Saturday, April 20, 2024

2024 Morocco Desert Challenge focused on “fun, safety, and 200% adrenaline”

The Morocco Desert Challenge returns for a ninth edition from 11 to 20 April, and organisers hope it will be both an exciting and safe adventure following tragic events that overshadowed the 2023 race.

After co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter and rider Bram van der Wouden died during the 2023 MDC, the former in a fiery accident when his side-by-side was hit by another car and the latter from heat stroke, the 2024 edition has increased measures to ensure competitor safety. All registrants are required to pass a cardiac evaluation within the past year, while riders must wear an airbag vest and undergo medical tests while refuelling during each stage. The Malle Moto class for riders competing without teams, which van der Wouden was in, has been dropped. To mitigate the risk of another crash like Lichtleuchter’s, side-by-side vehicles are now limited to a top speed of 135 km/h.

Although the entry list has been capped at 200 from the usual 300, the race still expects to see roughly 850 to 900 people in the bivouac. Race days will start earlier than usual at 7 AM, which gives teams more time to work on their vehicles in the evening and for rally officials to check on the course.

To reflect these new policies, MDC general director Gert Duson told The Checkered Flag that the race’s goals for 2024 are to promote “fun, safety, and 200% adrenaline.”

155 teams across six categories are signed up, with fifty-three SSVs leading the fray ahead of forty-four cars, thirty-five bikes, and nine trucks. The other sixteen are in the non-competitive Raid classes, which run on an adjacent route from the Rally side.

Duson anticipates the SSV battle to be South Racing Can-Am versus everyone else. One of the top teams in the World Rally-Raid Championship, South will be facing a litany of drivers ranging from Dakar Rally Truck competitors Mitchel van den Brink and Gert Huzink, the husband-and-wife duo of Erik and Anja Van Loon, and W2RC SSV regular Enrico Gaspari. Fernando Álvarez, who finished third in the 2023 FIA European Baja Cup, will spearhead South’s effort. Van den Brink, who finished third in Truck at the Dakar Rally in January, is the defending SSV winner.

Mathieu Serradori headlines the Cars after holding off an onslaught of MD Rallye Sport Optimuses to win the 2023 race in his Century CR6-T. Now upgrading to the CR7, he renews his rivalry with MD racers like runner-up Simon Vitse. The Toyota Hilux, a W2RC powerhouse, also hopes to spoil the party as well as Red-Lined Motorsport’s Nissan VK line.

With Victor Versteijnen not defending his Truck crown, Igor Bouwens hopes to break through in 2024 on that side after finishing second.

A month after setting the altitude world record on a motorcycle, Pol Tarrés is one of the top names among the MDC’s Bike entrants. He finished third in 2023 behind Dakar racers and Sherco factory riders Lorenzo Santolino and Rui Gonçalves, neither of whom return for 2024. With Sherco out of the picture, Yamaha hopes to lead the way with Tarrés, Rodney Faggotter (fourth in 2023), and Stephane Poulet. Yamaha is also contributing heavily to the Bike Raid side with all but one of six riders participating in the Ténéré Spirit Experience.

Amine Echiguer, who won the Carta Rallye in Morocco in February, hopes to challenge the Yamahas.

Although not part of the W2RC or other international championships beyond the domestic series, the Morocco Desert Challenge is a recognised event by the FIA via the Fédération Royale Marocaine des Sports, which allows FIA members to take part without consequence even if the race is not overseen by the sanctioning body. Many competitors use the MDC as additional practice for the Dakar Rally, which takes place in the desert-heavy Saudi Arabia, without having to enter the W2RC.

Administrative checks will begin on 11 April at Place Al Amal in Agadir and run for two days before racing commences on 13 April. The rally will head from “coast to coast”, beginning along the Atlantic coast before concluding after eight stages by the Mediterranean in Saïdia, covering roughly 1,959 kilometres in Selective Sections.

Credit: Morocco Desert Challenge

2024 Morocco Desert Challenge route

Stage Start Finish Selective Sections Road Sections Date
1 Agadir Plage Blanche 85 km 282 km 13 April
2 Plage Blanche Tadachacht/Assa 363 km 66 km 14 April
3 Tadachacht/Assa Tissint 361 km 0 km 15 April
4 Tissint Tazzarine 261 km 108 km 16 April
5 Tazzarine Merzouga 261 km 0 km 17 April
6 Merzouga Merzouga 205 km 0 km 18 April
7 Merzouga Borj de Bel Fraïssat 310 km 140 km 19 April
8 Borj de Bel Fraïssat Ain Bni Mathar 113 km 166 km 20 April

Entry list

Bikes and Quads

Number Rider Team Vehicle
101 Rodney Faggotter Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team Yamaha Ténéré 700
102 Matthew Roach Desert Rose Racing KTM 500 EXC-F
103 Richard Dors Desert Rose Racing KTM 450 Rally Replica
104 Hugo Raes Raids Aventure et Sport Husqvarna FE 450
105 Lucas Raes Raids Aventure et Sport KTM 450 EXC-F
106 Giorgio Papa Jazz Tech Off-Road KTM 450 EXC
108 Amaury Baratin Horizon Moto 95 KTM 450 Rally
109 Fernando Moctezuma Nomadas Adventure KTM 450 Rally
110 Attilio Fert France Road Book KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica
111 Benjamin Bourdariat RS Concept KTM 450 EXC-F
112 Amine Echiguer Maroc FRMM KTM 450 EXC-F
113 Pol Tarrés Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team Yamaha XTZ690D
114 Jason Adams Nomadas Adventure BMW 850 Rallye
115 Dennis Mildenberger Nomadas Adventure KTM 450 Rally
116 Bertrand Gavard RS Concept Husqvarna 450 Rally Replica
117 Marek Lój Perfectmoto.pl Yamaha Raptor
118 Xavier Cailhol Rev2Gos KTM 450 EXC
119 Clement Artaud France Road Book KTM 450 Factory
120 Pierpaolo Vivaldi Jazz Tech Off-Road GasGas RX 450F Replica
121 Valentin Sertilhanges Horizon Moto 95 KTM 450 RALLY
122 Stephane Poulet Ténéré Yamaha Rally Team Yamaha XTZ690D
123 Erik Orlanzzini Nomadas Adventure KTM
124 Fraser Woolley Desert Rose Racing KTM 500 EXC-F
125 Chris Walker Desert Rose Racing Beta RR 4T 480
126 Nemo Hvengaard Max Hunt Racing Husqvarna 450 Factory Replica
127 Guillaume Jaunin Nomade Racing GasGas RX 450 F Replica
128 Jason Lan Desert Rose Racing Beta 480 RR
129 Yunus Sahin Evasioni Rally Raid Services Fantic XEF Rally 450
130 John Rowley Desert Rose Racing KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica
131 Henrik Haldorf Halkaer Max Hunt Racing Husqvarna FE 450
132 Eric Coulaud Nomade Racing KTM 450 Rally
134 Patrick Heffron Desert Rose Racing Beta RR 4T 480
135 Oscar Skovgaard Soerensen Max Hunt Racing Husqvarna FE 450
136 Deniz Algun Evasioni Rally Raid Services Husquvarna FE 501
138 Pierrick Babin RS Concept KTM 450

SSVs

Number Driver Co-Driver Team Vehicle
201 Mitchel van den Brink Bart van Heun QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
202 Gert Huzink Rob Buursen QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
203 Fernando Álvarez Xavier Panseri South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
204 Erik Van Loon Sébastien Delaunay Van Loon Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
205 Marc Lauwers Wout Lauwers Art of Speed ML Can-Am Maverick X3
206 Stephane Zosso Caroline Zosso ZZ Kustom racing Can-Am Maverick X3
207 Carlos Vento Carlos Ruiz Patriot Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
208 Kees Box Renee Box QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
209 Godfried Lintjens Henk Schnackers De Lint Can-Am Maverick X3
210 Gert-Jan van der Valk Branco de Lange Arcane Racing Arcane T3
211 Ruud Vollebregt Milou Vollebregt QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
212 Anja Van Loon Wouter de Graaff Van Loon Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
214 Enrico Gaspari Aku Facundo Jaton R Team/TH Trucks Polaris RZR Pro R
215 Rene Van Eerd Joel Ebbers Van Eerd Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
216 Floor Meijer Rudolf Meijer QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
217 Pascal Seite Bernard Nanchen ZZ Kustom Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
218 Davy Lenaerts Koen Slegers Art of Speed SL Motorsport Can-Am Maverick X3
219 Roger Grouwels Sander Derikx QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
220 Patrick Becquart Ghislain Becquart Mercier Racing 2024 Can-Am Maverick X3
221 Janus van Kasteren Sr. Thijs Heezen Sr. Boss Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
222 Gerrit Meijer Nico Gründmann QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
223 Dario De Lorenzo Aldo De Lorenzo Furistradaitalia 0039 Polaris Pro R
224 Grzegorz Brochocki Grzegorz Komar Overlimit Can-Am Maverick X3
225 Felipe Fernandez Jonathan Lurquin One-Raid Can-Am Maverick X3
226 Bert Van Druten Patric Brinkman QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
227 Gregory Pichon Paul Pichon Mercier Racing 2024 Can-Am Maverick X3
228 Thijs Heezen Jr. Sam Van Kemenade Van Eerd Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
229 Stanislaw Kopczyk Artur Janda Perfectmoto.pl Can-Am Maverick X3
230 Willem Meijer Corné Christianen QFF Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
231 Henri van Steenbergen Daan van Ooijen Oryx Rallysport GPR Sport Oryx GPR22
232 Josep Rojas Almuzara Joan Rubi Montserrat Buggy Masters Can-Am Maverick X3
233 Artur Brzozowski Maciej Albinowski Perfectmoto.pl Can-Am Maverick X3
234 Adam Kus Marcin Pasek Akpol Recykling GRally OT3
235 Jori Panhuijzen Tom Panhuijzen Green Team Can-Am Maverick X3
236 Daniel Kersbergen Simon van der Heden Orange Bull GPR Sport Oryx GPR22
237 Peter Goossens Geoffroy Noel de Burlin Art of Speed ML Can-Am Maverick X3
238 Patrick Hillewaere Wim Vanmassenhove Art of Speed ML Can-Am Maverick X3
239 Hans den Ouden Dirk Goris Echt hé Can-Am Maverick X3
240 Rine Streppel Albert Kraai Arcane Racing Arcane T3
241 Jeroen van Kasteren Rik Vaessen Boss Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
242 Nick van Geloven Max Van Empel Racing team Strong Can-Am Maverick X3
243 Harrie Van Empel Stefan Van Ras De Run Trading Can-Am Maverick X3
244 Igor Klaja Łukasz Łaskawiec Perfectmoto.pl Can-Am Maverick X3
245 Richard Aczel Allan Harryman Arcane Racing Arcane T3
246 Stefano Bosio Paolo Sala Jazz Tech Team Polaris RZR Pro
247 Lenka Hlavata Nikola Verbicova Heels on Wheels Can-Am Maverick X3
248 Paolo Scalzotto Roberto Zattera Jazz Tech Team Polaris RZR Pro
249 Arno van Lieshout Duco Tollenaar Rally Team Oudewater Can-Am Maverick X3
250 Jose Maria Cami Matesanz Cristian Cami Matesanz Scuderia Actahotels Can-Am Maverick X3
251 Stefan Slootjes Sam Slootjes Slootjes Racing Can-Am Maverick X3
252 Wastl Bayer Stefan Henken utvparts.de Southracing T3 Widespec
253 Felix Plaza Mario Plaza Bemar Can-Am Maverick X3
254 Bastien Paquereau Benjamin Salah Human Sport Can-Am Maverick X3

Cars and Buggies

Number Driver Co-Driver Team Vehicle
301 Mathieu Serradori Loïc Minaudier Serradori Racing Team Century CR7
302 Simon Vitse Frederic Lefebvre MD Rallye Sport MD Optimus
303 Vincent Thijs Tom De Leeuw RT Offroad Toyota Hilux Overdrive
304 Mike van Eikeren Marcel Snijders MP Rallysport Century CR6
305 Ronald van Loon Erik Lemmen Oase Motorsport Red-Lined VK
306 Herve Toscano Christophe Crespo MD Rallye Sport MD Optimus
307 Maik Willems Robert van Pelt MP Rallysport Toyota Hilux Overdrive
308 Erwin Imschoot Olivier Imschoot IMS racing MD Optimus
309 Pedro De Uriarte Eduardo Vanzzini Mexico – Pedro Ford Overdrive
310 Rik Van den Brink Gydo Heimans SRT Century CR6-T
311 Vincent Vroninks Dave Berghmans Desert Foxx Red-Lined VK56
312 Christian Femont Christophe Van Dessel Desert Foxx MD Optimus EVO 5
314 Anne Schol Didier Dhondt Mexico Ford Cruiser
315 David Gerard Pascal Delacour Les fous du volant MD Optimus
316 Jan De Vos David Jansen Desert Foxx Red-Lined VK56
317 Antoine Galland Estelle Kazmierczak Off Road Concept Century CR6
318 Agostino Rizzardi Umberto Fiori Countrysideways Porsche 911 Carrera
319 Imre Varga Jozsef Toma Varga Racing Team Toyota Hilux Overdrive
320 Jos Bijnens Patrick Bijnens Bijnens Toyota Hilux
321 Hugues Moilet Mayeul Barbet Off Road Concept MD Optimus
322 Gregg Docx Jurgen Van den Brande Geolock Red-Lined VK50
323 Simon Tacx Mark Laan MP Rallysport Toyota Hilux Overdrive
324 Thierry Bunel Gourdy Antony Pes ST Racing Fouquet WB11Z5
325 Paul van Boekel Eddy Bens B&B Rallyteam Toyota Land Cruiser 100
326 Lieven De Brabant Lucke De Brabant De Brabant Rally Team Bowler Bulldog
327 Thierry Porte Jerome Doudard MD Rallye Sport MD Optimus
328 Ernst Amort Adolf Ruhaltinger Pircher Williams Land Rover Tomcat
329 Raf Van der Steen Kris Van der Steen Garage Robert Ranst Nissan Navara
330 Bart De Paepe Frank De Doncker Windox Racing Volkswagen Taro
331 Johan Jongen Bart Mignolet Desert Foxx Bowler Bulldog
332 Andrew Wicklow Kirsty Wicklow Peake Motorsport Toyota Hilux
333 Hartger Van loon Erik Van der zijden BLP Rally Bowler Bulldog
334 Holly Wicklow Dannielle Scarr Peake Motorsport Land Rover Defender
336 Sam Heyvaert Krzysztof Zolty Desert Foxx Red-Lined VK56
337 Gerard van lieshout Arno Van Bakel T4F Rallyteam Toyota Land Cruiser 200
338 Diego Delespaux Julie Verdaguer Dunbee by GRallyTeam Volkswagen TDI DB2
339 Marcel van de Kamp Arjen van Asselt Hamer Rally Team Rally Raid UK Desert Warrior
340 Hervé Quinet Marie-Laure Quinet Les Clérimois Auto Sport Barbry Factory Némésis V8
341 Nicolas Delencre François Béguin Dunbee by GRallyTeam Volkswagen TDI DB2
342 Evangelos Bersis Exarchos Konstantinos R Team / TH Trucks Mitsubishi Pajero
343 Aran Sol Carlos Santaolalla Factory Tub Toyota Land Cruiser KZJ95
344 Jerome Cambier Alain Brousse MD Rallye Sport MD Optimus
345 Luciano Andreetto Filippo Andreetto R Team / TH Trucks Mitsubishi Pajero Evolution
346 Wietse Tates Piet van Maris Kort door de bocht Bowler Wildcat

Trucks

Number Driver Co-Driver Mechanic Team Vehicle
501 Igor Bouwens Syndiely Wade Ulrich Boerboom Gregoor Racing IVECO T-Way
502 Eimbert Timmermans Marcel Blankestijn Koen Hendriks Ex-Dakar DAF 75
503 Claudio Bellina Andrea Bellina Ettore Vitali MM Technology IVECO Torpedo
504 Paul Verheyden Kurt Keysers Bjorn Burgelman Ex-Dakar DAF CF
505 Egbert Wingens Marije van Ettekoven Marijn Beekmans DDW Rallyteam IVECO Torpedo
506 Steve Ingels Arthur Ingels Victor Ingels RR Belgica MAN 480 TGA
507 Giso Verschoor Pascal de Baar Alfred Sturm Van Dongen Rally Sport Renault K520
508 Fons Jans Hans Heerema Renaldo Schrave Hamer Rally Team DAF FAV 75
509 Mike Panhuijzen Bert Van Loon Pieter Kuypers Green Team MAN TGA

Raid classes

Bikes

Number Rider Team Bike
451 Christophe Edouin Ténéré Spirit Experience Yamaha XTZ690
452 Laurent Edouin Ténéré Spirit Experience Yamaha XTZ690D
453 Marc Girardin Ténéré Spirit Experience Yamaha XTZ690D-B
454 Alexandre Gomes Ténéré Spirit Experience Yamaha XTZ690D-B
455 Franck Mutin Ténéré Spirit Experience Yamaha XTZ690
456 Herve Brice Patator KTM 350 EXC F

Cars and Buggies

Number Driver Co-Driver Team Vehicle
401 Laurens Meijer Robbert Visser QFF Racing Ford Raptor
402 Neil Bainbridge Ross Bainbridge BBB 4×4 Land Rover BBB SVO
403 Peterjan Verhaest Yves Spillebeen Q&S Motorsport Nissan Navara AT32
404 Guy Pasmans Ken Joris Escuderia Manuport Porsche 911 Tuthill
405 Freek van Erp Luuk Schmitz Always on the Move Mitsubishi Pajero
406 Henry Stenner James Harrason BBB 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser
407 Marien Vermeulen Wendy Kruijthof W&M Desert Adventure Jeep Wrangler
408 Will Flanders Mid Life Crisis TOYOTA Landcruiser Prado
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