The Gazelles are well and truly out of the blocks in Morocco at the Gazelle Rally, tearing up the sand and dodging camels.
Officially known as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, the Gazelle Rally has competitors ploughing through the sands of Morocco. This incredibly tough cross-country rally is open only to women & the competitors are known as Gazelles.
Muppets can shelve the rather pathetic “women can’t read maps” argument right now, because the very determined Gazelles spend these eight days in the Moroccan desert with no GPS in their vehicles. All navigation is done with a compass and map (the map is in French just in case it was sounding like a trip out to get a sammich). They receive a daily (very succinct) Road Book with the day’s course and have a series of checkpoints to hit.
The point of winning isn’t being the fastest, but actually going the shortest distance; the Gazelles get the best results by being smart and navigating brilliantly. The winning Gazelles team is the team with the least number of kilometres clocked.
Taking off at dawn each day, each daily course takes around 8-10 hours on average. Oh, and did I mention that the entire race is off-road? Just checking.
And what does the US Indiana Joans team (team 183 this year) have to say about the rally?
With determination as the only selection criterion, whatever their age, social background, nationality or experience, the participants in this rally come to experience a competition that respects the local populations and the environment.
This brilliant rally is in its 24th year and was founded by Dominique Serra with the following principles in mind:
Commitment, audacity, determination, courage, generosity and solidarity. The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles resonates with thousands of stories; it makes women more beautiful, and brings their true potential to light. More than 21 years later, the gamble has paid off.
Another great aspect of the Gazelle Rally is the Coeur des Gazelles (Heart of Gazelles). 25% of the rally fees go to the non-profit arm of the rally that provides medical and educational services to people in the most remote parts of Morocco.
It’s brilliant, brilliant stuff. Go Gazelles!
This year there are three competing categories covering quad bike / motorbike teams, 4WD / truck teams and crossover teams. Crossovers are your standard smaller SUVs, with vehicles like the Renault Duster competing.
If you’re an Instagram fan like us, go check out #gazellerally and @usagazelles and @mmmotorsports for epic selfies, action shots and behind the scenes pics. For live coverage of the Gazelles in action, head here.