By Helene Clemenson
By Helene Clemenson
Morocco World News
Ihandar, Morocco, March 27, 2013
This marathon is a key test for the crews’ relationships. Here, they realize if they are truly made to agree on such a challenge. They spend more than 12 hours together in the car and must agree on navigation and piloting their vehicles out of difficult situations, camp side by side in places so remote that only trained and knowledgeable people can reach.
Those situations they live in 10 days, many people don’t experience in 30 years of friendship. It is also, it must be remembered, a pride to live in such a beautiful country as Morocco. Imagine 300 women who camp in a desert in the middle of nowhere, without once feeling threatened for their lives. Happiness at its best.
One incident particularly marked the 4th day of the race. Crews 224 and 176 were to stop at an inn in a small douar near Jbel Meziouda when a speeding moped hit a little girl. The whole village panicked and the girls immediately called the rally’s medical assistance which dispatched a helicopter to the scene.
In less than 15 minutes, the helicopter arrived with doctors and proceeded to her evacuation. Despite a head trauma, the little girl is safe. The event has marked our gazelles, who know that their assistance, reactivity and mobilization have saved a life.
The majority of our gazelles met between beacons 5 and 6 to spend the night together and admire the desert’s starry sky.
Crew number 119 (Caroline/Naima) came close to running out of fuel on Tuesday. Because of their small tank and kilometers wasted to find beacons, they had to return to the bivouac prematurely. As a result they only went to 8 checkpoints out of 10.
Bénédicte and Jamila (crew 176) made an unforgivable mistake. They failed to notice the course’s reversal between beacons 6 and 7 and lost 7 and a half hours. Seeing their route on the GPC tracker, they seriously struggled to find their way. This mistake cost them 70km in total. They were not able to validate the last beacon but given their navigation mistake, it is already amazing that they could find their way to the bivouac. Once at the camp, another problem arose: they could not open the trunk to unload their luggage.
Tired a few days ago, Celine (crew 197) is in great shape and feels much better. So much that she was not afraid to engage in the dreaded Oued Ziz, only 2 meters wide in some sections. The gazelles had to drive on narrow roads, between branches and rocks for over 10km. It was a “big” fear for her and the car was damaged in the process.
But nothing can stop them. A cold: no. A challenge in the desert: no … a 2 meter-wide canyon on quick sands: still not!
All is well for crew 227, nothing to report apart from “we miss home and our families, we hope to receive a lot of messages.”
Our beloved crew number 315 from Tangier, driving the Duster, has lost its advance. The first day of the marathon they changed a wheel to realize the next day that two of their rims were bent. They called technical assistance, and therefore lost a few places in the Duster ranking.
Families cannot imagine how happy the girls are to receive their messages. The gazelles read them to one another in the evening for motivation. With fatigue setting in, do not hesitate to send as many words of support as you can. “We never receive enough” said one of them.
Edited by Louise Riondel
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