MUSCAT, MARCH 14
Faham al Kayari of Al Waal MTB – Oman claimed the men’s overall title in the Oman Enduro Championship mountain biking competition held in Muscat on Saturday. Al Kayari finished on top with a timing of 12 hours 55 minutes and 7 seconds in the 20 km World Series Qualifier.
Shabib al Balushi of Gulf Cycle – Oman came second in 13:14:02 and Jefferson Odviar of Cycleomania – Philippines finished third in 13:33:04.
A total of 39 racers were in action in the event jointly organised by the Oman Cycling Association (OCA) and Oman Trailbuilders with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
The EWS enduro world series, with races in 35 countries, is recognised as the highest level of enduro racing in the world and it is sanctioned by the UCI. EWS races are gravity based events consisting of three or more timed stages with untimed liaison stages (with time cut off). The stages predominantly are long downhills with technical and steep sections. Finishing time of each timed stage are added up to determine the winner.
PROUD OF FAHAM
The mountain bike race qualifier was a big success, said OCA General-Secretary Ishaq al Balushi.
“It was a great success in the first edition. Everything went smoothly and the competition level was very high. We tried to cover all the standards of the UCI and MTB bike races.”
“It was the best opportunity for the OCA to host the World Qualifiers and we did our best maintaining the standards for these kind of races.”
International racers were spell-bound to compete under the background of picturesque Omani mountains, Ishaq said.
The OCA official congratulated overall winner Faham al Kayari for his achievement.
“We are really happy for the Omani riders and teams. We are proud of Faham and his team Al Waal which had an excellent race. The OCA is looking to send Faham to the Nations Championship during Slovenia Enduro Open in August.”
The OCA general secretary said the Oman cycling body is now focusing on mountain bike competitions after proving success with several road races across the country.
TARA TOPS WOMEN’S RACE
In the women’s section, Tara Atkinson of United Kingdom (Oman Trail Foxes) bagged the honours with a timing of 19:05:06 and Zabrine Cornejo of Filipino MTB Explorers – Philippines came second on 22:46:01.
In the men's masters (35+) section, Matthew Kinch of Australia topped the race with 13:43:08. David Hynes of MTB – The Best Thing —United Kingdom came second at 14:35:07 followed by Mustafa al Gharbi of Al Waal MTB – Oman at 14:51:08 in third.
In the men's under-21 section, Sem Geilnkirchen (Loose Riders Oman – Netherlands) came first at 17:40:02 followed by Ammar Ali of Bahrain at 22:20:01. Ali Ameer of Bahrain did not finish the race.
Said al Mahrouqi, co-founder of Oman Trailbuilders, said it was an exciting event.
“Hosting a EWS Event in Oman will shine a global spotlight on Oman as EWS events are internationally recognised and world class events. In addition, it will allow local riders to get ranking points to be sent to the ‘Trophy of Nations’ Enduro world championship. The Enduro World Series came to the region for the first time, and racers with different nationalities had joined the event.
“Oman is ranked as a gold qualifier, the highest level of race before the 10 world stages, and has attracted entries from riders around the world, including Jordan, Australia, Netherlands and Bahrain as riders seek to gain ranking points to enter the world championship,” Al Mahrouqi said.
“We are so excited that Oman Trailbuilders in association with OCA successfully hosted an Enduro World Series (EWS) gold qualifier race. This is a big leap in attracting mountain bikers from all over the world to our trails and will promote Oman as a sport and tourism destination. Hosting a EWS Gold Qualifier will increase the number of professional riders participating in our local competitions, pushing our events and local riders to the next level, and enhancing the skills of our young riders.”
EWS races are designed to be the definitive test for the mountain biker.
“The race was held amongst the beautiful terrain of the mountains above Al Bustan.”
We have hand built the trails for all five stages (with more enhancements to come over the coming weeks). Our goal is to enhance the Sultanate’s trails and event management to be able to host a full tier 1 round of the Enduro World Series within the coming years,” Al Mahrouqi added.