What’s in my travel bag: Mohamed Abu Issa

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Riding 900km on a quad bike across varied terrain may not sound like the most comfortable way to spend a day, but Mohamed Abu Issa makes a living from it. One of the most famous races he enters, the Dakar Rally, has stages of this distance, and in 2014 Mohamed became the first Qatari ever to complete it riding a quad. He is currently preparing for the next Dakar race in January.

 

I’ve been a professional quad bike racer for a few years now. In 2013, I took part in the FIM Quads Cross Country Rallies World Cup for the first time and came second, and was also crowned junior champion. The following year, I won the Sealine Cross Country Desert Challenge in Qatar, and I also attempted the Dakar Rally for the first time, coming fourth overall in my category.


The 2015 race was a bit different, as I had some problems with my bike, but I’m looking to make up for it in 2016. There are a lot of races I take part in throughout the year, all over the world, but the Dakar Rally in South America is my favourite. It is the toughest cross-country race there is, held across Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina, and over twice as long as a traditional World Cup rally. There is something addictive about it too – if you do it once, you’ll want to come back.


Quad biking is something I have always liked, since a young age. I practise a lot in the deserts outside of Doha, and I’m proud to be representing Qatar on an international level. To be the first ever Qatari to win a championship would be a dream come true.


Uncle B: This is our team mascot, a camel toy from Qatar that travels everywhere with us, bringing good luck.


Energy drinks: A can of Red Bull for travelling has become a routine. It keeps me alert and helps me concentrate, making getting through the airport and the process of travelling more streamlined.


iPhone: My smartphone is an essential item when travelling. I usually check in through the apps, have my boarding pass stored on there, and also lots of music ready for listening to on the plane. Uber has just launched in Qatar, and I’ll often use the app to arrange transport to and from the airport. Then, if I win a race, I’ll use it to let people know on my Twitter feed (@AbuIssaRacing).


Beats by Dre headphones: I have the wireless, noise-cancelling headphones, which are perfect for just losing myself in my music. It’s enough to distract me, which makes the journey seem quicker, and does wonders for my concentration before a race. 


Compression socks: I’ve only just started wearing these on planes. They help your blood circulation, and I find it helps me feel revitalised after a flight, with jet lag not affecting me as much – two things that are really important when getting ready for a race.

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