San Diego, CA – The 23rd edition of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles concluded with a significant turn of events in the final hours of competition. The all women’s rally raid across southern Morocco lived up to its reputation as the toughest all women’s competition.
In total, 150 teams took part in the event, which took place March 16th-31st with teams divided into three classes: 4×4, Quad/Moto and Crossover. The event began in Erfoud, Morocco and from there competitors drove through Merzouga, El Beg’a, M’Hamid, Ihander, the highest dunes in northern Africa: Erg Chebbi and ended in Foum Zguid. In total the ideal combined distance ranged between 1200 to 1260 kms and estimated driving time of just over 80 hours. Two-person teams of drivers and navigators crossed the northern portion of the Sahara Desert completely off-road for nine days using only outdated maps, a compass and a ruler to guide their way. Cell phones and GPS units are strictly prohibited and personal support crews are not permitted. The goal is to reach set checkpoints in the least amount of distance with an optimal straight line. The team with the least amount of accumulated penalty points wins and competition days vary from rocky terrain, silty riverbeds, endless sections of camel grass to the famous dunes of Erg Chebbi and Erg Chegaga.