Red Bull’s Balooshi helps Foxhill break new ground

Saturday, 3 May 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Riders at Sri Lanka’s premier motocross extravaganza, the Foxhill Super Cross, embellished their usual high octane antics with a fresh dimension of invention and class, as they were encouraged to new heights by an internationally-aligned upgrade to the course, fuelled by the vast experience of champion Red Bull champion motocross rider Mohammed Balooshi. The Dubai-based motocross veteran consulted with the project’s engineers and designers in the lead-up to the main event, contributing immensely to a finished product at Diyatalawa, which closely resembled some of the world’s top racetracks. “The new track features more rhythm sections (a combination of successive jumps) and is wider now by about three to four metres to allow for more in-race competition and overtaking. Overall, it’s more technical with a variety of obstacles and jumps, and very challenging,” Balooshi, a Dakar Rally rider who counts the Arab Motocross Championship among his laundry list of accolades, revealed. After testing the track ahead of race day, the country’s most celebrated and battle-tested riders, Gayan Sandaruwan, was full of praise for the course facelift saying the new changes actively engaged each rider’s creativity and technique while simultaneously enriching their riding experience. He asserted that the revamped track would ultimately uplift the standards of local riders and position them strongly at foreign competitions. Alongside the course rebuild, Balooshi also drew upon the varied lessons from his long and storied race career to inform riders and engineers about the latest trends across the motocross world, during a lively series of workshops. Upon their completion, Balooshi and the Red Bull team shortlisted five of the most promising riders from those assembled to compete for a place at the MX Academy in the UAE and be trained by him for a week. The Sri Lanka Auto-Sport Drivers Association (SLADA), which gave the green light to Red Bull’s proposed track upgrade in February, setting in motion two months of careful planning and preparation, were extremely pleased with the final outcome of the entire initiative. “When Red Bull and Balooshi brought forward the proposal, we were eager to see what they could do to benefit the track. From there on, it’s been two months of planning and about ten days of building together with the Sri Lankan Army,” SLADA President Yoga Perera said. “The new track is definitely more exciting and we have received a lot of good feedback from the riders who commend the new changes as being challenging and allowing for more competitive racing. The international prospects for Sri Lankan riding and racing have definitely started getting better.” Balooshi was similarly buoyant about the prospects of the sport in Sri Lanka now that it had an international standard track to complement its deep wellspring of talent. “It’s important to have a challenging track on your home ground with varying technical sections, that way riders are exposed to more scenarios and able to cope better regardless of where they are riding. “I’m pleased with all the riders here. They’ve all been open and very eager to learn. The changes to the riding track definitely took them out of their comfort zones but they’ve all put in the time and effort to understand the different challenges. It is encouraging to see their dedication and ability to adapt quickly; all very positive for local racing here.”