Kuwait’s Mohammed Jaffar Meshari, Saudi Arabia’s Haitham Al-Tuwaijri and Qatar’s Ahmed Al-Kuwari led the motorcycle, quad and SSV categories after the opening super special stage of the Qatar International Baja at Semaisma on Thursday afternoon.
The fifth round of the FIM Bajas World Cup officially got underway at the new Al-Bayt stadium in Al-Khor, before 32 bikes, four quads and four SSVs tackled the 7.68km opening stage. Logistical issues forced Jordan’s front-running rider Abdullah Abuaisheh to miss the start of the event.
Six of those 32 motorcycles were in the over-450cc category that will not score FIM Baja points. There was also a separate Qatar National Baja section for competitors running behind the FIM event.
MX Ride Dubai’s Mohammed Al-Balooshi slotted into second place in the motorcycle class behind the leading Kuwaiti and British youngster Robert Wallace was third and topped the Juniors section.
Kuwait’s Sarah Khuraibet led the FIM Women’s category, although she was beaten by both Patsy Quick and Vanessa Ruck on their over-450cc bikes. Mozambique’s Paulo Oliveira led the Veterans Trophy on his Husqvarna CRF450 RX.
Ahmed Al-Kuwari teamed up with Nasser Al-Kuwari to lead the SSV section by 21 seconds in a Yamaha YXZ 1000R. Khalid Al-Mohannadi made a late co-driver change that saw French navigator Sebastien Delaunay replaced by Chris Barwick. The Qatari held second in the category with Lebanon’s Henry Kahy in third place.
Eight competitors attended the pre-event press conference shortly before the official start ceremony got underway.
Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani, Khalid Al-Mohannadi, Abdullah Al-Khelaifi and Ahmed Al-Kuwari were joined by British rider Patsy Quick, Emirati Mohammed Al-Balooshi, Kuwait’s Sarah Khuraibet and Saudi Arabia’s quad front-runner Haitham Al-Tuwaijri.
Competitors will tackle a selective section of 249.12km through the north and central Qatar deserts on Friday. There will be four passage controls at the 124.66km, 146.87km, 161.82km and 177.72km points with a refuelling zone at PC1.
The leading five competitors from the super special stage will start stage two in reverse order from the classification. The remainder will start in their stage finishing order, while the SSVs will start in their stage finishing order.
Qatar International Baja – positions on SSS1:
Motorcycles – up to 450cc (FIM – unofficial)
- Mohammed Jaffar Meshari (KWT) KTM 450 RR 4min 48sec
- Mohammed Al-Balooshi (ARE) KTM 450 RR 5min 08sec
- Robert Wallace (GBR) KTM 450 RR 5min 09sec
- Abdullah Al-Shatti (KWT) KTM 450 5min 17sec
- Martin Chalmers (AUS) Yamaha WRF 450F 5min 23sec
- Makis Rees-Stavros (GBR) KTM 450 EXC-F 5min 33sec
- Sultan Al-Balooshi (ARE) Husqvarna FC 450 5min 35sec
- Paulo Oliviera (MOZ) Husqvarna CFR450 RX 5min 37sec
- Salman Mohamed (BHR) Husqvarna 450 FE 5min 38sec
- Richard Dors (GBR) KTM 450 RR 5min 42sec
- Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani (QAT) Honda CRF 450 Rally R5 6min 17sec
- Tariq Al-Nasr (QAT) Honda CRF 450 R 6min 33sec
- Abdulrahman Al-Sheeb (QAT) Beta 6min 36sec
- Mohammed Al-Kaabi (QAT) KTM 450 7min 09sec
- Sarah Khuraibet (KWT) Yamaha WR450 7min 15sec
- Jamal Al-Qetiti (QAT) Honda 450 8min 12sec
- Haitham Al-Tuwaijri (SAU) Yamaha YFZ 450R 5min 22sec
- Sultan Al-Masoud (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 5min 59sec
- Faisal Al-Suwayh (SAU) Yamaha 6min 01sec
- Hani Al-Noumesi (SAU) Yamaha Raptor 700 6min 36sec
- Ahmed Al-Kuwari (QAT)/Nasser Al-Kuwari (QAT) Yamaha YXZ 1000 R 5min 03sec
- Khalid Al-Mohannadi (QAT)/Chris Barwick (GBR) Polaris RZR 1000 5min 24sec
- Henry Kahy (LEB)/Musa Djiyerian (JOR) Can-Am X3 5min 37sec
- Abdullah Al-Khelaifi (QAT)/Abdulaziz Al-Jabri (QAT) Yamaha YXZ 1000 R 5min 38sec
Motorcycles – Over 450cc
- Harry Michael (GBR) Beta Racing 5min 14sec
- Brett Hunt (GBR) KTM Enduro R 5min 57sec
- Joseph Dann (GBR) KTM 500 EXC-F 5min 58sec
- Patsy Quick (GBR) Beta RR 6min 25sec
- Mohammed Al-Khater (SAU) KTM EXC 500 6min 57sec
- Hugh Mackay (GBR) KTM 500 EXC-F 9min 20sec
Qatar National Baja – positions on SSS1:
1. Emiel Stuckens (BEL) Can-Am DS450 6min 12sec