Dakar Rally race village gets fans in Jeddah revved up for start of the 2020 event

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Fans have been making the most of the chance to learn more about Dakar Rally, and the vehicles and drivers who are taking part. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Fans have been making the most of the chance to learn more about Dakar Rally, and the vehicles and drivers who are taking part. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Fans have been making the most of the chance to learn more about Dakar Rally, and the vehicles and drivers who are taking part. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Fans have been making the most of the chance to learn more about Dakar Rally, and the vehicles and drivers who are taking part. (AN photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 04 January 2020

Dakar Rally race village gets fans in Jeddah revved up for start of the 2020 event

  • The Dakar Village in Jeddah is open until Jan. 4 from 4 p.m. to midnight
  • The rally begins on Jan. 5 in Jeddah, and will end in Riyadh on Jan. 17

JEDDAH: As the excitement builds ahead the start of the 42nd Dakar Rally, fans have been making the most of the chance to learn more about the event and the vehicles and drivers who are taking part.
The 2020 rally marks the first time it has been staged in the Middle East. In a test of endurance as well as speed, 550 competitors from 62 countries — driving cars, motorbikes, quad bikes and trucks — will set off from Jeddah on Sunday to cover 7,500 kilometers during 12 days of racing across the Saudi desert
Before then, crowds of fans have descended on Jeddah Corniche, where the Dakar race village has been set up to provide a wide range of entertaining and educational attractions and activities to get everyone up to speed on this unique motorsport challenge.
The Dakar Museum features some of the vehicles that will be taking part, along with other displays and information about the history of the world-famous event. Nearby, there are rows of parked vehicles undergoing final checks and inspections to make sure that they are fit to race.


There is also a special children’s section, where youngsters can ride on fancy miniature vans or race remote-controlled cars in the sand. For the grown-ups, there is a stage where local DJs and musicians perform throughout the evening. For more active fans there are some fun sporting activities, including soccer challenges. And, of course, there are enough food and beverage options to help restore flagging energy levels.
The soccer competitions were hosted by former world champion freestyle footballer Sean Garnier. “It’s my first time in Saudi Arabia and I’m really surprised by the way people enjoy the show and interact,” he said.
Entrepreneur Abdul Aziz and Ibtihal, a student, who visited the village together, said they were surprised by the scale of the event and how well organized it is.
“Some of these cars I’ve never seen in my life,” said Ibtihal. “It’s a perfectly orchestrated event.”
Al-Hazmi, a long-time fan of the Dakar Rally, said: “The organization is top notch but I wish they’d let people sit in the cars and enjoy rides as part of the experience in the future.” He added that he will be cheering for Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi.
Eduardo Ballinan and his wife Wilma, who moved to the Kingdom from the Philippines 15 years ago, said they cannot believe an event such as the Dakar Rally is taking place in Saudi Arabia.
“(Vehicles) like the KTM and one of the BMW models have never been seen here in Saudi Arabia. It’s huge,” said Ballinan, who runs a motorbike club with some friends.
The Dakar Village in Jeddah is open until Jan. 4 from 4 p.m. to midnight. The rally begins on Jan. 5 in Jeddah, and will end in Riyadh on Jan. 17. In the past year, Saudi Arabia has increasingly opened its doors to international tourism and world-class sports and entertainment events, as part of efforts to diversify the nation’s economy.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”