Morocco Desert Challenge History
How a small rally, with 50 participants, grew to be the 2nd biggest in the world and on African soil.
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Morocco Desert Challenge History
How a small rally grew to be the 2nd biggest in the world.
It all started in Libya, March 2008. Back then, the rally was called Libya Desert Challenge, and its first participants were a small group 50 pioneers, who dared to take on the challenge across Libya’s desert terrain.
After the first event, the rally grew in numbers, up to 110 participants in 2009, with riders from Great Britain, Italy, France, Romania, Belgium, and the Netherlands, thanks to the amazing stories about the beauty of the Libyan desert and the adventures they had. A new rally had been born and it was fully supported by the Libyan authorities with fuel, a big Agusta helicopter, and military assistance on CP’s and the recovery of stranded motorbikes.
By the year 2010, the event had become a huge success, with no less than 160 pilots, co-pilots, and mechanics. However, due to political instability in Libya at the time, the rally had to be moved to Tunisia. As a temporary home, the Tunisian desert proved to be an exciting playground for the participants, thanks to the roadbooks made by race director Jean-Claude Kaket. After seven days of competition and fun in the 2012 event in Tunisia, the competitors vowed to come back if the organizers would find a new home for the rally. On that day, the 'Libya rally goes to Morocco – 2012' was born.
Morocco, the rally’s new home had a lot to offer: technical mountain tracks long untouched beaches, vast desert, and golden dunes. With an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm, the rally grew once again, to a new record of 300 entries for the 2014 edition, in which race trucks made their first appearance. In 2015, the number of participants kept growing, this time with 400 entries, and because of the sheer growth, the next logical step for the organizers was to professionalize the event by collaborating with French company ERTF, and introducing GPS UNIK 2 and Sentinel. The success of the event in Morocco drew the attention of former and future competitors. In 2016, the rally was the first of its kind to literally cross all of Morocco, starting from Agadir’s Atlantic coast and finishing at the Mediterranean coast.
In 2017, the rally reached new heights. The name Libya Rally was replaced with the more fitting, Morocco Desert Challenge. Also, a new trend was introduced: Zero KM Liaison. The one thing that was disliked by everybody in rallies was now taken away. The liaisons and the road sections were reduced to zero. Every start and every arrival of the special stage was in bivouac. This unique concept made the number of participants grow with another 20%.
After years of getting the job done without any sponsors, for its 10th edition and anniversary in 2018, Morocco Desert Challenge has signed a partnership deal with Rymax Lubricants, in which the aim is to help take the event to new heights. As the main sponsor, Rymax will be prominently featured in the rally and what makes this edition extra special for the company, is that the CEO of Rymax Lubricants will also be taking part in the event, for the very first time.