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Off-road thrills get heart racing
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By Roy Kietzman » The off-road track at Bahrain International Circuit is hard to beat for the thrill of the road and to gauge the driving skills of both the pro’s and other drivers behind the wheels. It’s doubtless the single such facility in the Middle East.
The three-kilometre-long course has no fewer than 32 obstacles for drivers or passengers to experience, from rocky crawling areas and a water tunnel to scary perpendicular, 85-degree inclines to descend. The track is an adrenaline-filled action one.

“The course has something decidedly different to teach in off-road driving,” says Rodney Davies, BIC activities and events manager.

A mud pit is being added to the challenges of what’s dubbed the Arabian Driving Adventure which is “widely regarded as the most exciting motor course in the world.” That’s what the publicity says, and, having tried it, I’ll certainly endorse it.

Besides toning up the techniques for the pro’s with off-road driving, ADA aims to make ordinary drivers more aware of safety aspects and how to navigate different terrain with ease.

Some visitors may wander in to BIC to check the facilities at Sakhir, in the centre of main island Bahrain, but it’s far better to book a visit ahead of time so, as a passenger, visitors can experience off road first hand by taking a 45-minute rough-and-tumble ride (BD 10 per person). Passengers must be aged over 6 years.

But, outside of the quasi-entertainment aspect of just going along for the ride, as it were, a far more important part of the ADA programme is the driver-training role where participants get three-hour classroom instruction which includes a briefing on off road, a presentation and on-track coaching, always using a Hummer. Such a course runs BD 65.

However, corporate days are also held where drivers are trained to international standards. A key factor in all this is safety.   

“We take safety extremely seriously here at BIC,” underlined Davies, where a wrong manoeuvre by an untrained driver could be dangerous, even fatal. At least 20 drivers, in the majority Bahraini, are in the teaching faculty.

One of the instructors is a Bahraini woman who was taken to the US for advanced training with experts being wowed by her professionalism at the wheel and her command of the road.