The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles hosted its first US based event held at Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, CA Wednesday, September 25th. A small intimate affair, select media and business leaders celebrated the rally and honored the event’s founder, Dominique Serra who attended from Avignon, France.
The evening showcased all aspects of this significant women’s event with a mix of mainstream media, regional corporations, and past and future rally participants present. Guests included the rally’s title sponsor representative, Aïcha General Director Dan Devico, Qualcomm CMO and Rancho Valencia owner Jeff Jacobs, powerhouse sports agent Circe Wallace, representatives of ESPN and several San Diego radio and television reporters and personalities.
Attendees were treated to highlights on the history of the rally, its continued and significant support from King Mohammed VI, environmental initiatives and extensive humanitarian aid through the rally’s non-profit “Heart of Gazelles.”
The dinner was a creative farm to table menu prepared by resident Chef Eric Bauer. Guests were treated to a moving presentation by three-time rally participant Emily Miller and a Q&A by Ms. Serra who touched on her goals and passion for the globally successful event she launched 24 years ago.
Also in attendance was the Hoehn family – Bob, Karen, Susanah and Jo Hannah – of the San Diego based Hoehn Motors Group. Susanah and Jo Hannah will be representing the United States in 2014 as first time participants. Both women are no strangers to the automotive industry and manage Hoehn Land Rover and Honda dealerships. The sisters are carrying on the family legacy, which was founded by their great-grandfather in 1928 and is now comprised of eleven franchises in San Diego County.
Regarding her participation in the rally, Jo Hannah stated, “The Gazelle Rally is such an incredible opportunity for us on so many levels. The connection between cars and women is obviously something that we can relate to. From what I’ve learned, the Rally is a poetic combination of grit, elegance, and capability. Sounds a lot like Land Rover.” Her sister, Susanah, enthusiastically agreed: “I am excited to be a part of such a unique competition that showcases the mental, physical, and emotional fortitude of women on an international scale. The humanitarian and environmental aspects add even greater dimension to the rally.”
The Hoehns will join current pre-registered teams Rachelle Croft and Rhonda Cahill of X Elles Racing, New York-based Jo Marie Fecci and teammate Isabelle Nikolic, returning team Emme Hall and Sabrina Howells, and California-based Wende Owen and Katie Carlson.
The 24th edition of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles will begin in Paris, France with a ceremonial start at the famed Trocadéro Gardens across from the Eiffel Tower, and finish in the iconic coastal town of Essaouira, Morocco. Registration is currently underway for 2014 with a maximum of 150 teams. For more information on registration and media inquiries, please contact Kirsten Kuhn – Kirsten@soulsidenetwork.com.