That’s an impressive black eye. Is it hobby related?
Er, yes. I was racing at the weekend on a two-wheeler and I’m not really sure what happened. One minute I was on the bike, and the next minute I wasn’t. Thankfully nothing was broken, although the swelling around my eye and head was pretty impressive, so we weren’t sure until I’d had an x-ray.
That sounds painful. Do you often injure yourself?
Actually, no. This is the first time – touch wood – that I’ve had to go to hospital following a tumble. So I’ve been pretty lucky! It looks very unattractive though. It’s all over one side, so I look a bit like ‘Two-Face’ from Batman.
You’re a mum who’s seriously into quad biking. How did that happen?
Well, I’ve always been into motorbikes. I blame that on the fact that I had two older brothers who were bike mad. As children, we spent our summers in Italy, where our grandparents lived, and I used to pinch my brother’s bikes and go off riding up the mountains. I just loved it!
And then what happened?
I grew up in Dubai – I’ve been here since 1977 – and when I was about 15 and a student at Dubai College, my dad bought me a second-hand 125cc bike, and I used to ride it to school. I realise that wouldn’t be allowed these days, but the UAE was pretty different back then. After that, I borrowed a friend’s 250cc, and thought I’d gone to heaven. It felt so powerful and serious. As soon as I could afford it, I bought my own bike.
When did you start competing?
Not very long ago. I did my first Desert Challenge in 2007 on a two wheeler, which was awesome – and extremely exhausting. I did it again this year but on my quad bike, which was much easier.
What’s harder – racing on two wheels, or four?
For my first Desert Challenge, I’d had my bike completely adjusted so that it was perfect for my weight and size. But I hadn’t reckoned on the amount of extra gear you need on a race like that. The weight of the extra petrol and the GPS equipment made the bike much heavier and it was tough going because I fell off a lot. You don’t fall off half so much on a quad bike for obvious reasons. Generally, it’s a much easier ride.
Would you advise other speed-hungry mums to have a go at quad biking?
Definitely! It’s an amazing sport and you don’t have to race. We do these weekend family rides from Al Awir to Fossil Rock and back again, and it’s just a fun day out. We get to the petrol station near fossil Rock, we all have a cup of tea and an ice cream, and then we ride all the way back to Dubai again. Oh yes – we’re serious bikers! Laughs.
Race season for motocross and quad biking runs from October to April, and races are run every weekend. Visit www.mydubaimotocross.com for information on training sessions and races.