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CC Former FIA Middle East rally champion heads first entries for Baja GB

BAJA GB 2007, August 17-19th, 2007
Britain's new round of the 2007 FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas

For immediate release
Thursday, July 26th, 2007

QATAR'S FORMER FIA MIDDLE EAST RALLY
CHAMPION SET TO TACKLE BAJA GB 2007

Polish and Slovakian teams claim first international entries;
Cannock's Derrick Edmondson set to debut KTM's new 530 EXC-RS;
Baja GB organisers plan special spectator viewing and access points

NEWTOWN (Wales): Qatar's Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani, the 1993 FIA Middle East rally champion, is planning to tackle next month's Baja GB, an event which will mark his competition debut in the UK.

Al-Thani is a regular competitor in European Baja-type rallies and Middle East events like the UAE Desert Challenge and Qatar Baja and looks set to tackle the third round of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas in mid-Wales between August 17th and August 19th at the wheel of either his own Nissan Pathfinder or a hired 4x4 from an Italian team.

Doha-based Al-Thani has tackled numerous desert-type events in his illustrious career, but the Baja outing with Australian co-driver George Saryan will be his first forest-type rally outing. He has already taken part in the Baja Italy and Baja Spain this season and is a regular competitor in the UAE national rally series. The Qatari finished ninth overall in Italy and 16th in Spain at the wheel of a Technosport-run Nissan Patrol.

Poland's 47-year-old Piotr Beaupre and co-driver Jacek Lisicki were the first international team to enter this year's Baja GB. The Krakow-based driver will use a Bowler Wildcat 200 on his first visit to a motorsport event in the UK. Other early international entrants are 47-year-old Jozef Sıkora and his 24-year-old co-driver Marek Sıkora. The Slovakian pair from Zlaté Moravce have entered a 4.0-litre petrol-engined Mitsubishi Pajero under the Matador Motorsport banner.

Welshman Richard Hopkins and co-driver Gary Torosyan were the second British crew to enter the international event in their T1 Land Rover Discovery. Hopkins, from Chepstow, finished fourth in the inaugural Baja GB last August and was also 29th overall in this year's Baja Italy. Meanwhile, the first entrant in the National 'A' category is Richard Corking at the wheel of a Land Rover 3M Racer.

Cannock's Derrick Edmondson and co-driver Neil Ruffle finished fifth overall in the inaugural Baja GB at the wheel of a Range Rover Desert Warrior and the Midlander returns to mid-Wales action next month riding KTM's new 530 EXC-RS in the motorcycle category. Motor cycle dealer Edmondson has taken part in the Dakar Rally on a motorcycle in the past and tackled a recent UAE Desert Challenge on four wheels.

~The bike will arrive the week before the Baja, so I won't really have time to ride it beforehand,~ said Edmondson. ~I have not ridden a bike since June last year, so the Baja will be a wake-up call. My brother Lee won the bike event last year, so I will be going to try and repeat that win. He has chosen to compete in a round of the European Junior Enduro Championship that weekend, rather than go head-to-head with his older brother!~

Chris Tomley, chairman of the organising committee of Baja GB, has just returned from visiting the Baja Spain Aragon. ~Everyone was really enthusiastic about our event and we have been staggered by the interest shown in our new round of the championship from all over Europe.~

This year's Baja GB has the full backing of the Welsh Assembly Motorsport Initiative, the Forestry Commission Wales and the Motor Sports Association (MSA).

Spectator information will be available shortly and specially prepared vantage points will be provided with easy access and car parking facilities. There will be three vantage points close to the service area in Sweet Lamb, where competitors pass twice on each stage.

Officials are also arranging a spectator point close to the Llanidloes to Machynlleth road, via Staylittle, to the north of Hafren forest. There will be three vantage points here, including the steep Dragon's Back climb. There will be further spectator access at The Arch in Myherin and two further viewing points.

All these areas will have catering and toilet facilities. Cars and bikes will be competing on alternate stages at the same time, so there should be continuous action throughout both Saturday, August 18th and Sunday, August 19th.

Foreign competitors wanting discount rates on logistics, ferries and travel should contact Abergavenny's David Higgs, Allsports Logistics, Tel: +44 (0) 1873 850 025, Fax: + 44 (0) 1873 858 513, E-mail: daihiggs@aol.com.

Officials, media and competitors wishing to reserve accommodation for Baja GB weekend should contact the Builth Wells Tourist Information Centre, Tel: + 44 (0) 1982 553307. Entry forms and regulations are available from www.BajaWales.com or Wendy Tomley (e-mail wt@BajaWales.com).

Ends

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, Baja GB Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services, NCH Building, Upper Bar, Newport, Shropshire, Tel: +44 (0)1952 825078, Fax: + 44 (0) 1952 825001, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@compuserve.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).

www.BajaWales.com

Date issued: 26/07/2007

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
Holly House, Station Road, Newport,
Shropshire TF10 7EN United Kingdom

Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7831 123153 (UK)

Email: ndppublicity@googlemail.com

Web: www.ndp-publicity.com

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