After the start of the 2023 FIM Bajas World Cup in Saudi Arabia, riders meet again this week for the Qatar International Baja, the second round of the series in Qatar being held over a route of 840km.
Fifty motorcycles and four quads are scheduled to attend administrative and technical checks at the Lusail Sports Arena, north of Doha, on Wednesday.
Mohammed Al Balooshi (KTM) was the winner of the Saudi Baja-Hail and arrives in Qatar at the head of the FIM Bajas World Cup standings with 25 points. He will, therefore, have to defend his position against Martin Chalmers (Beta), who is second in the standings, and the third-placed Junior rider Alex McInnes (Husqvarna).
We must also watch out for the Duust rider, Konrad Dabrowski (KTM), who is the defending champion and has recovered from an appendicitis operation. This deprived the Pole of a start at the Dakar Rally but then he retired from the recent Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in Abu Dhabi with back pain. Konrad is recovered and fully intends to get his revenge.
And then there is the rising rider of the Rally Raid, Paolo Lucci (KTM) who will also be at the start!
Competition in the motorcycles will be fierce between the 50 participants, who include four Juniors, 14 veterans and four women; namely Mirjam Pol (KTM) - the title holder, Joanna Modrzewska (KTM), Sarah Khuraibet (Husqvarna) and Vanessa Ruck (Honda).
In the quad category, Haitham Al-Tuwayjri (Yamaha) came first in the quads at the first Baja in Ha’il and faces competition from Abdulaziz Ahli (Yamaha), Hani Al-Noumesi (Yamaha) and Arnoud Dom (Suzuki).
The Qatar International Baja begins on Wednesday, March 15th with administrative and technical checks followed on Thursday, March 16th by a 10km Prologue.
On Friday, SS2 will run for 248km and Saturday’s SS3 will be 239km. That makes a total of 844km, consisting 498.37km of selective sections and 346.21km of Liaisons.
The race will take place on various types of desert terrain and riders will need to stay extremely focused to avoid the pitfalls but, above all, not to miss any waypoints or get lost because the navigation has the reputation of being very difficult on this event!
For official results and information, download the SPORTITY app: Code - FIMQIB23
Race Tags: #FIM #FIMCrossCountryRallies #saudibaja