Mahmoud Tannir was crowned 2012-2013 Motorcity UAE Sportbikes champion for a second year in a row and although he dominated the previous season, he was made to work extra hard to bag title number two which he did at the final race day of the season at Dubai Autodrome in April. Now that the dust has settled, the 38 year old Dubai based rider speaks about his championship winning season which got off to the worst possible start with a DNF in the opening round.
2012-2013 UAE Sportbikes Champion Mahmoud Tannir
Q&A with Motorcity 2012-2013 UAE Sportbikes Champion Mahmoud Tannir
This only served to compound the pressure on the reigning champion who started the season with an array of new sponsors including: TAG Heuer, NGK, Fitness First, Oakley, Duseja Moto, Mobil and Probikes.
Tannir recollected, “Not the best start with a crash and DNF at the first race. Things didn’t look good after some mechanical failures and more crashes. Until the second half of the season where we really turned it around with different setups, focused on consistency and winning as much as possible. It all paid up at the end and I do not regret any part of it.”
In fact that very first race was the season’s low point for the Triumph Daytona 675 mounted rider, “I have to say my first crash due to a cold front tire but most importantly our engine failure mid-season. That was a blow, literally.”
Biggest threat to Tannir’s double title ambitions was young Rookie of the Year Surya Raja who made the most of the champion’s early season setbacks and became a force on the local motorcycle racing scene in the process.
During the first half of the season Tannir scored only one victory, but once he regained his momentum he racked up five wins from the last seven races and that ultimately bagged him a well-deserved second title.
“After mid-season, we went in with a different mindset,” revealed Tannir who went on to recall his season highs. “The way we pulled it off [the championship] after many problems was the highlight. I was also happy with my mental approach during the last few races, but the best one was at the last round, finishing ahead of most of the 1000cc bikes.”
As for the craziest memory of the season gone by, Tannir laughs before answering, “Probably my crash with Joe Oxley. I guess we are still blaming each other.”
The UAE champion has used the off-season to race in the prestigious Qatar superbikes series and impressed in his outings.
“I’ve done two races in Qatar 600cc championship as a test for next season and was very happy with the results. We actually went to test the bike and our ability ahead of next season, it went well as we won one race and finished second in the next but our focus was laptimes given we’ve only been to Qatar once in 2010, so, very happy with the outcome. Beautiful fast track and the guys there are very helpful and professional,” said Tannir.
But off season is also precious time for family which he admits is one of the things he enjoys most about the down time, “Other than that I have been enjoying time with the family. I don’t stop training so whenever I don’t answer my phone that means I’m in the gym or…. asleep!”
Although motor racing is often mistaken as a one man show, it certainly is not as there is invariably an important support network that is vital to any successful racing campaign.”
Tannir is very aware of the input from those around me and when asked who he needed to thank he replied, “Everyone who was involved, all my sponsors, friends and fans and my family who has to keep up with my racing. Special thanks to TAG Heuer and NGK for making our trip to Qatar possible. Of course my race engineer Ian who is always watching my back and for Dubai Autodrome on having a competitive championship this year.”
The 2013-2014 season is still some months away and as yet no concrete plans have been formulated by the champion. Tannir gave insight into what he has in the pipeline for what would be another title defence, “Few plans are on the table, I would like to defend the title for the second time but also I’m looking forward to compete in Qatar. I’m in talks with my sponsors to work-out the best possible package. I cannot say which one it will be yet but surely you will get the news soon.”
Tannir has clear ideas on what needs to be done to sustain and grow motorcycle racing in the UAE and is not shy to articulate his opinions.
“I really hope that Dubai Autodrome will manage to support the series even better than last season in order to get more competitors and sponsors,” said Tannir. “They have done a great job but there are some branding and technical points that need addressing to market the series to the public on a larger scale and to help the racers to become more professional. I’m sure the organisers will be looking into that for next year.”
As for advice to his rivals ahead of next season, again the champion breaks into a broad grin before quipping, “Yep, I’m getting older but not slower…”
Press Images :