RE: PH in Dubai - My Dream Drive special

RE: PH in Dubai - My Dream Drive special

Thursday 20th November 2014

PH in Dubai - My Dream Drive special

A bit different from our regular B-roads, Dale's trip to the UAE throws up a true dream drive



Name: Dale Lomas
Where: Jebel Jais Mountain, United Arab Emirates
Car used: Jaguar F-type V6 S

Hang on, wasn't the dune bashing in 4x4s?
Hang on, wasn't the dune bashing in 4x4s?
The route:
"Resting like the proverbial diamond in the dirt is this, the Jebel Jais Mountain Road. Even in a small, car-loving country like the United Arab Emirates, its existence remains largely unknown. And yet it's one of the finest, and oddest, driving roads in the whole world.

"Leaving the city emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, you head into the dramatic mountains that mark the border with Oman. You'll pass a hostile-looking high-security prison and the road will get progressively worse. Speed bumps, pot holes and even rock-strewn dry fords.Eventually, just as you question your own sanity in bringing a sports car this far down such an obviously terrible road, you will hit a very modern, very well-surfaced roundabout.

"And that's where the real fun begins!"

Typical traffic on this petrolheads' dream tarmac
Typical traffic on this petrolheads' dream tarmac
Why it's a dream drive:
"Firstly, this whole road, from the start to the curious dead-end at the top, is absolutely perfectly surfaced. Without flaw. And it's massively wide. At the bottom, before the hairpins begin, you've got two generous lanes with run-off each side.

"As the climbing begins, the road turns into three lanes. Your side, their side and suicide. Beyond each side there's some black gloopy looking unfinished hard-shoulders before the concrete barriers, should you really need every last inch.

"The speed limit is so low, just 40km/h, that it's universally ignored. The locals have a tendency to either do 20km/h (often with people standing up through the sunroof for a better view of the stunning mountains) or 220km/h. Think I'm exaggerating? We were passed by three McLarens going hell for leather. It took every last scrap of driving skill I had to even hang on to the leader's coat tails.

Literally the road to nowhere ... wonderful!
Literally the road to nowhere ... wonderful!
"Enthusiasts come from all over the Arabian peninsula to drive this road. On our day trip we saw plates from as far away as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia attached to a variety of sports cars. The majority of cars were SUVs and family sedans though.

"The hairpins are of a completely different flavor to the Alpine switchbacks you might be familiar with. The speeds are higher and there's so much space that you really can apply a racing line to most of them."

Highlights and lowlights:
"The local traffic is hard to predict at first. Until you realise that prediction is pointless. They will stop anywhere and do anything. Randomly. Sometimes parked next to the road, sometimes directly on it. In one instance on our trip a party of four SUVs blocked two out of the three lanes to have what looked like a 20-minute prayer session.

Scale of the scenery as breathtaking as driving
Scale of the scenery as breathtaking as driving
"Lane discipline is random. Most slower vehicles will point you by, but don't be surprised if they brake and move into the central lane to allow it. That happened twice on my three ascents.

"Drive your own car and don't rely on anybody else to do (or not do) anything."

Sights, stop-offs and diversions:
"Everywhere you look is a beautiful sight. The mountains are utterly desolate, but achingly beautiful. Every angle is a masterpiece in ochre, desert shades. The weather is typically 10-15 degrees Celsius lower than in the cities, so it makes a great retreat from the summer heat.

"There are a couple of official parking places as you make the ascent, each with a viewing point.

One day this will be a ski resort, apparently
One day this will be a ski resort, apparently
"At the top there's a concrete barrier, though many of the other visitors in SUVs and even Evos and Imprezas continued on the unfinished gravel road to the top. And what's at the summit of this spectacular road? Nothing right now, but in the ultimate display of Emirates one-upmanship, it will soon an outdoor skiing resort.

"I'm not kidding. Dubai has an indoor ski resort, and Ras Al Khaimah wants an outdoor one. The slope will be refrigerated from underground and snow blowers will blast it with snow. Will it stick? I have no idea, but the official line is that it's snowed here twice in the new millennium (2004 and 2009) so nothing is impossible."

Photos: Dale/Sam North

Vid of a Jag up Jebel Jais Mountain by someone with a bigger budget than PH

Follow the route here.



PH in Dubai:
The track day
Dune bashing
Pic Of The Week
Ferrari 458 Challenge vs McLaren 12C Sprint with Dragon Racing
The GT3 showdown









[Sources: Jaguar Middle East/North Africa, via YouTube]

Author
Discussion

Pip1968

Original Poster:

930 posts

137 months

Thursday 20th November 2014
quotequote all
I watched the video without reading the header with it and was a little worried that the large figure of man getting out of the car was going to be you Dale. Thankfully my fears were soon allayed.

Not quite Stelvio with an espresso and bratwurst to top it off with once at the top.

Pip

assadahmed

451 posts

123 months

Thursday 20th November 2014
quotequote all
I'm in Dubai over Xmas. If only I had a decent car to do this in!

bencollins

3,060 posts

138 months

Thursday 20th November 2014
quotequote all
fantastic scenery.
next weeks "dream drive" on B236 from Thimblethwaite to Numbleton is already overshadowed a tad.

edinph

381 posts

107 months

Thursday 20th November 2014
quotequote all
Dump the naff music, we just want to hear the engines!

Ozzie Osmond

21,189 posts

179 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
None of which explains why they all prefer to potter about at 5 mph in the West End.....
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Quhet

1,741 posts

79 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
I need to go!eeknutslickdriving

XB70

2,406 posts

129 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
Give me a bit to get organised and I will try and make it up there and, in the spirit of Pistonheadness, upload a Bargain Barge Does UAE Curvy Road video.

Not a McLaren, F-Type or anything of that ilk but a Cadillac SLS (only ever sold in the Middle East and China so quite a rare and overlooked car). The bargistas should like it (waves to Ross E65, R129 and the others from the 1-5,000 quid thread

seefarr

516 posts

119 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
assadahmed said:
I'm in Dubai over Xmas. If only I had a decent car to do this in!
A quick google indicates that hiring a boxster/cayman etc isn't too expensive in Dubai. I'm now making a plan for my trip out there next year to involve this road! It's about 2 hours from Dubai.

krisdelta

3,693 posts

134 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
seefarr said:
A quick google indicates that hiring a boxster/cayman etc isn't too expensive in Dubai. I'm now making a plan for my trip out there next year to involve this road! It's about 2 hours from Dubai.
Can you share a link? I'm there in a couple of weeks and v. tempted!

pppppppppppppppp

74 posts

55 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
So there is actually something decent to do in Dubai. I've been there a lot recently and the only thing that would tempt me to live there is the thought of being able to own and run a car I'd normally not be able to.

Other than that you're stuck in air conditioned buildings because it's too hot outside, when you can go outside (like this time of year) there's nowhere that caters for pedestrians and there are many, many shopping malls where you can spend your money in exactly the same shops you get here or everywhere else for that matter. Marvellous.

Apparently the speed limits used to be very lax and people drove as fast as they wanted. They clamped down on it so you end up cruising along at speeds lower than you would here. Most people just cruise around at 20 mph, revving their engines, which gets a bit tiring after 5 minutes.

Mountain roads are tempting, but you can get to the Alps in a day from Southern England and when you get there, the skiing's more than 20 seconds down a hill in a shopping centre.

seefarr

516 posts

119 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
krisdelta said:
seefarr said:
A quick google indicates that hiring a boxster/cayman etc isn't too expensive in Dubai. I'm now making a plan for my trip out there next year to involve this road! It's about 2 hours from Dubai.
Can you share a link? I'm there in a couple of weeks and v. tempted!
This place has a new Cayman for £260 p/day which isn't too bad. Need to check on the mileage though because it's a 200 mile return trip from Dubai. . .

http://www.letsdriverentacar.com/Car-Leasing-UAE/S...

Slickhillsy

1,741 posts

76 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
Have to say I can see some sense in the above. Just got back from Dubai. Great to visit, not sure I'd want to live there.

krisdelta

3,693 posts

134 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
seefarr said:
krisdelta said:
seefarr said:
A quick google indicates that hiring a boxster/cayman etc isn't too expensive in Dubai. I'm now making a plan for my trip out there next year to involve this road! It's about 2 hours from Dubai.
Can you share a link? I'm there in a couple of weeks and v. tempted!
This place has a new Cayman for £260 p/day which isn't too bad. Need to check on the mileage though because it's a 200 mile return trip from Dubai. . .

http://www.letsdriverentacar.com/Car-Leasing-UAE/S...
Cheers! smile

GM182

682 posts

158 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
Thought the road was going to be Jebel Hafeet which is Al Ain I think (can't remember).

That road also winds up a mountain. There was almost no traffic at all, perfect surface but it had a nearly deserted luxury hotel at the top where you get a decent if expensive cup of tea. Anyway, I had a Jag S-Type R for the weekend when it was new and rocketing up in air-conditioned comfort was pretty impressive.

back in 2002/3 speed limits away from the cities were widely ignored. I regularly saw 200+km/h when out of the urban areas.

As this series of articles shows there is plenty for the typical PHer to be entertained in the Emirates. Off-roading doesn't have to involve just dune-bashing either...the mountains offer lots of trails, hidden canyons and chances to get away from Dubai's tawdriness on two or four wheels.

flashgit

57 posts

122 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
Takes me back to 1993 when I was in Dubai. The road concerned was not there at the time but the road to the right at the roundabout took you up and over the mountains on a graded (gravel) road, into Oman and then back out again down the other side and through Wadi Al Bih (sp?). This was a great day out in 4x4's with an icebox full of beers and burgers for the open open for BBQ at the beach on the Indian Ocean.

Oh and add to that the fact that I proposed to the current Mrs on such a trip.

Certainly a road to remember :-)

assadahmed

451 posts

123 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
seefarr said:
assadahmed said:
I'm in Dubai over Xmas. If only I had a decent car to do this in!
A quick google indicates that hiring a boxster/cayman etc isn't too expensive in Dubai. I'm now making a plan for my trip out there next year to involve this road! It's about 2 hours from Dubai.
As soon as I posted I actually checked and yeah there are quite a few options for Boxsters or American muscle cars. May just end up doing this!

yorky500

1,606 posts

124 months

Friday 21st November 2014
quotequote all
The actual road getting to the start of the mountain is, IMHO, nicer than the actual drive up it. There is some stunning scenery and lovely sweeping bends which see you reaching speeds nearing 200km/h (or above!). The road up the mountain, whilst fun is often covered in a fine film of dust/sand (as you could see in the video) and whilst fun on the bends done not often mean you can push on up the mountain.

Coming down is another matter with the single lane down being covered in sand i.e. everybody has to drive down on the 2 lanes coming up (again, it is evident in the video).

It is however one of the better roads to drive in the UAE.