Erfoud, Morocco–After battling heavy snowstorms over the Atlas Mountains on Tuesday, competitors finally reached Erfoud, Morocco—the gateway to the Sahara Desert–to take the start line for the 25th edition of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles on Wednesday afternoon.
Excitement reaches new levels for the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles as 10 teams from the United States will compete in this year’s edition – slated March 20 – April 4. The grueling off-road rally has gained the well-deserved reputation as the toughest all-women’s sporting event as competitors drive and navigate across southern Morocco’s challenging landscape with only a compass, set of outdated maps, a ruler, and their strength as a team. A bucket list event, the field of American teams has doubled since 2014.
Lake Elsinore, Calif. – Team Kawasaki IMG Motorsports is just weeks away from their debut in the 25th Annual Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles in Morocco Africa, an all female race that doesn’t reward speed, rather a team’s skill at navigating the shortest distance point to point (without the aid of GPS).
Team Kawasaki IMG Motorsports will be challenged with plotting their route using only maps, a plotter and a compass on an unmarked course that can take longer than Sunrise to Sunset to reach the goal checkpoints in the day. Each morning they will receive their Map along with a Coordinate or Distance and Heading to checkpoint 1 and once there they will recieve a “Road Book” containing geographic coordinates and or headings and distance of the day’s checkpoints and last checkpoint of the day being their Bivouac where they do all they can to recover and prepare for the next day. The course is completely off-road and redesigned each year, making this rally not just physically exhausting but also mentally taxing.
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.”