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Car racing the Dead Sea

Updated on April 23, 2011

Car racing in Jordan is a tradition not to be taken lightly for the Kingdom stands on the international circuits of global car racing bodies where love for the sport is only bypassed by the adrenlins of the drivers.

Misery does not make company in the Dead Sea of Jordan. No signs of protest reeling in the Middle East, and checkered parts of the country, no anger, as global festivity of enjoyment and frolicking dominates. Life goes on, people go to work, monotony replaces frustration and happiness takes over sameness.

Many like Jordan, possibly Tunisia and certainly Egypt are left to pick up the pieces of what is portrayed as a flagging tourism season that is leaving everyone at least in the tourism sector complaining and irritable.

Then suddenly the world rally comes along. On 14-16 April, Jordan and Jordanians decided to have what Britons call a jolly well blast by going to the Jordan Really where car racing enthusiasts and watchers flocked to the roads of treachery.

This rally has long become part of the FIA World Chamionship Rally (WCR) whose organizors rightly decided they would not be deterred by the problems of the region and will have a kick of their own and back a momentous even in the Dead Sea and its sorrounding environs.

Hence, truckloads of cars and international teams including Fiestas and Citreons cascaded along the lowest point on eath, assembling in the “Service Park” area. Sports cars were seen manovering the tracks and stages from Jeresh, Baptism Site, Suwayma and Kafrain to top their points and goals as they were being hurrayed by thousands of spectators from Amman, rest of the country, regionally and literally the rest of the world. It was the weekend that started Thursday and went on to Friday and Saturday.

Suddenly tourism wasn’t flagging anywhere, as pink faces, blonds, brows, black, multi-colored, those with ‘international complexions, took over the sandy hills of the Dead Sea. This was the fourth round of the WCR championship, that started last March in Sweden, went on to Mexico, Portugal, now in Jordan, and then going to Turkey and the rest of the world.

It was being held in conjunction with the Middle East Rally Championship that also brought drivers from United Arab Emirates, Qater, Kuwait, and of course Jordan, and that meant more faces and attire. For the day, two days or so, these faces had left the protests spiralling the region behind and sought too have a fresh-air-breathing or hot-breathing good time!

Chairman of the Jordan Motor Sport Prince Faisal Al Hussein says the holding of the sport in the Kingdom must be seen as “a proud moment not only for Jordan but the entire Arab world as we host the FIA World Rally Championship for the third time.”

This is the second consecutive time to hold the rally in Jordan with the first being in 2008, something that must surely signal confidence in Jordan, its viability, its vitality and sense of self-assurance. The Kingdom has a great sports racing and rally tradition strated since the early 1980s and before. The present monarch King Abdullah used to take part in these rallies with the different Jordanian teams through out that decade, driving alongside side rally sportsmen as if this was the most natural thing in the world.

The late King Hussein of Jordan, father of the present monarch was a sports car and motor cycle enthusiast since his early days in the 1950s, and actively encouraged this sporting tradition as seen by the present Royal Automoblie Museum which has all of the King’s cars and now an artistic show piece of motoring and political history.

The Jordan Rally received the active endorsement of the Federation Internationale de l’Autombile (FIA), the global body that represents motoring organizations in 1984, and from then on the tradition continued.

In the end there was one winner. French driver Sebastian Oger, and his co-driver Sebastian Loeb just managed to clinch the title in between entries from such countries as Finland, Portugal and Mexico.

Petra Events, part of the Petra Travel and Tourism Company, was responsible for some of the transport and reservation logistics of the rally teams who stayed in the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, Holiday Inn, Kempinski and Movenpick, all of who huddle along the seashores of the Dead Sea when watching the sunset go down becomes a magnifect event.

Their full-team were on literally on 24-hour standbye to handle possible quarries and questions for the guests staying at the hotel. After the rally event was over, they had to make sure that the guests were transported back to their destinations.

Observors say the WRC race is particularly exciting because it is held in turrains and condititions that require stamina, concentration, power and determination in roads that require great attention. Car drivers and cars seen on videos in different stages was somehow nerv-racking as vehicles manovered unpaved roads and gravel surfaces that require agility and dexterity to move.

In the “Service Park”, the atmosphere was festive, it proved in the end to be a shownmanship event, one that would be like to be seen by everyone, a sort of family outing to be enjoyed. Many tried to draw on this atmosphere as there were 10 tables including those selling handicrafts, tatooing, and providing the well-known java u brand of light drinks, coffee, sweets, muffins and brownies.

Things moved and tettered to the blast of music organized by a DJ especially brought in for the event.

It was a sight to remember with much mingling between the car support teams and tourists who flocked from all over the country and beyond. It was not only a great racing event but a touristic one as well.

Where are the troubles! Well, non to be seen at the Dead Sea, here was a car racing event.


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    • nikipa profile image


      6 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Interesting! Thank you for sharing!

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      7 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Very interesting article. We don't always think of the parallels of countries with our own on a daily basis. NHRA drag racing has a strong following and influence with the middle east today too. This article shows a little of the connection for your interest. I look forward to more of your articles.


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