After kicking off the FIM World Rally-Raid Championship with the Dakar Rally last month, Saudi Arabia is hosting the first Baja of the year in Hail this weekend.
Twenty-four riders (450cc) and six quads will line up on Thursday, February 8th to tackle a seven-kilometer Prologue in the afternoon. This will determine the starting order for the first 302km special stage the next day.
The finish of the Saudi Baja takes place on Saturday, February 10th after a second shorter stage of 179km and this precedes the evening’s prize giving ceremony.
Top seed Mohammed Al-Balooshi (KTM) returns as the defending FIM Bajas World Cup champion and is putting his title on the line. The Dubai rider’s team-mates in the MX Ride Dubai line-up are his brother Sultan (Husqvarna), as well as the Kuwaiti rider Abdullah Al-Shatti (Husqvarna).
Al-Balooshi will also have to keep a close eye on the old desert foxes who ride in the Veteran category: Pedro Bianchi Prata (Honda), Andrew Houlihan (Husqvarna), Barry Howe (Husqvarna) and Othman Al-Ghefeli (Honda).
Martin Chalmers and Abdullah Abu Aisheh have both entered the event on Gas-Gas motorcycles, while Simon Marcic will ride a KTM.
In the quad category, the defending champion Kevin Giroud (Yamaha) is absent and that opens the door for his main opponents, Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Hani Al-Noumesi, on their Yamahas.
Three other Saudi riders – Abdulaziz Al-Atawi, Abdulaziz Al-Shammeri and Abdulaziz Al-Shayban – are also registered to compete on their Yamahas and Abdulrahman Abdullatif on CanAm.
The results will be published on SPORTITY APP: code SB24MOTO.