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Rally Aicha de Gazelles: Days 7 and 8

By Helene Clemenson

Morocco World News

Erfoud, Morocco , March 29, 2013

The ultimate race of the RAG was more difficult than expected for all Moroccan gazelles. More feared than the dunes of Merzouga, Shegaga and its infinite sandbanks gave a lot of problems to more than one crew. On Wednesday a snowstorm struck the region, making navigation extremely difficult and many had to rethink their strategy.

Rally Aicha des Gazelles, Day Eight in Zegoura. Team 315 (picture by Helene Celemenson for Morocco World News)

Crew number 193, despite the sandstorm of the first marathon stubbornly left from beacon 4. They tried to navigate through the thick cloud of sand with an unusual technique. One drove while the other walked alongside the vehicle to give her directions … which has earned them the nickname “psycho-path”

“Psycho” for the one willing to drive in such awful conditions, “path” for the one showing her the way.

Rally Aicha des Gazelles, Day Eight in Erfoud. Picture by Helene Celemenson for Morocco World News)

Once the sun had risen, they attacked the dunes as real pros and impressed themselves. Slaloming between sand mountains as if they were born there! “We were very good… that’s all, but we didn’t validate any beacon.” There was relief and especially tears at the finish line. It was epic.

Dounia and Alba (crew 227) suffered the same bad weather yesterday but adapted their strategy. Instead of aiming for the most difficult route, they chose the normal one, which was a clever choice given the number of accidents, breakdowns and problematic situations the other ones faced. They were able to validate all their beacons and return before sunset. Great result for the girls of Meknes and Rabat who had started with a flat tire.

Rally Aicha des Gazelles, Day Eight in Erfoud. Picture by Helene Celemenson for Morocco World News)

Eva and Chris (crew 193) did as usual: no problems, regularity and consistency in the race worthy of the best of the rally, a real pride. Their simplicity and humility are an example of life and competition to look up to. Always calm, smiling and elegant, one could read a certain air of well-deserved pride on their faces at the finish line. The results, expected tonight, might be very good for them.

The Dacia 315 driven by our gazelles from Tangier made it! They finished the race with a smile and tears in her eyes. What an adventure for these two girls who embody the new generation of business women in Morocco: young, smiling, determined and persevering.

Rally Aicha des Gazelles, Day Eight in Erfoud. Picture by Helene Celemenson for Morocco World News)

They encountered many troubles on their way, but the accomplishment of this challenge is a real inspiration and pride for all. One must experience what they went through to understand their journey. Congratulations to them!

For crew number 119 : “Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!” shouted Caro at the camp.

They were super happy with their performance at the marathon, and for good reasons: they validated all their beacons on Wednesday and Thursday. There was no better way to finish this rally. They were in the mood to party tonight at the bivouac, even though some of their fellow gazelles were still in the dunes at 7pm.

Rally Aicha des Gazelles, Day Eight in Erfoud. Picture by Helene Celemenson for Morocco World News)

Our beloved crew number 176 very poorly finished the race. On Wednesday afternoon, between fatigue and lack of visibility due to the sun, the girls had troubles in a turn on the dunes and found themselves on the side.

 Our gazelles, Bénédicte and Jamila had to camp near the accident to welcome mechanical assistance in the morning. Mechanics were unfortunately unable to do anything to repair the damage: they had to be towed to the bivouac and lost their hope for a good ranking. In the end, despite this accident, they are both safe and sound and delighted with this second experience of the rally.

Rally Aicha des Gazelles, Day Eight in Erfoud. Picture by Helene Celemenson for Morocco World News)

Céline and Julia of crew 197 were unfortunately not able to validate their beacons. They lost time returning to the dunes. They came back to their bivouac very disappointed with the result, a feeling they quickly forgot as soon as they reached the camp’s dance floor!

And so ends the RAG 2013. These memories will forever be on our Moroccan gazelles’ minds, they are proud of the way they raced and so are we. They have shown exemplary courage and unfailing determination … an example to follow for many. We especially hope that more Moroccan women participate in the challenge next year. The organization was like clockwork and Dominique Serra’s teams were able to make this edition a success.

Rally Aicha des Gazelles Days four and five. Photo by Clemenson Helene for Morocco World News

Moroccan authorities must also be thanked for the way they ensured the safety of all teams and staff. It is a real pleasure to be in such a beautiful country where you can always enjoy the freedom to explore. A big thank you to all those women, who thanks to their amazing accomplishments gave us much pleasure during these few days.

A big thank you to Morocco World News for covering the daily activities of the RAG for the second consecutive year. Let’s not forget the saying “those are emancipated women, who will give birth to generations of free men!”

Edited by Louise Riondel

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