Motorcycle team gathers strength in preparation for FIM challenge

UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge
2003 FIA and FIM World Cups, final round

For immediate release
Thursday, October 9th, 2003


International amateur riders bolster entry

DUBAI (UAE): The organising team of this month's UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge responsible for the FIM motorcycle category is set to be the strongest in the nine years since bikes were first admitted into the five-day event across the sands of the UAE.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the chairman of the organising committee, first reached an agreement with the FIM - the sport's governing body - in 1995 and the Middle East's premier motorsport event has been the final round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Cup for several years.

This year officials responsible for the motorcycle category have undergone extensive training and an FIM licensing seminar was held for event organisers. The two-day seminar was hosted by Alan King last month in Dubai and six event officials attended the course.

They were the Clerk of the Course of the Bikes' category Marc Ducrocq, event Competition Liaison Officer (CLO) Fiona Mulcahy, Race Director John Spiller, Sporting Steward David MacDowell, Neville Darukhanawalla and FMN Steward Phiroze Jhareri.

All six candidates passed the seminar to enter the Motorcycle Club and will use that valuable knowledge to make further improvements to the motorcycle category in this year's UAE Desert Challenge, which gets underway with a Prologue stage in Dubai on Monday, October 20th.

~It is our intention to ensure that all organising members of the motorcycle club are qualified FIM officials,~ said Mohammed Ben Sulayem. ~It was a valuable exercise and one which will further strengthen our organising team.

~The seminar tackled various important aspects of running an international FIM event, namely the safety plan, aspects of insurance, the supplementary regulations and the general itinerary of this year's UAE Desert Challenge.~

Officials will now put the finishing touches to the road book and reams of important literature associated with the smooth running of the final round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Cup, in preparartion for the arrival of a host of professional and amateur riders.

~The beauty of the Desert Challenge is that you don't have to be the world's greatest rider to take part,~ said Ben Sulayem. ~The route has been chosen so that it is difficult for the top teams, but also possible for the amateur riders to complete.~

With entries now closed for this year's event, riders will represent countries from all corners of the world. Teams will be present from Japan, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, South Africa and the United States.

~We have an impressive number of amateur teams,~ added Ben Sulayem. ~There is a strong presence from Japan. We even have some riders from Lebanon and Syria this year and they will compete alongside a four-bike squad from the Tunisian Police Team.~

These privateers will line-up alongside the pre-event favourites - French defending champion Cyril Despres and the Italian veteran Fabrizio Meoni on a pair of factory KTMs.

This year's UAE Desert Challenge is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence.


For further information about this year's event, contact the Marlboro UAE Desert Challenge office, PO Box 1714, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: + 971 4 2669922 Fax: + 971 4 2666996 or E-mail: rallyuae@emirates.net.ae

For further media information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, UAE Marlboro Desert Challenge press officer, Tel: + (9714) 2669922, Fax: + (9714) 2666996, Tel: + 44 7831 123153
E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com

Date issued: 09/10/2003

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