|Bonds and Achievements with Middle East Rallying
By looking at the title ‘Mayo and District Motorsport Club’, one would imagine that the ‘District’ takes into account the areas around the county, North Galway, West Roscommon and South Sligo, well the answer to this is not necessarily!.
In keeping with the recent club drive of new ventures, two rally drivers from the United Arab Emirates have become members of the motor club. Majed Al-Shamsi and Bader Al-Jabri, products of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority’s Junior Driver Training Programme, started rallying in 2008. The duo competed in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy International in 2009, which ran on WRC events. They finished third and sixth in the standings respectively. They continued in the series in 2010, finishing second and fourth. In 2011 they competed in theProduction World Rally Championship and secured twelfth and thirteenth place in the overall series.
In 2013 the pair returned to the Middle East Championship with Abu Dhabi Racing, both in a pair of identical Subaru N15s to contest the Group N category.
Al-Shamsi, accompanied by Kiltimagh man John Higgins, the former Irish National Champion Co-Driver, had a luckless start to the year. While leading Group N on the opening event in Qatar they suffered suspension failure on the first stage of day two that forced them to retire from the event.
|The pair then had a narrow escape at the Jordan Rally, where they slid off a cliff face into a ravine.Going into the last round in Dubai last weekend they wanted to prove to everybody that they had the ability to deliver, if luck waited on their side for once.
Al-Jabri, alongside his French Co-driver Nicolas Klinger, who after two top ten finishes earlier in the year, still mathematically had a chance of clinching the Middle East Group N title in Dubai.
It was the Emariti-Irish partnership of Al-Shamsi and Higgins that had the best start to the event and after steadily moving up the leader board on the opening day, they went into the overnight break in seventh place overall, in the lead of Group N and one place ahead of Al-Jabri and Klinger.
Day two seen Al-Shamsi build on his lead and finish the event in fifth place overall and win the Group N category by almost two minutes ahead of Al-Jabri, who finished the event in seventh. A result that seen him and Klinger secure third place in the championships.
It was a great end to the season for the team mates and proves that they have the ability to deliver results at the top level. The next few weeks will tell what 2014 brings for the new Mayo & District Motorsport Club members. They hope to be part of a seven-car Abu Dhabi Racing challenge on the 2014 Middle East Championship starting in Qatar in January, which may even see the pair contesting in higher spec Citroen DS3’s.
It was also a great finish to a first Middle East Championship season for John Higgins, the Kiltimagh man making his desert rally debut in 2013 didn’t have it easy, from the DNF in Qatar to the big accident in Jordan, Speaking recently John said “2013 was quiet different to what I was used to, as in the navigation is quiet challenging. Sometimes it was difficult to see what track you should be on – or even see a track, not to mind the obstacles you come across, from Camels last weekend, to big drops like in Jordan. The year overall was extremely challenging. I never concentrated so hard on stages before. Tough going, but overall 2013 was very enjoyable”.