The FIA World and Middle East Cups for Cross-Country Bajas and FIM Bajas World Cup will be cut short by a round. Due to the war between Israel and Hamas in neighbouring Gaza, Jordan Motorsport announced Sunday the Jordan Baja scheduled for 23–25 November has been cancelled.
Held since 2018, the Jordan Baja was supposed to be the season finale for all three mentioned series in 2023. Its slot on the calendar has changed multiple times since its inception, with the 2021 race being in March before shifting to February in 2022 followed by November for 2023.
The 2023 edition was originally planned for 2–4 November, where it was to be the penultimate event for the three championships, until it was moved back by two weeks and ultimately swapped slots with the Dubai International Baja to become the finale.
Dubai will now conclude the season on 9–11 November.
“Given the current geopolitical situation, the FIM and Jordan Motorsports (JMS) regret to inform that the organiser of the Jordan Baja has been forced to cancel the 2023 edition which was due to be held from 23 to 26 November,” reads a Monday statement from the FIM. “Unfortunately the circumstances mean that a replacement event can not be planned, so consequently the Dubai International Baja will now become the last round of the 2023 FIM Bajas World Cup. Hence no modification regarding the number of results counting for the final ranking will be made, with the six best results still being taken into account for the final 2023 classification.”
The FIA and FIM coordinate their Baja seasons together, meaning any changes in their joint races from one side apply to both even if the other party has not released a statement. As of this article’s publication, the FIA has not commented on the matter.
Jordan shares a border with Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. While the war is mostly on the Gaza Strip on the opposite side of Israel, clashes have also erupted along the borders with Lebanon and Syria. The Hashemite Kingdom is generally friendly with Israel and its allies, though King Abdullah has expressed grave worry about the war escalating further and condemned the displacement of Palestinians as a war crime. Jordan has also seen massive protests against the Israeli military campaign, which included attempts to storm the Israeli embassy in Amman last Tuesday.
Even if the conflict ultimately does not encroach on Jordanian land, its proximity provides security concerns that prompted the Baja’s cancellation. Jordan Motorsport, the country’s motoring federation, has also called off upcoming races such as the next round of the Mountain Dew Drift Championship and the Panorama Hill Climb. A similar justification was given in 2022 when the Rally Kazakhstan was dropped from the World Rally-Raid Championship due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine despite Kazakhstan’s deteriorating relationship with Russia.
While gone for 2023, the Jordan Baja is expected to return in 2024 as the last round for the World and Middle East Baja Cups on 28–30 November.