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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

Baja GB: Qatar´s former FIA Middle East Rally Chamion set to tackle Baja.

Qatar's Sheikh Hamed Bin Eid Al-Thani, the 1993 FIA Middle East rally champion, is planning to tackle next month's Baja GB, an event which will mark his competition debut in the UK. Al-Thani is a regular competitor in European Baja-type rallies and Middle East events like the UAE Desert Challenge and Qatar Baja and looks set to tackle the third round of the FIA International Cup for Cross-Country Bajas in mid-Wales between August 17th and August 19th at the wheel of either his own Nissan Pathfinder or a hired 4x4 from an Italian team.

Doha-based Al-Thani has tackled numerous desert-type events in his illustrious career, but the Baja outing with Australian co-driver George Sayrak will be his first forest-type rally outing. He has already taken part in the Baja Italy and Baja Spain this season and is a regular competitor in the UAE national rally series. The Qatari finished ninth overall in Italy and 16th in Spain at the wheel of a Technosport-run Nissan Patrol.

Poland's 47-year-old Piotr Beaupre and co-driver Jacek Lisicki were the first international team to enter this year's Baja GB. The Krakow-based driver will use a Bowler Wildcat 200 on his first visit to a motorsport event in the UK. Other early international entrants are 47-year-old Jozef Sýkora and his 24-year-old co-driver Mazek Sýkora. The Slovakian pair from Zlaté Moravce have entered a 4.0-litre petrol-engined Mitsubishi Pajero under the Matador Motorsport banner.

Welshman Richard Hopkins and co-driver Gary Torosyan were the second British crew to enter the international event in their T1 Land Rover Discovery. Hopkins, from Chepstow, finished fourth in the inaugural Baja GB last August and was also 29th overall in this year's Baja Italy. Meanwhile, the first entrant in the National 'A' category is Richard Corking at the wheel of a Land Rover 3M Racer.

Cannock's Derrick Edmondson and co-driver Neil Ruffle finished fifth overall in the inaugural Baja GB at the wheel of a Range Rover Desert Warrior and the Midlander returns to mid-Wales action next month riding KTM's new 530 EXC-RS in the motorcycle category. Motor cycle dealer Edmondson has taken part in the Dakar Rally on a motorcycle in the past and tackled a recent UAE Desert Challenge on four wheels.

"The bike will arrive the week before the Baja, so I won't really have time to ride it beforehand," said Edmondson. "I have not ridden a bike since June last year, so the Baja will be a wake-up call. My brother Lee won the bike event last year, so I will be going to try and repeat that win. He has chosen to compete in a round of the European Junior Enduro Championship that weekend, rather than go head-to-head with his older brother!"

Chris Tomley, chairman of the organising committee of Baja GB, has just returned from visiting the Baja Spain Aragon. "Everyone was really enthusiastic about our event and we have been staggered by the interest shown in our new round of the championship from all over Europe." This year's Baja GB has the full backing of the Welsh Assembly Motorsport Initiative, the Forestry Commission Wales and the Motor Sports Association (MSA).

Spectator information will be available shortly and specially prepared vantage points will be provided with easy access and car parking
facilities. There will be three vantage points close to the service area in Sweet Lamb, where competitors pass twice on each stage. Officials are also arranging a spectator point close to the Llanidloes to Machynlleth road, via Staylittle, to the north of Hafren forest. There will be three vantage points here, including the steep Dragon's Back climb. There will be further spectator access at The Arch in Myherin and two further viewing points.

All these areas will have catering and toilet facilities. Cars and bikes will be competing on alternate stages at the same time, so there should be continuous action throughout both Saturday, August 18th and Sunday, August 19th.

2007/07/26 | 17:23 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Neil Perkins

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