Photo essay: Extreme off-roading in the UAE

Sharjah's XQuarry Adventure Park hosted an event dedicated to pushing the 4x4 driving experience to the max

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Taking your vehicle off the safety of tarmac and on to significantly less firm terrain is more hazardous than your average gaming console might indicate.

However, OffRoad Zone, an activities company specialising in 4x4-related experiences, took the concept to the max with its second annual event dedicated to ploughing through the most demanding sands in a suitably impetuous manner.

The meeting, called the International Off-Road Day, took place at the XQuarry Adventure Park in Sharjah.

It featured a series of challenges for those willing to potentially suffer a vehicle beaching (or, indeed, toppling) in the name of entertainment.

There was little chance of mishaps, though, as there were plenty of OffRoad Zone instructors on hand to offer advice.

Attendees were split into teams before setting off on their desert adventures, with drivers navigating the sliding dunes before embarking on a rugged terrain trek.

It wasn’t all about the sand, though – organisers set up a 4x4 obstacle course, with water hazards, makeshift bridges and low walls.

This saw the teams get their vehicles going at all manner of crazy angles as they tried to make it to the end without flattening anything, least of all the spectators.

OffRoad Zone does weekly desert drives and offers a series of tough-terrain activities.

Company chief executive Hakob Harutyunyan aims to make the International Off-Road Day a regular event in the UAE’s motorsport calendar.

The firm’s main business revolves around supplying modifications for Jeeps, geared to providing souped-up performance as well as personalised stylings, both inside and out.

The Emirates’ love affair with tearing around the desert dates back to the 1950s, when the first Land Rovers and Toyota Land Cruisers arrived.

The choice of vehicles is wider now, and OffRoad Zone’s experiences feature modern Jeeps, with a distinct leaning towards the US manufacturer’s Wrangler models.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 6:14 PM