“You learn a lot about yourself!”
Mashael Al Obaidan has a deep love for adventure. No wonder she was on the start list of the upcoming Dakar: an event that was meant for the young Saudi lady. Add the fact that she’s had a deep passion for the desert from an early age. But while she started on dirt bikes, buggies and quads, she was behind the steering wheel of an T4 SSV for her maiden Dakar. Mashael discovered the event when it moved to her nation back in 2020 and got rapidly hooked when visiting the various bivouacs and testing out Dakar vehicles. That of course led to becoming the first Saudi female to be granted a rally license and was followed by a thorough racing program en route to the World’s toughest rally. When talking about that first experience, she has stars in the eyes. The young lady who studied in California managed the performance of reaching the finish of the Dakar alongside her Italian co-driver Jacopo Cerutti. After that promising debut, time has come to better her 17th position. To do so Mashael competed in various rounds of the FIA Baja World Cup in places such as Russia, Italy and of course the Middle-eastern events in Saudi and Dubai. For her second Dakar, she will be switching to the T3 class in a Can Am prepared by South Racing but this time she’ll be counting on the help of Paolo Ceci, also a former biker from Italy (like Cerutti) who finished 9th of the 2021 Dakar as the navigator of Khalifa Al Attiyah.
MAO: “I started motorsports as a hobby since I was a kid in the Saudi desert. My family used to take me off-roading a lot and bought me my 1st quad! Then I turned to street bikes and dirt bikes when I was living in California. I decided to transfer my hobby to a profession when I moved back to Saudi Arabia and heard that the Dakar would be in the kingdom. I pushed for female rally licenses and became the 1st Saudi female to receive a rally license but that was not the goal. The goal was to compete full throttle.
Personally, Dakar 2022 was a life changing experience. You learn a lot about yourself. They put you in conditions where lack of sleep, long hours of driving and so many things make you learn about new things. It teaches you to be patient. Teaches you to move forward no matter what happens. It teaches you to fight, to push and never give up. Dakar in Saudi made me experience Saudi Arabia, my country, in a different way. It's beautiful. It's breathtaking. About the Dakar that I have done, I love the slogan of the event. The founder Thierry Sabine once stated: ‘It's a challenge for those who go and a dream, for those who stay behind’. I've done the Dakar the first time and I achieved my dream but still I have the second Dakar as a dream as well and the third, and the fourth. My goal is to participate in the all of the Dakar rounds starting in the Middle-East. The plan this year was to compete in the Baja World Cup. This was all a training process for the Dakar. The rounds in Europe helped me discover different terrain and this adds a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge. It teaches me different techniques, and this is why I did most of the championship this year”.
SOUTH RACING CAN-AM
CAN-AM MAVERICK XRS
SOUTH RACING CAN-AM
- Mark CAN-AM
- Model MAVERICK XRS
- Performance tuner South Racing
- Assistance South Racing
- Class T3.1: Lightweight Prototype Cross-Country
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