Trutch takes second place in final Buggy round & third in championship
Dubai, UAE, 21 February 2017: The fifth and final round of the Emirates Desert Championship, organised by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF), concluded on Friday (17 February) at the Al Faqa’a dune area, near the Dubai/Al Ain Road.
The sand, wind and pelting rain didn’t stop 68 competitors lining up to challenge the 25 kilometre Moto stage and the 20 kilometre Auto/Buggy course.
Amidst stormy conditions, Ryan Trutch of Dubai Autodrome drove his MXDubai Polaris XP 1000 to a Buggy Class second place finish in Round Five, which secured him third in the overall championship.
Encouraged from good results previously at this stage from Round Three, Trutch was hoping for good luck to return. A disappointing Round Four retirement from mechanical issues had dropped him down the championship leaderboard from first to third.
Ryan had his work cut out for him starting the 20 kilometere stage behind the Polaris Racing Team consisting of three buggies, two of whom had overhauled Trutch in the title race. At the start Emirati Omar Sawan pipped Trutch to the first dune and the two buggies ran bumper to bumper for two laps.
Mechanical gremlins struck, and Trutch was forced to fix a broken drive belt, costing a valuable four minutes. Once going again, he realized the buggy was no longer 4WD capable. He decided the best course of action was to push on in 2WD, rather that losing time to pit.
Sabretooth Motorsports teammates Patrick McMurren and Tom Bell passed Trutch on lap four, giving Bell the chance to take third in the Buggy Championship. With dogged determination Ryan kept pace with the Sabertooth team by avoiding the terrain that would cost him time without his 4WD in action.
Other buggies began to experience difficulties as well, as broken drive belts throughout the race meant positions on the grid were changing all of the time. On lap five Ryan decided to gamble on a quick “splash-and-dash” pit stop to try and make up a bit of time on his rivals.
At the chequered flag Trutch was surprised to have finished second in the contest. His main contender, Tom Bells, suffered a vehicle failure on the last lap, allowing Ryan to clinch third in the overall championship.
Omar Sawan, driving a Polaris RZR 1000, took top honours in the race and Patrick McMurren got on the podium for the first time this season, taking third.
Sawan’s teammate Ahmed Al Maqoodi only managed fourth on the day, but he clocked in the fastest lap with a time of 17:27.053 and he also placed well enough to safeguard a first place finish in the Buggy Championship with 93 points. Sawan settled for second on 87 points, and Ryan Trutch claimed third with 80 points.
Trutch’s MXDubai teammate Stefan Cudby could not participate in the final round but their combined points after the last race meant that they nabbed third in the Buggy Team category for the championship.
Trutch commented, “It’s been an up and down first season back in the dunes but we have both thoroughly enjoyed the competition; well done to the champions and organisers. Thank you to all those whom helped us along the way. We look forward to next season where anything could happen—we are setting our sights high!”
In other categories, Khalid Al Jafla won the Auto Class Championship with 97 points, followed by Qatari Sh. Hamad Al Thani in second on 82 points. Mark Powell of Saluki Motorsports finished second on the day, which was enough to claim third in the championship on 69 points.
The largest category, Moto, witnessed Emirati Mohammed Al Balooshi take a championship victory with 87 points total. Ross Runnalls took home second place silverware on 81 points, while Mohammed Jaffar finished in third with 78 points.
“I’m delighted for all the winners, and really impressed that they had the courage to still push themselves today in some horrendous conditions! Between today and the previous event two weeks ago, we don’t seem to have had much luck weather wise, but it all adds to the challenge”, said Mohammed Ben Sulayem, ATCUAE President and EMSF Chairman.
Picture courtesy of Tim Ansell
Editor: Aaron Meriwether