There is something deeply exhilarating about the thought of going off-road, onto a motorbike and blazing off against the harsh desert. Few of us will get to experience it, but not Red Bull athlete Mohammed Jaffar. “My love for motorbikes runs deep, it’s in my blood.” he started us off.
Jaffar fell in love with motocross at only fourteen years of age. He started riding competitively when he turned nineteen Mohammed, winning thirteen motocross championship titles. Now, he has shifted his focus to achieving his lifelong dream of participating and competing in the International Dakar Rally.
The Dakar Rally is an off-road endurance race held annually by the Amaury Sport Organization. Initially and since the race’s inception in 1978, held from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal, the race has been moved to South America since 2009, due to security threats that forced the organization to cancel the race in 2008.
The route that competitors face, the majority of which are amateurs, is significantly more challenging than those faced in conventional races. A large portion of the rally section consist of off-road, crossdunes, mud, camel grass, and rocks, among other challenging hurdles.
Having conquered the motocross field, Mohammed Jaffar now aims to compete in this ambitious race.
“I continuously top the podium in competitions. My greatest achievements include winning a round of Emirates Desert Championship, finishing in the top ten in my first international rally race at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, as well as my thirteen motocross championship titles. Now I am shifting focus, working to participate in the Dakar Rally 2019.”
For the 2019 event, the Dakar Rally will take place solely in Peru, for the first time in history. The tenstage race starts and ends in the country’s capital, Lima. In comparison, the 2018 event consisted of three stops; with a starting point in Peru, a rest day in Bolivia, and wrapping up the race in Argentina.
Adding to the uniqueness of the 2019 race, 70% of the race stages will be on sand and dunes, as opposed to previous years, which consisted of a much smaller percentage. This is expected to challenge participants, as well as attract the top drivers in this discipline.
Preparing for the race won’t be an easy feat but Mohammed Jaffar is ready to face the brutal challenge. Jaffar told us exactly what is needed to succeed.
“A competitor’s fitness capabilities are put to the test. That is why I am including endurance training in my regiment plan to successfully participate in and complete the race. I am also getting to know the ins and outs of the race because navigation is integral to success. A small mistake in navigation can significantly prolong the time you spend on the course.
It is also important that the competitors have an adequate mechanical background. This way if they face an issue during the race, they will be able to fix it and continue. Finally, and most importantly, a competitor should have the mental strength and determination. It is an exhausting and frustrating race and perseverance plays a large role.”
He added that he will also focus his training in Kuwait and abroad, “I was in Spain this summer to improve my navigational skills on the rally bike. In addition, I will spend one month in the United Arab Emirates this month to practice desert riding. Finally, I will also participate in the Moroccan rally in October.”
Naturally, facing the challenge requires inspiration and motivation. Jaffar attributes a portion of what motivates him to his friend and fellow Red Bull athlete, Mohammed Balooshi. He also gains inspiration from Sam Sunderland, Dakar riding winner in 2017. He said, “I have watched every step of his journey very closely as he is a friend and a member of the motocross committee in Dubai. I’ve seen how much hard work he has put in and that makes me feel that I, too, can achieve my dream.” With that note in mind, we wish Mohammed the best of luck on this monumental challenge!