After a 14 year sabbatical from off-road racing, Dubai Autodrome’s Ryan Trutch took back to the dirt for the first round of the Emirates Desert Championship (EDC) on 14 October 2016. His last off-road competition was the 2002 Dubai Desert Challenge, where he had finished first in the Nation Class. After some many years away he showed last weekend that he had not lost the skills to compete on the desert sands of the UAE, finishing third overall against nine other vehicles in the Buggy Class.
Organised by the Automobile & Touring Club of the UAE (ATCUAE) and Emirates Motor Sport Federation (EMSF) the event was held in Al Lisail, just a few kilometers from the Rugby Sevens grounds. The two hour event attracted 80 motocross riders, ten buggies and a handful of rally cars. The bikes competed on a course 25km long whereas the four wheel vehicles competed on a separate 20km course.
Ryan launched into his initial sighting lap at a swift pace, getting a lap time of 18 minutes and 22 seconds, which was one minute and 35 second quicker than his closet rival Mark Powel. Mark would later go on to finish first overall in the event and set his fastest lap of the day at just over three tenths quicker than Ryan’s initial lap.
On lap two Ryan had caught up and passed Mark, momentarily taking the lead of the race, but unfortunately it was short lived; a troublesome sand dune would soon change his fortunes. He traversed the dune successfully but the rebound from his suspension during landing caused the buggy to nose dive, twist in the air and resulted in a violent roll.
Ryan was lucky to get out of his rig unhurt but it then took him over 15 minutes to get the buggy back on all four wheels and get racing again; now he had fallen way down the field.
He had regained his composure and was back to business, only to find that the rollover had disabled his power steering and brakes. Despite the severe handicap he decided to try to limp the car to the finish line regardless, which meant surviving another three and half laps of the 20km circuit. His race pace dropped to an average of 22 minutes per lap but he soon discovered that other buggies had also experienced similar problems and he was now passing them. He found himself climbing back up the finishing order and into a podium position.
Ryan said afterwards, “I really enjoyed getting back in the driver’s seat after so many years and was really surprised to get third on the podium; I can’t wait for the next event.”
“Thank you to all those who have helped get me back into motorsports: HCR Racing, Alba Racing for parts supply, Saluki Motorsports for building me a strong buggy, SRG Motorsport and MXDubai for the support on the day.” he added.
The next EDC event will be held on the 11 November 2016.
Pictures courtesy of CK Designs