First-Ever Badawi Trail 2023 Desert Rally Finishes In Dubai: Jorge Perez & Jose Maria Take Inaugural Win

The Badawi Trail to the Last Oasis Rally concluded its epic journey in the Emirate of Dubai, covering a staggering 7500km over 17 days. The rally began on 10 October 2023 from Aqaba, Jordan covering four countries. A total of 45 teams participated in the event and 43 made it across the finish line in Dubai with their classic cars intact.

Jorge Perez Companc and Jose Maria Volta from Argentina won, even though their Chevrolet Master Coupe had some gearbox issues. The rally had tough weather, with temperatures going over 45 degrees and they even had to deal with sand, rocks, and thunderstorms. Despite all that, they reached the Dubai finish line on October 26.

Tommy Dreelan and George Barrack secured second place in their 1938 Chevrolet Fangio Coupe, closely followed by Tommy’s brother Mike Dreelan and navigator Bob Pybus in their Lagonda LG45 Touring, overcoming significant gearbox challenges.

The HERO-ERA 1, a new Prodrive-built 1967 Mustang Fastback, had an impressive debut, finishing 10th overall and 2nd in its class. Swiss duo Xavier and Lucas de Sarrau even outpaced some Porsche 911s, ending on a high note.

Bill Cleyndert received the ‘Spirit of the Rally Award’ for driving his 1925 Bentley to 12th place overall. Despite his navigator Emily Anderson leaving early due to an injury, Cleyndert made it to the finish line.

Nigel Keen and Bruce Norris were honoured with the ‘Against the Odds’ Award for turning their unlikely 1968 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow convertible into a rally car, avoiding its sale and aiming for a Viking funeral.

This rally was a big test for those getting ready for next year’s Peking to Paris Motor Challenge. HERO-ERA Chairman Tomas de Vargas Machuca and Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club, made history by becoming the first crew of a Pioneer Class LaFrance to cross Arabia in their 1914 American LaFrance, overcoming many challenges.

The event was a groundbreaking rally, exploring countries not often visited by such events, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Success came from excellent cooperation with local organizations and the support of the countries involved.

HERO-ERA Chairman, Tomas de Vargas, said, “What a journey, what a great event. We are the first to have travelled the length and breadth of the Arabian Peninsula in a Pioneer Class LaFrance and it was an amazing experience – despite the car being temperamental at times! The team has done a super job putting this together, with the complexity of laying on this event format in the Arabian Peninsula for the first time. We have met the kindest people along the way, from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman. What really made the rally though was a fantastic group of participants, all of whom have been problem solvers rather than problem makers, proving that driving the impossible lives for another day.”

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