Mohammed Al Balooshi displayed remarkable grit and determination in finishing third overall at the Pharaons Rally in Egypt, the podium place achieved after the Emirati was forced to push his stricken bike for five kilometres following terminal electrical failure.
“I was desperate and could not resign myself to end the rally like this, so I started pushing the bike towards the passage control (PC) where my team awaited and regulations allow assistance,” revealed Al Balooshi.
The Emirati’s day began well considering he was three minutes 04 seconds behind eventual champion Jakub Piatek of Poland going into the final 339km of the event.
The possibility of overhauling the deficit was very much alive after Al Balooshi began reeling in the riders ahead of him, until disaster struck some 150km into the test.
— yahsat (@yahsatofficial) May 16, 2015
The Emirati further revealed: “The bike started having electrical problems and stopped a couple of times for no apparent reason.
“And then when it did stop again, the bike would just not start. I tried everything but nothing worked.”
But the Emirati was in no mood to give up just yet, despite the knowledge that nothing short of a Herculean effort would be required to just finish the rally, which he led for the first three days with a trio of stage wins.
Al Balooshi’s fitness too came under the microscope considering his bike, a 2014 KTM 450 Rally Replica, roughly weighs 210kg.
Add to this the intense summer heat in the middle of the Egyptian desert and the boiler suit-like racing outfit, Al Balooshi was certainly pushing himself over the limit in trying to get the bike to passage control and service.
“I pushed like there is no tomorrow,” Al Balooshi said.
The Emirati did get to the PC though and eventually finished the stage in eighth, but his exploits on the opening three days meant the Emirati sealed third overall – a first for any UAE rider in a FIM event.
Apart from finishing on the podium, Al Balooshi is now also classified third overall in the 2015 FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship.
Spain’s Marc Coma currently leads the standings with Poland’s Piatek moving up to second overall following his win in Egypt.
— Espíritu Dakar (@EspirituDakar) May 16, 2015
“This rally has been an amazing experience and this podium will be in my heart forever. I am a proud and happy Emirati,” Balooshi said.
Winner Piatek said: “Its amazing, I just can’t believe it!.
“This is my first Pharaons, and also the others are faster than me, but… I could fight here and I could beat them.
“Maybe because I did only one mistake and the others did more.”
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