Three intrepid Italians who made a 1,000km quadbike journey hugging the land borders of the UAE say they only just missed a Guinness record due to a forced detour.
Paolo, Andrea and Marco Rossetti – brothers from Milan – started their journey on January 16 in the town of Sila, far west of the UAE. Their plan was to ride their quadbikes for 1,200km parallel to the UAE's land border all the way to Fujairah, covering both the Saudi and Omani borders of the country.
They arrived in Fujairah on January 23 after travelling 1,000 km. The brothers had to take a 200-km diversion near the Rub Al Khali or Empty Quarter, which is towards the south of the UAE bordering Saudi Arabia, which is a restricted zone.
Their aim was to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest off-road trip, but the detour may prove costly for them now.
"However, we will try to submit evidence of all the 60 hours of video recording for a study of our adventure. We will take our proof to the Guinness authorities where we hope they will understand the circumstances," said Paolo, 40, speaking on behalf of his brothers.
Paolo has been living and working in the UAE for seven years as a Student Development Co-ordinator at the University of the UAE in Al Ain.
His brothers, Andrea, 38, and Marco, 32, were visiting him in the country when they accomplished "an off-road trip never experienced before in the UAE".
The brothers hope they will get recognition at least from the UAE authorities, if not from the Guinness Book. They claim their achievement is a record of sorts for the UAE.
"We want this to be recognised as a UAE national record. We can collect the evidence and submit it to the UAE Government or to the office of the President to tell them what we did. They could choose to set it up as a public record and then anybody from the UAE or even the region can try to break it," said Paolo.
Doing so, the three Italians believe, will boost the tourism sector in the country and add a new dimension to it.
"Besides the record and our personal reasons, we want people in the UAE to see the beauty of the country. Most people stay in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and do not go out to the remote areas," they said.
"The right business sectors and other institutions can play a role in sponsoring such programmes for people who are interested."
Describing their journey, the brothers said: "We covered all the different terrains in the UAE – from the open plains, where nothing grows and it is a cold, evil place, to the dunes of the Empty Quarter, then to longer dunes at Um Zamool south of Liwa, on to Al Ain where there was a beautiful lake, then north where we found a forest near the town of Filli, to the wadis and the mountains before reaching Fujairah."
Asked when he would submit his application for the record, Paolo said: "We will do so as soon as possible, but now we need some time to rest since we are very exhausted."