Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And They're He's Off!

Got a call from my Good Buddy Greg Prior yesterday afternoon. He had some interesting news to share, and it’s pretty danged exciting. Seems he’s off to Dubai next Tuesday on a business trip, his first to the Middle East. So, what’s exciting about Dubai, you ask? Just the nature of the biz…that’s all. (One assumes the web site will be updated in the near future for this year’s event.)

History of the DC

The United Arab Emirates, founded in 1971, comprise seven Emirates; Ajman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al Khaima, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain.

The terrain varies from the bare rock mountains of the north and east to the spectacular sand desert that runs south into Saudi Arabia and is the northern edge of the Rub al Khali - the "Empty Quarter".

The event was conceived by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, whose motorsport career goes back to the early '80's. Mohammed who has a record 14 FIA titles to his name, is the driving force behind the event is uniquely qualified in his role having very considerable experience as a competitor and an organiser together with unparalleled knowledge of the desert, local customs and protocol.

The event now spans six days, starting with the Prologue, a spectator "show" stage in Dubai which serves as a qualifying stage ie establishes the running order for the main event in the desert.

The event begins with a ceremonial Start in Abu Dhabi and heads south into the desert for the first of five hard days of stages. The desert base, the "Bivouac", is located at a new site, the Moreeb Hill, the sixty degree slipface of which is used as a hill climb in a unique and rapidly developing niche sport.

Although deep in the desert, communications are maintained for the Media thanks to the generous support and expertise of Inmarsat, whose support of the WRC is well known.

“DC” stands for Desert Challenge…and Greg, a powertrain engineer with GM Racing in Detroit, will be working with an off-road racing team from Opel, GM’s German subsidiary. Greg’s normal “beat” is NASCAR but he’s broadening his horizons, so to speak. The Dubai Desert Challenge is a sort of work-up, or prelude to the Biggie of all off-road racing…the Paris to Dakar Rally. Which Greg will also be attending this year.

I made him promise to take a lot of pictures while he’s in Dubai and to send a few to me, as well. I’ll post ‘em, if and when they arrive. This trip isn’t exactly a vacation for Greg—he’ll be working and may or may not have time to snap a few pics. But I have my fingers crossed.

Some people have rather fascinating jobs, eh? Oh…to be a fly on Greg’s wall!

FYI…I previously wrote about Greg and his involvement with the powerplant of the Cadillac STS-V here. There are links to a short video featuring Greg and a technical article on the STS-V’s supercharged 469 hp motor. If you’re interested, of course. I know there are at least a couple of gearheads that read EIP…and this should be right up your alley!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. lol..sorry Buck, I thougt I put the above comment on the Windy Day in New Mexico video....doesn't make a lot of sense here.


  3. Buck, don't you feel bad for Greg and his latest assignments ... oh poh, poh boy indeed. I started to think about the Paris/Dakar when I started to read this and, sure enough, you mentioned it further down. What a hoot that would be; to run these events, even if only once, even if you came in dead last - wow, wow, wow!

  4. If Toby ever gets sent to Dubai, I think I would have to tag along. Although going to a race in the desert sounds better than going to do accounting stuff.

  5. prob, Bud!

    Lin: Agreed. I think I'd wanna do it in a four-wheeler at my age, though. There was a time when I thought riding something like Paris-Dakar or even Baja would be the be-all, end-all of I ain't so sure!

    Lou: I'd like to go to Dubai, just on general principles. SN1 has been deployed there at least once and he loved it. It IS expensive as all get-out, though.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.