BFGoodrich Dealers Go Dune Bashing in Dubai
At the end of November a group of 12 tyre dealers from throughout the country flew to Dubai to take part in the BFGoodrich Grip Challenge, a five-day event driving Mitsubishi Pajero T1s across the desert and up into the mountains of the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring Oman.
The driving was varied in the extreme, from sand dunes and desert tracks to loose, gravely mountain passes, and provided a great opportunity to learn and develop the different techniques required to safely handle these robust 4x4s over such challenging terrain.
Once the group had left the tarmac roads of Dubai, the event mechanics reduced the vehicles’ tyre pressures to give the 4x4s better grip over the soft desert sand. For many of the group this was their first experience of driving on sand, which apparently requires a similar (although not the same) approach to driving in heavy mud, and Car 26 needed three attempts to successfully negotiate the first incline!
The occasional roaming camel provided a change of scenery to a never-ending series of sand dunes, which increased in size the further into the desert the Pajeros went. After their first, thrill-packed session over the dunes, the convoy then made their way towards the mountains and the border with Oman.
Here the driving was once again markedly different, as the cars made their way through stark, mountainous terrain along infrequently driven loose gravel paths. Windy road, clouds of dust, steep inclines and sharp descents tested the cars and tyres, as well as the skill and concentration of all the drivers.
As the sun began to set, the convoy made their way to the magnificent Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort hotel, in Fujairah. The next day began with a 15-minute speedboat ride to a small rocky outcrop off the Indian Ocean coast, from where those of the group who had see legs went snorkelling among turtles, box fish, baby sharks and a multitude of other fish – species unknown.
The next session of desert driving saw the group make their way into the Emirate of Sharjah, where they ate dinner in a bivouac before camping overnight in tents pitched in the middle of the desert.
“This was an absolutely superb trip,” commented Chris Walton of Southam Tyres. “Even though driving 4x4s through mud in the UK is very different from driving on sand, I really loved the experience and couldn’t get enough of the sand dunes.”
The Grip Challenge came to an end when the group returned to Dubai, after more dune bashing, for an afternoon sightseeing including the famous “seven” star Al Burj Hotel and the Gold Soukhs.
“Having a network of well–informed and knowledgeable dealers is extremely important, as they are the people drivers turn to for advice about which tyres to fit,” commented BFGoodrich brand manager Dominic Clark. “The BFGoodrich Dubai Grip Challenge provided this important group of dealers with an unforgettable opportunity to experience for themselves the exceptional handling performance that our tyres provide on a range of different surfaces.”