The First of the Races to be Held There
We reported a while back that the legendary Dakar Rally will move to Saudi Arabia from its South American location, which it has enjoyed for over a decade. The decision is somewhat controversial due to the country’s standing in the world right now. However, it won the bid for the race and offers a landscape well-suited to the challenge. Asphalt & Rubber recently showcased what the route will look like.
The start will be in Jeddah on the Red Sea, from there, riders will take a route north to Al Madinah and continue north but loop east and then southeast to split between Ha’il and Al Qasim. Riders will spend a rest day in Riyadh before continuing southeast and then looping back west towards Al Bahah before shooting back up and heading into Al Qiddiya for the finish.
It’s a route that should showcase the best terrain for the riders and produce quite a challenge even for the most skilled out there.
Nobody is accusing Saudi Arabia of being a poor place to hold the race due to its terrain. In fact, it’s honestly one of the smarter locations in terms of the massive sand dunes. The controversy stems from human rights issues and political issues in the region.
My only hope is that the race brings some peace, prosperity, and entertainment to the region. Motorsports have a wonderful way of bringing people of different backgrounds together. I hope the Dakar does the same in the region and provides some positive influence on a troubled area of the world.