Mohammed Balooshi: What I've Learned
When you ride a bike you need to understand that there is a very unique connection between man and machine. It’s difficult to put it in words, what the feeling is really like. When you feel the wind in your face and the feel of the bike purring away...it makes me want to go out and ride right now.
I am the first Emirati to take part in the Dakar Rally. Taking part in the Dakar Rally is incredible; there’s nothing like it. They call it the toughest race in the world and it’s definitely true. I’ve done small rallies before, but those can’t compare with the Dakar.
People have always been fascinated with what I do. I’m on the road a lot and usually travel with my bikes on the back of the truck. As soon as you stop at the gas station, the bikes just attract people to them.
My first ever bike was the KTM two stroke engine. Just thinking about the smoke and the sound of the engine takes me back to that moment 20 years ago. One of the hardest parts of the [Covid-19] lockdown was not being able to take my bikes out.
I’m a very passionate person and I think it helps me achieve what I set my mind to do. I always try to go the extra mile. I work hard and, in my 21-year career, I have always made sure to tick all the boxes that I set for myself before the season starts.
I don’t believe in comparing myself to anyone else. I think we are all a unique individuals, and we all have our own unique characteristics. If you start comparing yourself to someone else then you’re not being true to who you are.
Growing up in Dubai, being a professional motocross rider was unheard of. I have always be a curious, person, and especially when told that something was too tough.
I didn’t start riding until I was 20. In general, the average age to start riding is seven, so it took me three years of intensive practice to be able to enter my first competition.
When I travel abroad and people hear that I’m from the UAE, they get so excited. They start showing me photos of when they visited Dubai, and it’s a really a nice feeling. We are such a young nation and to have this much respect and love from the world is amazing. To think that as an Emirati I have people from Europe and South America, whose countries are so much older than mine,
and have hundreds of years on us, consider us as being a part of the first world it really is a beautiful feeling.
The first time I left the country to take part in a race I was 20 years old. It was eye opening because you are very good at what you do, but only in your country. When you go abroad and you see all these people who are just as good as you or better, that’s an important marker to learn. It’s important to be humble to have a long career.
My career so far has taught me to never give up, to never quit. If you quit when things are tough, then it means you’ll never really reach your full potential. It means you had a chance to reach your goal but you chose not to achieve it. I’m here to give 100 percent. Some riders will enter just to complete the race but, for me, it’s about doing better than last time.
Coming back from injury is tough. I returned in 2018 following an accident I had. I knew I could do it all over again because I’ve done it in the past many, many times, but the thought of building your fitness up from the beginning again is not easy. Day-in and day-out, you do the same stuff and have to get good at cycling, running and weights. I was 6kg heavier and my stamina wasn’t there, so I had to take it a day at a time.
If any racer tells you they are not nervous before a race they are lying. Waiting for our start time is the hardest part but once you the countdown is on, you just have to focus and it all goes away. When I am in the race I’m not scared. I’m loving it. The bit that kills me is waiting for it to start because all you can think about is what can go wrong.
During the pandemic, I’ve tried to keep myself busy by working out. I set myself a daily target of doing 1,000 push ups, sit ups, crunches, squats, etc. and then I take two days off.
My most memorable race was the FIM Baja World Cup in 2018. I became the first Emirati to win that world cup and the pressure was on right from round one in the series. I handled the pressure to finally come on top to be the first one from the GCC to win a FIM Baja World Cup.