Back on track

Back on track

The UAE Sportbike Championship rookies gear up for the new season



By David Light

Published: Fri 7 Oct 2011, 9:38 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:09 AM

With the summer firmly behind us, all sorts of events are beginning to make themselves known. Whether it’s concerts, exercise classes or even exhibitions, the whole country’s social scene will soon be moving outdoors for the duration.

This is of course brilliant news for sports fans and especially for the petrolheads amongst us. Those long hot months see any physical excursion outdoors shut down completely. Come October, everyone is chomping at the bit to see some live entertainment and, thankfully, that time is now upon us.

No sport illustrates the need for cooler climes more than motorcycle racing. Not only are the crowds unable to sit in the grandstands at midday, but also spare a thought for the bikers, wrapped in leather, sat upon incredibly powerful machines whose mechanical components can reach scalding temperatures. It’s a recipe for heatstroke, which is why the 2011/2012 racing season gets underway today and not a moment before.

One of the standout features of the new UAE Sportbike Championship is the debut of several rookies in the country’s premier two-wheel class. Recently, five of them did manage to brave the late summer heat to take to the track for a testing run and a public preview of what to expect during a media and test day at the Dubai Autodrome.

After the morning’s formalities on the media day — which included a press conference featuring Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE and vice president of the FIA) with Ali Fardan Al Fardan, the Dubai Autodrome chairman — it was on to the track action for the competitors preparing for the opening race day of the season, which takes place this afternoon on the Club Circuit configuration at the Autodrome.

Out in force were five of the UAE Sportbikes rookies including John Arnup (Suzuki), Ian Wilcock (Honda), Surya Raja (Yamaha), Ericas Savickas (Yamaha) and Richard Drake (Honda).

For the first time this season, the DAMC have introduced the Rookie Cup — a championship within the UAE Sportbikes Championship — catering specifically to novice competitors, which has been the catalyst to lure riders into the series. Most are experienced Dubai Autodrome track day riders, but at today’s inaugural race of the season they become the real deal when they come under starters orders for their debut.

A tight battle is expected between the rookies at each race meeting, which should in turn deliver an intriguing battle for top honours among the ‘freshmen’. Ben Sulayem said, “It’s not just about the international races we have here, it’s also about the local races and that’s what makes motorsports in a country or a region. We can definitely see a growth in the sport.”

DAMC manager Richard Birch commented, “It is great to see new faces on the UAE Sportbike grid. Especially pleasing is the fact that they have made their way into national racing by way of the Dubai Autodrome motorcycle track days. We welcome them to the big league, wishing them a successful and enjoyable season.”

david@khaleejtimes.com

· Race dates for the UAE Sportbike Championship at the Dubai Autodrome are:

· October 7

· November 4-5

· November 25

· February 10

· March 2-3

· April 13


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