Dubai Motor Club 1971

Back in 1970 Dubai had no organised Motor Sports.
There were few cars by today's standards and even fewer roads but there were plenty of open sand areas in and around Dubai. Dubai had no barriers back then to individuals setting up and running sporting activities and/or Clubs so a Group of Motoring Enthusiasts came together to set up Dubai's first Motor Sports Club in 1970 appropriately named "Dubai Motor Club". DMC was to have a short but colourful life!!

Starting Dubai Motor Club 1970

Dubai Motor Club was set up around 1970 by Steve Camm, Robin White and David Aitcheson, all of whom worked for Dubai Municipality. DMC organised motor sport events for Members such as Driving Tests and Sprints. DMC's Members were drawn from across Dubai's population, the only criteria being they were interested on Motor Sport. Cars ranged from everyday family cars through to American Muscle Cars and a Morgan Plus 8. But Dubai Motor Club's lasting legacy had nothing to do with Motor Sport. DMC organised the first Dubai Creek Raft Race. Steve Camm admits he doesn't know why they organised the Raft Race but it soon became a popular event and survived DMC's demise

Account of a 1971 DMC Driving Test Competition


My Alfa Romeo Guilia Super 1600 had just arrived by ship from Bahrain. I had participated in some Motor Sport in Bahrain but no one seemed to have had heard of any Motor Sport events in Dubai. Then by "word of mouth" I heard a Driving Test event was to be held near Dubai Airport. No entry required. Just turn up with your car and sign up. "Near Dubai Airport" proved to be a large area of open sand not too far away from Dubai old Airport Terminal. Sand was hard packed so OK for road going cars. Driving Test course was set out with stakes and ropes. Crowd protection was another line of stakes with a single rope separating cars from spectators. The Organiser of the event arrived in a Taxi. He didn't own a car. "Are you competing?" he was asked several times. Answer was always the same"Yes. My car is arriving later".
Competitors were organised with their start times. A Timekeeper was appointed complete with a Stop Watch. Record keeper was ready with a Clipboard to record Competitors' times. Starter was ready to get the Competition underway. The Organiser was still awaiting the arrival of his car but signaled the Competition to start. Cars started to circulate the course, some more energetically than others. One Driver lost control of his Chevy Camarro and headed for the crowd but fortunately was able to stop before the rope barrier. Then the Taxi that delivered the Organiser to the event returned. It was a little Subaru saloon. Taxi Driver unclipped his Taxi Sign, removed it from the car then turned and handed the Organiser the keys to the Subaru. Organiser put on string backed driving gloves, got in "his" car and drove to the start line. The little Subaru completed the course in the quickest time of the day! The Organiser knew what he was doing which was more than the new Timekeeper did. The "official" Timekeeper wanted to compete so simply handed me his Stopwatch and told me to record the Competitors' times. I'd never used a Stopwatch before (or since). I misread all the Competitors' times but that wasn't discovered until the end of the day. The Organiser decreed which times would count and which wouldn't. The result was the Organiser won the event!
The Taxi Driver returned for his car, restored his Taxi Sign to the Subaru's roof and collected a small wad of Dirham Notes from the Organiser. Then he drove the Organiser home.

Len Chapman

Gone and Forgotten

Dubai Motor Club existed for about two years then faded away. No one seems to know why DMC disappeared. There are no records of its existence, no photographs, only memories and stories. What happened to the Organiser is known. He was a Contractor involved in building housing complexes. His Client took exception to the quality of the Contractor's work and began to threaten the "Organiser". The "Organiser" decided it was prudent to leave Dubai quickly. He returned to Dubai several years later when he thought "his problem" was forgotten. It wasn't. He was arrested on arrival at Dubai Airport and jailed.