The rich history: 10 years of rally-raid
Our first rally was held in March 2008, by the name of Libya Desert Challenge. A group of some 50 pioneers, with Henk Knuiman, Peter Merceij, Hubert Deltrieu, Marco Piana, Abdelhamid ‘Mido’ Abouyoussef and Roberto Musi amongst others, wrote history that year. Thanks to the stories these adventurers of the very beginning, about the incredible beauty of the Libyan desert, the number of competitors rose to 110 in 2009. Riders from Italy, France, Great Britain, Rumania, Belgium and the Netherlands found their way to the new rally paradise. The Libyan authorities supported the event with fuel, soldiers to assist on CP’s and recover stranded motorbikes, and a big Agusta helicopter.
After the 2009 success the entries for the 2010 edition were booming. No less than 160 pilots, co-pilots and mechanics were eager to join. Everything was set and ready until only three weeks to the start Libya closed the borders for all inhabitants of the Schengen countries. With huge effort the organisers managed to move the rally to Tunisia in just two weeks’ time.
In 2011 it was the ‘Arab Spring’ that put a spoke in the wheels. Returning to Libya was out of the question and the next edition of the Libya Rally was postponed to 2012, in Tunisia once more. The roadbooks, made by the new race director Jean-Claude Kaket were perfect, over 180 pilots and mechanics made a wonderful competition and the atmosphere was better than ever.
After seven days of competition and fun all competitors made a vow to come back if the organisers would find a new destination. On that day ‘Libya rally goes Morocco – 2013’ was born.
A new home
The huge variety of landscapes and tracks made the first Libya Rally in Morocco a success. The new host had a lot to offer: technical mountain tracks, long untouched beaches, vast desert, and of course high, golden dunes. The enthusiasm was overwhelming and the wonderful reactions of the competitors helped us to a new record: 300 entries for the 2014 edition, in which race trucks made their appearance as well.
In the 2015 edition – with 400 entries – the organisation made the next logical big step in professionalization of the event by collaborating with the French company ERTF and the introduction of GPS UNIK 2 and Sentinel. Again it turned out a successful cross country, this time with its finish line in magical Marrakesh. More and more former and future competitors of the Dakar Rally found their way to the ‘Moroccan Libya Rally’ and highly appreciated the event.
A real cross country
In 2016 the rally was the first of its kind to literally cross all of Morocco, starting from Agadir’s Atlantic coast to finish at the Mediterranean coast.
A new name & ZERO KM Liaison
In 2017 the name Libya Rally was finally replaced by the more appropriate Morocco Desert Challenge. And also a new trend was introduced: we took away the one thing which everybody dislikes in rallies: the liaisons, the road sections were reduced to zero. Every start and every arrival of the special stage was in the bivouac. This unique concept made the number of participants grow with another 20%.
What once started in Libya as a small rally with 50 competitors, mostly ordinary 4×4’s and a few endure bikes, had grown into an internationally respected rally raid, the biggest in Africa, with over 600 people in the bivouac.