the season wth – in between - four European rounds. As for the 2023 calendar, the Bajas in Saudi Arabia and Qatar get the season underway in February and March before the European rounds will take place in Italy, Spain, Poland and Portugal. The Jordan Baja has moved from February to a date in early November and the eight-round series concludes in Dubai in December.
The format of the race is articulated on four days, with two days of competition and at least 350 demanding kilometres. Titles will be awarded to Drivers, Co-drivers, Teams, T3 and T4 Drivers and T4 Teams.

Recognized for the professionalism and the quality of the preparations of the Polaris RZR for the Cross-Country Rallies, XTREMEPLUS IS THE ONLY TEAM SUPPORTED BY POLARIS USA AND POLARIS EUROPE.
Founded by Marco Piana in 2004, Xtremeplus has its workshop in Gorrevod - Municipality of Pont de Vaux - not far from Mâcon.
Instagram @Xtremeplusfrance
Facebook @xtreme+
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Qatar International Baja 2023: QMMF announces second rounds of FIA and FIM Baja Cups

  • 2023 Qatar International Baja - March 15th-18th, 2023
  • FIA World and Middle East Cups for Cross-Country Bajas, round 2
  • FIM Bajas World Cup, round 2

The 2023 Qatar International Baja will be a counting round of both the FIA World and Middle East Cups for Cross-Country Bajas and round two of the FIM Bajas World Cup. The Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF) has announced the event will take place on March 15th-18th.
The Baja will be based close to the QMMF offices at Lusail Sports Arena. The customary service park will be located nearby and the venue will also host administration checks and technical scrutineering.
The 2023 Baja will again run under the chairmanship of QMMF President Abdulrahman Al-Mannai, QMMF’s Executive Director Amro Al-Hamad and board member Abdulrazaq Al-Kuwari.

Subject to FIA and FIM approval, the event will run over two legs of 251.18km and 239.43km.

After a Prologue stage of 10.02km, which will take place around 16km north of the service park close to the Al-Bayt Stadium, on Thursday afternoon (March 16th) from 15.00hrs, FIA competitors will attend the ceremonial start from 20.00hrs.
They will then tackle two competitive sections of 120.43km and 120.73km on Friday, March 17th. FIM competitors will tackle a single selective section – the two FIA stages run in reverse order – for a total of 248.19km.
Saturday’s single selection section of 239.43km will be divided into four competitive sections of 34.44km, 29.03km, 44.15km and 125.27km by transfer zones to complete a total route of 836.14km, including liaison sections. The podium finish will take place from 19.00hrs.

Final details for the revised FIM event will be released in due course.

The Baja was a counting round of both the FIA Middle East and FIM series’ for the first time in 2022. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel won the car category for the seventh time together in a Toyota Hilux, while young Pole Konrad Dabrowski dominated the motorcycle category and Saudi Arabian rider Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi topped the quad class.
T3 and T4 success in the FIA event went to WRC star Kris Meeke and local driver Khalifa Saleh Al-Attiyah in their respective Can-Ams.

Entries are now open and close on Wednesday, March 1st.

The QMMF is offering generous concessions to competitors who pass both administration and scrutineering checks. Entrants in the FIA car, T3 and T4 categories from the GCC will be offered a shipping allowance of $3,000, with international entrants receiving $6,000. GCC motorcycle and quad riders will be eligible for $1,500 and $3,000 will be offered to international riders.
In addition, entry fees will be returned to competitors who pass technical checks and are included in the official start lists. Early bird competitors registering before Wednesday, February 15th will receive an additional 1,000 QAR.
The QMMF will also book economy class return tickets for drivers and co-drivers after entry fees have been paid and a twin hotel room with breakfast will be offered for five nights.
For further event information, competitors and teams can contact Davy Patterson, Competitor Liaison Officer (CRO), Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and WhatsApp: +44 7980 613944.
For general information about the 2023 Qatar International Baja, contact the Qatar Motor and Motor Cycle Federation (QMMF), P.O. Box 8708, Doha, Qatar, Tel: + 974 443 79885, Fax: + 974 443 79732, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and

Sportity App – passwords FIAQIB23 and FIMQIB23


Source QMMF