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Desert Champions Trophy - 2021 - Winning Team

Afternoon Fewbie Desert Drive - Shaaz and Ale Explore Bab al Mutawha to Faya Rds - Abu Dhabi - 24 Nov 2021

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Shaaz and Ale Explore Bab al Mutawha - Drive Report

"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

I used (and mostly still am) irritated by technical areas. Even though, on one hand, they are less nerve wreaking than adrenaline packed long climbs, fast ridge-riding, or steep side sloping, on the other hand they break the flow of the drive, bring along a lot of bumping around, hide pop-outs and stucks behind every dune, and seem to go on endlessly. Nonetheless, as I had promised myself after the DCT, I would need to have my "desert wolf" fur rubbed the wrong way, if I wanted to polish my arsenal of off-roading skills to as much perfection as possible. Hence this drive, in a seemingly innocent, yet extremely technical, area of Abu Dhabi: a thin string of dunes, never more than 3 or 4 cordons deep and around 15 Km long, sandwiched between Sweihan Road and Bab al Mutawah Road, just before the intersection with E75. 

From a relatively hidden entry point, through an automatic gate, driving around a camel farm, and through a small gap in a kilometers ling fence, one is thrown into a heap of tall and extremely soft dunes, at first built in steps, where each ridge hides a short drop into a pocket, then a climb onto the next ridge, and so on, until from the dunes' top the flat sabkha and farms on the other side (the ones parallel to Bab al Mutawah Rd.) become visible, and it's time to revert and snake your way back toward Sweihan Rd.. While climbing the first of these "zigurrat-like" dunes we knew we were in for a slow and challenging drive. There would be a lot of rubbing, hence a lot of polishing to go through.

It couldn't have been a more challenging location for @Shaaz Sha's first lead. We had planned to switch drives after having found the right entry, and having reached the furthest point along the corridor, Abu Dhabi's side. Having done so, Shaaz started his lead without batting an eye, undeterred by the couple of stucks we had in the first 5 minutes of the drive, and unfazed by the difficulty of the terrain. With calm and assertiveness, he led through the complex terrain, choosing routes that certainly pushed the drive to a Fewbie Plus (at times even Intermediate). 

Other members of the convoy have already testified to the difficulties that the area offered; I will only add that, contrarily to most of my drives, yet according to plan, it took us 2:50 hours to drive a little over 20 Km, at an average moving speed of 19KM/h, but with a total average speed of just below 7Km/h. Sometimes, even Long Range Desert Patrols have to crawl through enemy lines, and grit it out. 

A very resilient drive by @Santoso Marjuki, the only Fewbie in the convoy, who was forced to up his game, with only minor errors due to distraction, rather than lack of skills. Very nicely driven by all the others, in particular @Adhir Saxena, with the less powerful, yet very maneuverable car, and @Zed, facing Adhir's exact opposite situation (great power, and less agility), as well as @Looper exploring his car's new functionality, @Sunil Mathew perfecting his Intermediate skills, @Thomas Varghese, facing the churned, soft sands of the convoy's rear, and @Tbone, elegantly driving with ease as our Sweep (BTW, how's the car now?).

Thank you very much to all the Desertnauts, and hope to see you soon in another drive.



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