One of several American teams racing at the Ralleye des Aicha Gazelles in Morocco:
It’s called the toughest all-women’s sporting event in the world. The Ralleye des Aicha Gazelles has become legendary over the past 25 years for its off-road challenge in southern Morocco. I know off road. I know tough. And, having just completed the 9-day-long run across the Sahara, I can tell you it is tough. The average course is close to 1,500 miles over varied and challenging landscape using only a compass, plotter and ruler, and black and white maps that date from the 1940s to 1960s to find a series of checkpoints each day – days that ranged from 14 to 21 hours of non-stop driving and navigating.
I was honored to be asked by Mercedes-Benz to drive their all-new 4WD Sprinter van, along with my co-driver and navigator Shennen Marschner, a Sprinter sales rep for M-B. We took on the challenge as a two-person team along with 158 teams representing 33 countries. The goal: to achieve the shortest distance between check points, which are designated as either latitude/longitude or distance and heading, rather than speed. The contest measures precise navigation and driving skills, as well as vehicle competence, with no outside assistance or support teams during the competition…[Full Story]