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.


Lakers roll in Game 1 of NBA finals, top Heat 116-98

Updated 01 October 2020

Lakers roll in Game 1 of NBA finals, top Heat 116-98

  • LeBron James has become the seventh player to appear in 50 NBA Finals games

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida: LeBron James finally got an easy Game 1 in the NBA Finals.
A very easy one, at that.
Anthony Davis scored 34 points in his finals debut, James had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled past the Miami Heat 116-98 on Wednesday night.
The Heat left beaten and battered.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, Danny Green had 11 and Alex Caruso finished with 10 for the Lakers. They returned to the finals for the first time in a decade and sent a very clear message. James’ teams had been 1-8 in Game 1 of past finals, with losses in each of the last seven openers.
Not this one.
“We kind of picked it up on both ends of the floor,” Davis said.
Jimmy Butler fought through a twisted left ankle to score 23 points for Miami. The Heat lost point guard Goran Dragic at halftime to a left foot injury and saw All-Star center Bam Adebayo leave in the third quarter after apparently aggravating a left shoulder problem.
Kendrick Nunn scored 18 points for the Heat, Tyler Herro had 14 and Jae Crowder 12. Adebayo was held to eight points in 21 minutes, and Miami went with subs for a fourth-quarter burst that turned a total rout into something only slightly more palatable in terms of final margin.
Game 2 is Friday night.
The Lakers did whatever they wanted. They outrebounded Miami 54-36, led by as many as 32 points, and made 15 3-pointers — a big number for a team that doesn’t necessarily count on piling up that many points from beyond the arc. They’re 21-3 this season when making at least 14 3s.

Miami Heat's Jae Crowder, right, tries to grab the loose ball as Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard (39) rolls on the floor during the first half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals on Sept. 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The only stretch that provided hope for Miami came in the first six minutes. The Heat scored on six consecutive possessions in what became a 13-0 run to take a 23-10 lead midway through the opening period.
So, the first six minutes were fine for Miami.
Everything else was all Lakers.
The simplest way to sum up what happened over the rest of the opening half is this: Lakers 55, Heat 25. The Lakers came into Game 1 ranked 21st out of the 22 teams that spent time in the bubble from 3-point range, making only 33.6% of their tries from deep at Disney. They were the only team in the postseason to have two games shooting less than 25% on 3s.
Perhaps they were due. The Lakers went 9-for-11 on 3’s in the final 16 minutes of the first half. Of the nine Lakers who played in the first two quarters, eight tried a 3-pointer — and all eight made at least one.
They closed the first quarter on a 19-3 run. Herro banked in a 3 from a sharp angle for a 43-41 Miami lead with 7:33 left in the half, and then the Lakers took off again, this time on a 24-5 burst to go into the break with a 65-48 lead.
And if things weren’t already bad enough for Miami, the Heat determined at the half that Dragic — playing in his first finals game — couldn’t keep going in Game 1 because of a left foot injury.
The Lakers started the third on another run, this one 18-3, and the rout was officially underway.

TIP-INS
Heat: Butler turned his left ankle in the final seconds of the first half, remained in the game and started the second half. ... It was the 19th time that Miami lost a game this season after leading by double digits at some point.
Lakers: The Lakers improved to 17-15 in Game 1s of title series. ... Davis was 10 for 10 from the foul line, plus added nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

JAMES’ RECORDS
The NBA Finals record book is basically a James scrapbook of career achievements, and he raised his spot on some of those lists Wednesday. He became the seventh player to appear in 50 NBA Finals games (he could climb all the way to a tie for third on that list if this series goes seven games) and passed Michael Jordan and George Mikan for fifth in finals free throws made.


FAMILIAR SPOT
The Heat fell to 1-5 in Game 1 of title series. All three of Miami’s championships have come after dropping the opener.