Ha'Il Baja 2023: First laurels of the season for Mohammed Al-Balooshi and Haitham Al-Tuwaijri

Ha'Il Baja 2023: First laurels of the season for Mohammed Al-Balooshi and Haitham Al-Tuwaijri

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After 431km of racing, Emirati Mohammed Al-Balooshi earned himself a third victory in the motorcycle category at the Saudi Baja and duly gained the lead in the FIM Bajas World Cup.
Saudi rider Haitham Al-Tuwaijri took the top step of the podium in the quad section, Sarah Khuraibet topped the Women's category, Alex McInnes won the Juniors and Australian Andrew Houlihan finished first in the Veterans.

While Al-Balooshi (KTM) had crossed the finish line as the winner, it looked likely that his brother Sultan would be at his side on the second step of the podium after the Jordanian rider Abdullah Abu Aishah had lost more than 38 minutes. But control of the route waypoints was ruthless and many penalties were distributed, including to Sultan who, unfortunately, slipped to 10th place as a result.
It was, therefore, the Australian Martin Chalmers who took second overall ahead of the winner of the Junior category, Alex McInnes.

A triumphant Al-Balooshi said: “Yesterday, in the first stage, I rode well early on and thought I would catch up with the leading group after 80 km. But, from km16, I found myself opening the track and winning the special. So, today, I started in the lead and I'm really happy with my navigation because no one caught up with me and I won the Baja.”

Martin Chalmers (Beta), who is based in Qatar, took advantage of the penalties imposed on McInnes on Friday to claim the runner-up spot. The Briton nevertheless finished third and first Junior, ahead of Jonathan Finn, Mishal Al-Ghuneim and a disappointed Abu Aisheh.

The Jordanian said: "Today I got lost at km40. I missed a waypoint. I turned around to look for it and lost 25 minutes. I couldn't find it, so I jumped to the next waypoint and continued. This mistake cost me the victory.”

In the quad category, victory went to Haitham Al-Tuwaijri, who finished ahead of Abdulaziz Ahli and Hani Al-Noumesi.

The second round of the FIM Bajas World Cup will take place in Qatar from March 16th to 18th.

Bikes (top 15)
1. Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 Rally 5hr 43min 30sec
2. Martin Chalmers (AUS) Beta 450 6hr 05min 34sec
3. Alex McInnes (GBR) Husqvarna FE 450 6hr 12min 06sec
4. Jonathan Finn (CAN) Honda CRF 450 RL 6hr 16min 13sec
5. Mishal Al-Ghuneim (SAU) KTM 450 Rally 6hr 28min 17sec

Quads
1. Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 6hr 16min 10sec
2. Abdulaziz Ahli (ARE) Yamaha Raptor 700 6hr 17min 07sec
3. Hani Al-Noumesi (SAY) Yamaha Raptor 700 8hr 19min 41sec

Valid for:
FIM Bajas World Cup, round 1

Source FIM

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