Not for the first time, the skies will be the centre of attention at the Abu Dhabi Corniche this weekend as the capital hosts the opening race of the Red Bull Air Race Championship.
A total of 14 Master Class and nine Challenger pilots begin their quest for glory as the emirate once again experiences the high speed and low altitude action on Friday and Saturday.
But the races are just a fraction of what the spectators can look forward to, with plenty of on-ground entertainment in the free admission Red Bull Air Race Zone Activation.
Situated near Marina Mall, the Zone is open from 16:00 to 23:00 from Thursday to Saturday with skateboarding and BMX shows just some of the activities on the agenda.
Among the athletes on show will be Viki Gomez. The Spaniard has wowed the fans with his mindblowing BMX Flatland tricks and the three-time world champion insists Abu Dhabi will not be left disappointed.
“The Red Bull Air Race Activation Zone is fantastic as it gathers everyone together from the world of Red Bull,” he said. “It is certainly a must to visit the Zone as it’s a great chance to meet people like me in person and take a selfie.
“I’m certainly looking forward to this and I will try my best to make the best tricks and show why I have won the world title.”
Another man who will take to the stage is Petr Kraus. For more than a decade the three-time world champion has been showcasing his trial biking skills at exhibitions and he can’t wait to perform in the UAE.
“I’ll perform most of my skills and I’m sure it will be fun to ride and perform at the Red Bull Air Race Zone Activation,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to this event and it’s a great place to see different adrenaline sports.”
The season opener will have special significance given it’s the 75th race since the competition launch in 2003. At speeds of 370kph with forces up to 10G, competition will certainly be fierce with Matthias Dolderer the man to beat, having clinched last season’s title.
Hospitality tickets are now available and with previous editions being hugely popular, this year’s two-day spectacle is going to be no different.
“The teams have been arriving with exceptional focus and determination, and the pilots are eager to add their names to the 10-year legacy here by winning this 75th World Championship race,” said Erich Wolf, general manager of the Red Bull Air Race.
“Abu Dhabi is closely associated with the best in motorsport, so you can be sure that the racing will set a high standard for the season.”
With the school half-term soon approaching, It’s Just Football (IJF) has the perfect solution to keep children active during the break with their spring camp.
Running from February 12-16 at the Football Center, Dubai, it’s open to youths of all abilities whether you’re new to the game or just want to enhance your skills.
IJF and the Football Center are no strangers to hosting camps with their summer and winter editions proving to be a big hit. Although there are more than two weeks to go until the first of 2017, numbers already look encouraging.
“We have had a lot of interest already and it looks like it’s going to be another popular camp for us,” said Kane Cowburn, head coach and director of camps. “Over the last couple of years, we have built a reputation for our camps which have all been held during the school holidays. Every time we seem to get more new faces and we expect this to be no different.”
In previous years the camps focused on playing styles of particular footballers or clubs but IJF will bring in some changes.
“We are doing something a little different to what we had done before,” said Cowburn. “Usually we had a theme that was always based around players or teams but we have changed it. We will focus on how countries play so one day the children will learn how to play like England, and another day will be like Spain on keeping the ball. Every day will be focused on a different nation. It will be more exciting and interesting for the players.”
The camp is split into two sessions – morning (09:00 to 12:00) and afternoons (13:00 to 16:00) with both half-day and full day options available.
Parents can choose how many days they want their children to attend with prices ranging from Dh150 to Dh1000.
With prize giveaways, matches and exciting training classes, Cowburn insists there’s plenty of positives for the youths. “The kids will really enjoy themselves as it’s in a fun and safe environment,” he said.
“The coaches are fully qualified and it will not just keep the kids active throughout the holidays but also help them develop as footballers and individuals.”
What: Spring Football Camp
Where: Football Center, Dubai
When: February 12 to 16 from 09:00 to 16:00
Contact: For more information, email [email protected]
Spring Football Camp— Football Center (@thefcdubai) January 28, 2017
With the football season returning & the school term up & running It's Just Football & Footba… pic.twitter.com/wJkmDhGh46
The UAE will be a cycling entertainment capital for the coming week with the Dubai Tour hitting the emirate in full force, bringing plenty of excitement for fans.
The show got under way yesterday with the opening ceremony, where 128 riders from the 16 invited teams were presented, and will continue today at the Dubai Tour Fan Village, situated at the Dubai International Marine Club. Running along the five-day race, the Fan Village will be open until Saturday, February 4 from 09:30 to 16:30 every day.
There’s something for everyone to enjoy in the Fan Village, whether you’re a hardcore cycling fan or experiencing your first world-class race in person. Teams’ and sponsors’ paddocks will have a range of activities that the public can both watch and participate in.
As always, Italian bike freestyler, former BikeTrial World Champion and multiple Guinness World Record holder Vittorio Brumotti will be on hand with twice-daily shows to leave the crowd breathless with various tricks, flips, jumps and balancing acts.
Each day, special guests will also feature on radio shows on Dubai Eye 103.8 and Radio Shoma, the UAE’s first Farsi music station, with both transmitting live shows from the Fan Village.
Local celebrity and famous Virgin Radio Dubai DJ Kris Fade will even be there on the final day.
Fade, who won the Ahlan! Best Personality in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and has been featured in the Hot 100 for five years and counting, will interact with fans from City Walk, the new destination venue of the Dubai Tour’s last sprint to the finish line.
As far as the race and the athletes taking part, there are numerous ways for fans to interact and take in the thrilling action. In the preliminary procedures before the start of each day’s race, all riders are required to be present at a special podium for photographs and interviews by the media.
There, fans can ask for selfies and autographs from their favourite riders. A special parade of race jerseys and the trophy will also be held with live music and race commentary, adding to the experience.
Don’t miss out on watching each stage as well, especially the exciting final sprint and following podium ceremony.
What: Dubai Tour Fan Village
Where: Dubai International Marine Club
When: Today to Saturday, January 4 from 09:30 to 16:30
Contact: Visit www.dubaitour.com for more information.