Tannir, Channake triumph

The 2012-13 road racing season came to an end on Friday at the Dubai Autodrome on a day which saw the Motorcity UAE Sporbikes Championship, the NGK Racing Series and the UAE Clio Cup titles decided.

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Published: Sat 20 Apr 2013, 10:47 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:45 AM

The first title to be decided on the day went to Mahmoud Tannir who claimed his second successive Motorcity UAE Sportbikes Championship when he powered to two commanding victories on the day.

When asked to sum up his title winning day and feelings, the Duseja Moto Triumph rider said, “I feel fantastic really, it was a tough season. Last year I won it and of course it was not easy, but this year we had problems and at one stage it didn’t look good. But we stuck to it and in the end we got it and right now it seems sweeter. I have to thank my team, my family, my sponsors — everyone involved — this title is for them.

“From the outset we knew we had good pace and although we did not have to win today, it is great to give this to the team and really make everyone happy, helping forget the misfortunes we had on the way to this. Finally thanks to Dubai Autodrome for making this championship happen. I am very happy.”

It was heartache for Surya Raja who needed to beat Tannir on the day, but simply could not match the pace of the champion. In fairness Raja’s chances probably evaporated a couple of rounds earlier.

Nevertheless the young rider, who was Rookie Cup champion in 2011-2012, was the revelation of the season and did enough to establish himself as a force on the local scene. On the day in the 600 Class he was sixth in Race 1 and fifth in Race 2.

Raja said afterwards, “Of course we are disappointed. But we kind of new it was a tough call to take it back after we led the standings for so long. Credit to Mahmoud he worked really hard and rode very well. We gave it our best shot, we did a good job even from my own expectations. “I know now we have the pace to run at the top. I must be honest that I was surprised to win so early on in the season after my rookie year. I learned a lot this year. I also have had lessons on staying mentally strong and how to sustain a title campaign. All this will make that next year I come back stronger.”

Dominik von Poelnitz also signed off his season in style by scoring two victories aboard a Suzuki, and with it claim the Rookie Cup title.

He reflected, “It feels amazing to win the Rookie Cup this year after all the hard work and money spent this season. Early on in the year I was running a really good pace, but then I had a crash and injured my shoulder. Riding with this was tough and then we had a few more crashes. So this is a great reward for a tough championship.”

Behind Tannir in Race 1 of the 600 Class was Gautam Mayilvaganan in second place aboard a Yamaha and Joe Oxley finishing third on a Ducati. In Race 2 it was Yamaha rider Erikas Savickas who took second place ahead of Oxley again in third.

Abdulaziz Binladen won both the 1000 Class races aboard his Saudi Falcons Honda. Benterki Walid was second in Race 1 and Alan Boyter third, both on Kawasakis. In Race 2 Walid was again second with Steve Blackney taking third aboard a Kawasaki.

Arguably the most thrilling championship battle in UAE touring car history took place on the final day at Dubai Autodrome. With Costas Papantonis wrapping up the NGK Racing Series Class 1 title earlier in the season all eyes were on the closely contested Class 2 of the NGK Racing Series and the UAE Clio Cup. Going in to the final day there were three candidates for the Class 2 title: Alexandros Annivas in the Gulf Petrochem Renault Clio, Rupesh Channake in the Lap57 Honda and Ramzi Moutran in the Duel Racing Clio.

Channake trailed the championship points leader, going into the final day, by 44 points and was a rank outsider to take the title. However, he was aided by the fact that the two final races of the championship counted for double points and he proceeded to pull the proverbial ‘rabbit out of the hat’ by claiming both victories and the title to boot.

Visibly emotional and at a loss for words he said afterwards, “I am in total shock. I can’t believe it. We did not score in five races and here we are now with the title. It is fantastic but still sinking in.”

In the UAE Clio Cup Annivas arrived on the final day with a one-point lead over Moutran. The pair have been inseparable all season long and it was the same on the final day. In the end Moutran did enough to win the final two Clio Cup races and with it his first UAE title.

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