Nasser Al Shaiba; a UAE national from Dubai; is a dominating figure in the UAE Sportbike Championship and holder of several championship titles.
Nasser’s love for motorcycles started at an early age when he first put a leg over a 50cc motocross bike. He eventually moved on to different bikes; covering almost every type of bike; even three and four wheelers. The love of riding took Nasser to the track, where he immersed himself in the ultimate motorcycle experience; track racing. which eventually changed his life.
I met Nasser during round 4 of the UAE Sportbike Championship which recently took place at the Dubai Autodrome. We had a very interesting chat where he shed light on his racing experience, the sport of Sportbikes and his vision for the future of the sport in the UAE.
I also asked Nasser about the sport; if we could really classify it as sport; and that paved the way to a very interesting conversation that opened my eyes on how this activity can be life changing, like it has been for Nasser.
The key question here was if this is really a sport? His answer and further explanation was astonishing. “Riding a superbike on the track needs lots of physical abilities as you perform lots of movements throughout the race” Nasser said. he shared with me the progress and tracking analysis of his workout, body physique and what shape he used to be in before sport bikes and where is he now. Frankly I couldn’t believe this is the same guy!
Needing to adapt to the new lifestyle; the Sportbike lifestyle; Nasser had to change many of his old habits in order to be a better rider and a competitive racer. It started with several sports activities that would help him keep fit in order to be able to properly handle the bike on the track. Swimming, soft sand running, cycling and a dose of gym workouts were now part of his daily routine. Food on the other hand had drastically changed from the time before Sportbikes. Shifting to healthier options, organic and self-prepared meals completed the new lifestyle and gave him what his body needed. The transformation on his physique is incredible.
Nasser told me that he wouldn’t have gone through all of these changes had his chosen lifestyle not been to become a sportbike racer. This clearly shows the amount of dedication and focus this type of sport demands.
Nasser talked about the popularity of this sport around the world: “when you want to think of a Sportbike Championship you immediately compare MotoGP to Formula1”. It is interesting to know that on average; 130,000 people watch MotoGP races live; which is significantly higher than those watching a Formula1 race live; around 15,000. “That’s indicates something, no?”
On a personal level, you can benefit from track racing and track practice to be a better rider on the road. Knowing all of the life saving techniques of breaking, maneuvering, and handling turns and corners.
At that point I asked Nasser if it’s safe to track race and he said that track racing is very safe compared to other sports; even though people have developed a stereotype for how dangerous this sport is; in reality it is not dangerous at all, especially when racers wear their protective safety gear: full leather suit, full face helmet, gloves, boots, back protector as well as chest protector; in addition to spending countless hours practicing and learning sportbike racing techniques.
Nasser studied riding, he watched all kind of races around the world and attended several courses in Europe and the Middle East. All of which helped him build his experience and reach the skill level he has today.
MOVING THE SPORT FORWARD
Nasser explained that in order to bring this sport up to the next level in the UAE, we need the help of the government to support and give this amazing sport the attention it deserves. There is also a huge demand to get the private sectors to sponsor riders and racing teams. “If we get more support from these two key players we will definitely reach a prominent level in international motorsport competitions; raising the flag of the UAE very high”.
Furthermore, there should be a dedicated academy to take on potentially skilled riders at a very young age and integrates the sportbike racing lifestyle into their lives. We should create activities for fans and enthusiasts to spread knowledge and skills; particularly the new generation. Nasser is willing to help by setting up the required entities, train new riders to support the government and private sectors to develop and grow this sport locally and reflect a great image of it in the UAE and the Middle East.
A track rider and racer for 10 years, Nasser definitely looks very happy, very healthy and ready for new challenges and races.
Photo Credit: Craig Kidwell
Special thanks to Nasser’s trainers from Fitness First – Dubai:
Pool & Open Water Trainer: Dusan Stoiljkovic
Gym trainer : Leo Twikirize