JEDDAH: Yamaha’s official factory rider Adrien Van Beveren leads impressive entries in the motorcycle and quad categories for the forthcoming two Bajas in Hail that will run from Dec. 10-12 and Dec. 14-16.
The Frenchman is registered in the entry list that stands at 31 motorcycles and 21 quads for the FIM-sanctioned event being organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation. It gives competitors the perfect opportunity to test their navigational techniques before the Dakar Rally in January.
Rally officials will release the FIA car, truck and national category entries on Saturday.
Van Beveren is one of a talented crop of cross-country riders and has won stages on the Dakar Rally, leading the event in the past. He suffered a wrist injury last year, but is back to full fitness and finished second at the Andalucia Rally in southern Spain in October.
The Yamaha WR 450F rider will be using the back-to-back Bajas in Hail to finalize his preparations before the Japanese manufacturer goes up against the likes of KTM, Honda, Husqvarna, Sherco and Hero in the Dakar.
His main international rival could well be young rider Konrad Dabrowski at the helm of a KTM 450 Rally as part of the Duust Rally Team. The Pole is the son of former professional rider Marek Dabrowski, who spent the latter part of his career competing on FIA World Cup events on four wheels with the Overdrive Toyota team.
Saudi riders dominate both the bike and quad categories, but Ali Ashoor, Rashed Al-Hassan, Othman Al-Ghfeli and Rashid Abdullah represent the UAE in the two-wheel section, and Khalifa Al-Raeesi will tackle the event on a Honda TRX 450 ER quad. Kuwait will be represented by Mohammed Jaffar on his KTM.
Among the Saudi riders are several who have tackled the Hail International Rally in the past, including Mishal Al-Ghuneim (KTM), Sufyan Al-Omar (Honda) and Sultan Al-Masoud (Yamaha Raptor). Al-Omar and Al-Masoud finished second and third in their category behind Riyadh Al-Oraifan at the Hail International Rally in February 2020.
Baja Hail 1 will offer 592 km of competition in a route of 890 km through the Al-Nafud desert. Baja Hail 2 has a slightly shorter format, offering 479 km of competition in a route of 780 km.
Full details of coronavirus precautions and requirements for foreigners planning to attend the event are available on the website bajahail.com.
Both Hail Bajas will run under the supervision of the Hail Regional Development Authority, in co-operation with the General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage and the General Authority for Sport.