Most of the drama took place on the Outdoor Circuit of the Kartdrome, where the Senior Cup battle ran close throughout the entire night. At the start of round four Romaldo Labrooy was leading the championship with 139 points, while Rami Azzam was a close second at 137 points.
Both drivers struggled in qualifying and although they improved in race one, it was Ahmed Al Hammadi who beat them to the chequered flag.
Race two deteriorated into a scruffy match that saw Romaldo’s championship hopes compromised when he had a collision with Rami’s younger brother, Ramez.
He went on to win race two but received a penalty for the incident that put him at the back of the grid for race three.
But the title was still up for grabs and both Romaldo and Rami knew they had to place as high as possible to secure the championship. Ahmed Al Hammadi once again dominated the event and took the victory but it was the tenacious driving Azzam, slowing picking his way through the crowd and going from twelfth on the grid to finish third, that secured the title.
He finished the championship on 179 points while Labrooy ended up just four points shy at 175 and Atef Al Barwani netted third with 169.
Rami explained: “It was a bit tough; it got a little edgy at times but that is what the championship is. If it’s not edgy it’s not going to be worth it in the end.”
The Masters category, for drivers aged 35 or older, was a much more conventional affair with Mohammed Ismail Ali again triumphant over his rivals, earning him a perfect four out of four round victories and the overall title. Gary Jones had chased him throughout the series but in the end he had to settle for second place while Heiki Eelma took third.
At the Indoor Circuit of the Dubai Kartdrome the Junior Cup title was not decided until the last race of the evening. Kamal Agha, Oliver Walton and Samir Malas were pre-match favourites and all three of them put themselves in great positions on the Grand Final grid.
Kamal started the final race in pole position but couldn’t hold on to it as Samir Malas passed him up and crossed the finish line just 0.995 seconds ahead. Walton narrowly trailed Agha by 0.507 seconds for third place.
Samir had done enough to win round four but Kamal’s second place finish was enough to acquire the necessary points to wrap up the Junior Cup title. Agha secured the championship with 184 points, Walton earned second with 177 points and Malas followed closely in third with 175.
Prizes were presented to all of the championship podium winners. Rami Azzam was awarded a fully funded Rotax/Iame race weekend, courtesy of Energy Karts Dubai, while Mohammed Ismail Ali won a Formula DXB Experience, courtesy of Dubai Autodrome. Kamal Agha was given a fully funded race weekend of Rotax/Iame, courtesy of CRG Middle East.
At the close of the night, Ramadan Challenge Race Director David Bright said: “With the technical difficulties of the Indoor Circuit for Juniors and the reverse grid format for Seniors, this series ensures that only the best of the best kart drivers make it to podium.
“Dubai Kartdrome, Energy Karts Dubai and CRG Middle East are proud to support UAE motorsport and we are thrilled to provide a platform for talented drivers to advance to the next level.”
Emirati Naif Oqab topped a field of more than 200 bowlers to clinch his second consecutive Open Division title in the annual Ramadan Bowling Tournament in the capital. Oqab triumphed over tough competition, keeping his cool under pressure to claim the coveted trophy with a score of 2,977.
Uella Marcial of Philippines narrowly missed out on the top spot, taking second place with a score of 2,968, whilst Emirati Shaker Ali came third with 2,958 points.
In the field of 47 juniors, British Samantha Hannan took the top spot with 1,256 points, with young Emirati Khamis Al Shamsi coming a close second with 1,232 points.
The pair also competed in the Open division, with Hannan placing sixthand Al Shamsi qualifying for the semi-final round. After losing an impressive 45 kg, 18-year-old Al Shamsi used his improved athleticism to withstand the competition of both divisions.
He said “Bowling is an interesting sport and we meet a lot of new people. Competition is much tougher in the open division and the talent of the older bowlers inspires and pushes you to keep bowling.”
The tournament’s Graded Division for amateur bowlers saw Filipino talent Shean Aguas take top honours for a second year running after bowling a stunning 222.0 average throughout the final.
In the Disabled division, Walid Mohamed Arjumand bowled an impressive score of 538 points to win the Men’s event title. The Ladies event was won by Nasra Ahmed Al Seqatri, who bowled her way into first place with 332 points.
The event, supported by National Drilling Company (NDC) and hosted by Zayed Sports City, is in its 17th year and witnessed record-breaking 25 percent increase in participation from 2015.
Fuelled by the excitement of the World Bowling Championships, which were held at Zayed Sports City in 2014 and 2015, the sport has witnessed an unprecedented boost in popularity, particularly amongst younger Emiratis.
The Youth Division of the 2016 tournament witnessed a 176 percent increase in participation on 2015, most of them being UAE nationals. Ahmad Khamis Al Ali, team manager at the UAE Bowling Federation explained the phenomenon.
“We are very happy to have so many young Emirati bowlers. The federation is providing them coaching, equipment, and competitive opportunities abroad so they can grow. This is important because they are the future of the sport,” he opined.
Barry Bremner, general manager at Zayed Sports City, said: “The growth of our Ramadan Bowling Tournament this year is unprecedented and we are delighted with the results. Specifically, to see that young UAE nationals are embracing the sport validates our efforts and the support from NDC, in addition to the time put in by bowlers and their coaches.”
The tournament, to be held at San Sebastian, Spain, starts on Sunday and ends on July 9. The CFFA team is the only team from the UAE to participate in the event.
A record 525 teams from 24 countries are participating this year, including teams from Italy, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, England, Mexico, Argentina, India, China, Ethiopia, Egypt and Australia. The CFFA team is pitted in Group A.
Organised by the San Sebastian Football Association, affiliated to Spanish Football Association, the Donosti Cup provides promising players and teams a global platform to showcase their skills.
Julian Spadigam, co-founder of CFFA, is confident about the team’s good show at Donosti Cup and said: “Playing in the Donosti Cup is a great learning experience. Competing against international teams will help build the skills and techniques of the players and hold them in good stead in the future.”