Take your average camel race…………..
Camel racing is a crazy, great-crack, mad experience, and one that shouldn’t be missed if you happen to be in the Gulf during race season. As far as MB is aware, the season lasts from November to March approximately. And after many years of thinking about it, MB finally got into the thick of the camel action in recent days, at a track just outside Doha in the State of Qatar, as ever, camera in hand.
MB acquired the invitation to the camel racing as was recently lucky enough to meet a French chemist guy who works in the Government blood-testing laboratory for the camel racing industry. Yes, dear HX followers, Arab camel owners are into camel-doping on occasion, in a ‘needle & syringe’ attempt to achieve greater success. A top racing camel can be worth more than USD 1M, so, as in all walks of life and sport, financial gain can be a major incentive to stretch or break the rules. But Mr Frenchman and his team are on hand with state-of-the-art laboratory gadgets (which MB got to see on his guided tour of the lab) to detect even the most minuscule parts-per-million of illegal substances, and scupper the best-laid doping plans of mice and men!
In days past, camel owners used small boys as jockeys, who hailed generally from dirt-poor countries and were paid a pittance, if anything at all more often than not. Complaints from child welfare groups eventually paid dividends and the industry changed from small boys to small robots on the camel’s back – MB kids you not!
The robot has a whip attached, whose speed & force is controlled by a remote control in the hands of the owner or trainer. The owner/trainer drives along the outside of the track during the race in a 4×4, along with all the other crazy owners, aside their camels, turning up the power of the remote control as necessary.
MB emersed himself in the midst of all the owners, and negotiated his non-4×4 car, on an adrenalin high, trying at same time to take some awesome photos!
MB did his best to capture the spirit of the day with his shots. Let him know what you think!