25 September 2023: The Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), the driving force behind some of Abu Dhabi’s biggest sporting events, has announced in partnership with the Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO) its vision for the Abu Dhabi Baja Challenge.
The all-new community championship, starting its journey on October 14th 2023, will be an exciting addition to the extensive history of motorsport in Abu Dhabi, within the Abu Dhabi Sport Council’s plans and endeavours to develop the capabilities and skills of athletes in various kinds of sports and with the support of the Emirates Motorsports Organization, the UAE National Motorsports Authority.
The fledgling four-wheel and two-wheel racing series will take place across four rounds, with Rounds 1 and 2 hitting the stage this year in October and December, followed by two rounds at the start of 2024.As promoting an active lifestyle through the Abu Dhabi 360 initiative continues to build, the Abu Dhabi Baja Challenge will sit under the umbrella of this programme. Rookies, amateurs, and keen athletes from home and away will be able to challenge themselves in the championship, with reduced fees for registration.
The Abu Dhabi Baja Challenge also aims to be a ‘feeder series’ for talent development, with prize money on offer and an opportunity to hone skills on the road to events such as the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (ADDC).
As one of the longest running rally-raid events in the world, the ADDC has delivered some of the best cross-country rallying, running as both an FIA and FIM championship.
Joining a line-up that features the ever-popular ADDC and the prominent Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Abu Dhabi Baja Challenge represents the latest project between the ADSC and the EMSO.
H.E. Aref Al Awani, Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “We are pleased to announce the opening of participation in the Baha Abu Dhabi Challenge series for the 2023-2024 season.
“It will be held in four stages to reflect the extent of our interest in developing the capabilities and skills of local drivers and refining them in preparation for participating in major international events, whether inside or outside the UAE.”
Khalid Bin Sulayem, the EMSO’s President, commented: “We are delighted to be working once again with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, but this time on an exciting new project.
“Abu Dhabi brings a lot of its own motorsport history to this developing championship, and it continues to evolve under the supervision of the ADSC and the EMSO. We look forward to seeing what the championship has in store, as the Abu Dhabi Baja Challenge looks to encourage an active and interconnected community through stimulating motorsport.”
In its new and improved form, the Abu Dhabi Baja will run in a regional format, showcasing areas of Abu Dhabi rich with fandom and motorsport industry, as well as those underrepresented, to engage communities through the excitement of off-road racing.
Thrilling racing is at the heart of this novel championship. While imitating the off-road format of its big brother, the ADDC, the Abu Dhabi Baja Challenge will take place around a lap – the winner completing the most laps within the time limit.
These laps, totalling 100-120 km for both cars and bikes, will put competitors to the test both physically and mentally across the deserts of Abu Dhabi, allowing them to practice this extreme sport in a controlled environment.
Providing emphasis on grassroots development in the region, the top three overall winners in the car and motorcycle categories will be crowned with cups and medals, in addition to financial prizes. The two overall best UAE nationals in the car and motorcycle categories will also get support to participate in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in February 2024.
In the car category, those over 18 years old will participate in the T1 + T2 + T3 + T4 categories, in addition to the SXS Turbo + SXS Non-Turbo categories. In the 450cc motorcycle category, women over 16 years old will be able to participate in their own category, alongside the junior category for 16 to 18-year-olds, the masters and marathon categories for 18 to 49-year-olds, veterans over 50 years old, and the more than 450 cc category.
To get involved in what promises to be an exciting new venture, please visit https://abudhabibajachallenge.com/ and register by Monday, 9th October to enter.