2015 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

Chicks-Only Rally Through the Moroccan Desert

Sue Mead
Apr 29, 2015
Photographers: Nicole Dreon
Eat our dust! While we all love four-wheeling with the guys, this rally is for chicks only and, trust us, it’s not for sissies. It’s attracted so much attention in the last couple of years that the U.S. fielded 10 teams, the highest number ever, twice as many participants as last year’s event. The U.S. girls drove away with a class win, took home two first-time participation prizes, had four teams ranked in the Top 25 of the 4x4 Class, and were the first team to participate in the Quad/Moto/SSV Class. Chrissie Beavis of San Diego, California, and Alyssa Roenigk of Los Angeles took top honors in the Crossover category, one of the four classes. Teams included women with backgrounds that ranged from a Hollywood stuntwoman to a Dakar class winner, a former Wall Street trader, a Los Angeles producer, and stay-at-home moms.
Photo 2/11   |   Pre Drive Meeting
“It’s funny to be in a rally and all of the sudden you get up to speed and then there will be a camel in your way. We got going pretty fast yesterday, and then we were like, ‘Are those rocks moving?’ and four camels stood up. I think it will be a long time before someone tells me to turn left at the camel again.”
- Alyssa Roenigk, Crossover Class Winner
Considered the toughest all-women’s sporting event in the world, the off-road rally celebrated its 25th anniversary run with 158 teams representing 33 countries in the 9-day-long grueling contest of motoring and navigating across southern Morocco’s varied and challenging landscape, using only a compass, plotter and ruler, black and white maps that date from the ’40s to ’60s, and their skill and stamina as a two-person team comprised of a driver and navigator. The goal: to achieve the shortest distance between checkpoints, which are designated as 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. This year’s event marked the first time the rally included an “expert” division in the 4WD Class.
Photo 3/11   |   Race Flag
Founded by Dominique Serra, the Gazelle Rallye espouses women’s empowerment, environmental commitment, and support of the people of Morocco, with visits by medical teams and other specialists during the rally in addition to funding and assistance with building schools and other program initiatives. Among the rally’s awards are the United Nations’ Plant for the Planet and the only sporting event with ISO 14001 certification for its strict environmental practices. Serra was decorated as an Officer Wissam Al Alaoui in Morocco by King Mohammed VI for the positive impact the rally has on the country.

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