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MDC 2024: Return to the epic coast-to-coast route



Years ago, the Morocco Desert Challenge made history through its epic and legendary "Coast to Coast" route. A 3000km rally-raid adventure from Agadir and Plage Blanche at the Atlantic Ocean, to Saïdia at the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Almost everything Morocco has to offer, in 8 days of cross-country racing.

After 3 years of absence and a 2023 edition that ended in Merzouga, we have decided, at the request of many participants, to go 100% for the "full monty": The MDC2024 will once again connect both seas with new, challenging tracks.

The advantage of this route is the enormous variety: fast as well as technical sections, wide African plains, lots of dunes, salt lakes, river beds and the old, legendary Dakar tracks. Nearly all of the eight stages start and finish in the bivouac and liaisons are kept to a minimum.

In Saïdia, with the support of the Governor, all vehicles will be safely parked within the walls of the marina so everyone can enjoy a smashing final party at an all-inclusive 5-star hotel, included in the entry fee. And with the 2 international airports of Nador and Oujda nearby, and the port of Nador just 80 km from the hotel, transport is no longer a major concern either.

8 April 2024: end of Ramadan

  • 11 April 2024: day 1 of technical and administrative scrutineering in Agadir.
  • 12 April 2024: day 2 of the technical and administrative scrutineering in Agadir.
  • 13 April: Stage 1 (prologue with a start 80 km south of Agadir) and a liaison to Guelmin (bivouac 1)
  • 14 to 20 April: 7 challenging stages between Plage Blanche and Saidia.

Details of the route will be available on our website shortly after the first reconnaissance tour in September.


The days when high participant numbers were very important, are gone forever. For 2024, the focus is on 100% customer satisfaction and safety. This means we're reducing the number of allowed racers in some categories. We will limit the number of race vehicles to 200 (versus the 300 starting vehicles in 2023). However, the organisation will not downsize. Direct consequences of this are:

  • An earlier daily start (from 7AM) for everybody
  • More time for the service teams in the late afternoon & evening
  • Faster sweeper service in case of technical problems on track
  • More quality time with friends & fellow racers at the bar

Safety is also a huge focus for the next edition. A separate chapter will be dedicated to this in the next newsletter, but here are a few previews:

  • Compulsory cardio test (max 1 year old) during exercise for ALL participants in competition
  • Mandatory airbag vest for motorbike and quad riders
  • Limitation of maximum speed on SSVs to 135 km/h
  • Mandatory medical check at fuel point (km 200) for bikers
  • No more "Raid" participants on the race track


Are you in the mood for adventure and want a taste of rally driving but would prefer to experience it without the stress of the chronometer? Are you curious about the atmosphere in the bivouac in the evening when the racers arrive and the mechanics get to work? Would you like to learn how to drive and navigate in the desert without immediately investing in expensive racing equipment? Well, the Adventure Raid might be your cup of tea!
No time pressure, no stress, flexible daily distances, being able to enjoy the unique beauty of Morocco and, since driving is often done in small groups, a lot of fun.
New: As of 2024, you no longer start after the last race participant as was the case in the past, but you leave shortly after breakfast via parallel tracks. At your own pace, you cover about 70% of the race kilometres and arrive in the bivouac via a shortcut or a small stretch of tarmac.
No less than 4 crew members are fully at your disposal for help, extra explanations or, for example, a course in dune driving. Of course, you can also count on the assistance of sweeper trucks and/or helicopters if needed.
The Adventure Raid category 2024 is open to all types of vehicles: cars, trucks, SSVs and motorbikes. For the latter (motorbikes), some off-road experience is a must. Also next year, the MDC will be part of the Yamaha Ténéré Spirit programme. Those who register for this will also get a full day of off-road training for free, under the guidance of Loïc Minaudier, winner of the past Morocco Desert Challenge together with his pilot Serrradori.


As every year, registrations will open on 1 August. If you want to join us, do not hesitate and reserve your place because, as always, we apply the principle "full = full" (in 2020, 724 people registered on day 1) and the first rate is only valid until 31st August 2023. Check our website for more info and rates and than click on "registration".


With pride we present you the official promo trailer of the Morocco Desert Challenge 2024. Pump up the volume of your speakers, maximise the screen, switch off the light, sit back, relax and ... enjoy!

SARRC 2023: Special vehicle competitors showing their grit at tight Rally-Raid Championship battles

South African Championshiop - Special Vehicle category

After the challenging TGR 1000 Kalahari Botswana Desert Race held at Jwaneng in Botswana that produced new overall and class winners in the Special Vehicle Category of the SA National Rally-Raid Championship, a look at the championship standings shows that anything can still happen in the second half of the season.
With three of the seven rounds of the 2023 season now something of the past, the gauntlet has been thrown down and the challenge is on in the overall as well various class championships in the Special Vehicle Category.
The Botswana event produced a third set of new overall winners this season with John Thomson/Maurice Zermatten (Zarco Challenger) being victorious and, also winning Class A, but it is the defending champions, Tim Howes/Gary Campbell (Tim Drew Property Developments BAT Spec 4) who are still firmly in the overall lead (71 points) despite a somewhat disappointing desert race result.
Thomson/Zermatten, who missed the season opener, have moved up to second place overall (55 points) with Glen Theron/Craig Galvin (Moto-Netix Racing Can-Am Maverick) moving up to the third step on the overall podium (53 points), trailing the desert race winners by only two points.
A blanket of a mere six points covers the four teams from second to fifth place with the Mostert duo, Ian and his father Werner (Moto-Netix Racing Can-Am Maverick) dropping from second to fourth place (49 points) and sharing the same amount of points as Geoff Minnitt/Rodney Burke (Hydro Power Equipment Can-Am Maverick) making it three Class G teams in the overall top five.
In the Overall Special Vehicle Driver’s Championship, Lood du Preez (Farmers Meat Stryker) is sixth (36 points) followed by the leading Class P driver, Quintin Lessing (CRT) (31 points) after a successful outing to Botswana, with Ewald van Rensburg (Can-Am Maverick), who could not finish the race in the desert and Trace Price Moor (BAT Venom) who missed the Botswana event, both on 30 points.
The rest of the top 10 in the Overall Special Vehicle Navigators’ Championship consists of Brendon Smith (31 points) who sits next to Lessing in sixth place; Johan Scheepers, who reads the notes for Van Rensburg and Gareth Aiston, who partnered Price Moor at the Sugarbelt 400 both have 30 points; Junior Vardy (24 points) scored points next to Du Preez in Botswana and André Geldenhuys (20 points) in 10th place navigated for Kahlil Hussain (Class P) at the TGR 1000 Desert Race.
Consistency is the name of the game in the class championships and the battles are getting serious. With competitors also receiving an additional five points for starting a race and navigators swopping seats, the standings look somewhat different.
Three solid sets of results accompanied with good points ensure that Howes/Campbell are still in the lead in Class A (84 points) with Thomson/Zermatten (70 points) trailing them by 14 points. Du Preez (64 points), who made use of three different navigators including Vardy (42 points) are both third followed by Price Moor/Aiston (35 points) with Eugene Bierman/Pieter Visser (Bat Spec 2) fifth with 33 points.
The Class G championship has an interesting look with Moto-Netix Racing team-mates, Theron/Galvin, who are the leading Class G team in the overall standings and the Mostert duo currently sharing the same number of points (82) at the front of the Class G championship. Minnitt (78 points) is third in the Class G drivers followed by Van Rensburg (57) in fourth and Francois de Wit (27 points) who could also not complete the race in the desert with his navigator and brother, Neil, in fifth place.
Scheepers rounds off the Class G Navigators’ Championship podium (57 points) followed by Burke (50 points) and Gerhard Snyman (23) who sat next to Minnitt at the Sugarbelt 400. De Wit (22 points) is sixth with the rest of the teams still in the hunt for their first points of the season.
Lessing/Smith (32 points) are the Class P leaders followed by Hussain/Geldenhuys (29 points) and Grant Watkins/Mark Irvine (15 points) who only participated in the Sugarbelt 400 and won the class.
It is tight at the top and competitors aiming for the titles as well as for good positions overall and in the class championships, have their work cut out for them for the rest of the season. They will have another opportunity to add points to their scorecards on the weekend of 18 and 19 August when the SARRC travels to Parys for round four and five of the season.

Source: SARRC

SARRC 2023: Different winners, new leaders and small points margins predicts nail-biting second half of South African Rally Raid Championship

An extremely tough TGR 1000 Kalahari Botswana Desert Race produced new winners in the 2023 SA National Rally-Raid Championship and after the dust had settled and the championship points updated, the Production Vehicle Category shows new overall leaders. And with the halfway mark of the season in sight and with only small margins of points separating the teams from each other, an exciting second half of the championship is on the cards.
Ford made history when Gareth Woolridge/Boyd Dreyer (Ford NWM Castrol Ranger T1+) won the marathon desert race in Botswana and after a disappointing outing for Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings (Toyota DKR Hilux T1+), who went into the event as the Production Vehicle Category and FIA T1+ leaders, Woolridge/Dreyer pipped them to the post to become the new championship leaders.
Woolridge/Dreyer (86 points) lead Lategan/Cummings (71 points) by 15 points with Giniel de Villiers/Dennis Murphy (Toyota DKR Hilux T1+) keeping their third spot on the overall podium (68 points), trailing their team-mates by a mere three points. A third TGRSA team, Guy Botterill/Simon Vacy-Lyle (61 points) sticks to their fourth spot with only seven points separating them from their team-mates.
After a rocky start to the season, the runner-up result in Botswana for the second Ford NWM Castrol Ranger T1+ team of Lance Woolridge/Kenny Gilbert resulted in them jumping from 15th to fifth place overall (41 points). They are, however, only three points ahead of the new FIA T1 leaders, the defending champions Eben Basson/Leander Pienaar (#TeamHilux Rally-Raid) who fill the sixth spot overall.
Basson/Pienaar are followed by two more T1 teams level pegging on points (26) with Johan de Bruyn/Gerhard Schutte (Red-Lined Motorsport REVO) moving up in the top 10 while Johan and Sean van Staden (Renault Duster) are now also in the top 10.
Johan and Werner Horn (#TeamHilux Rally-Raid T1+) are still ninth and round off the top 10. They have the same number of points (24) as Jayden Els (King Price Xtreme SVR) who are 10th overall. Els made use of two navigators at the Sugarbelt 400 with his regular navigator, Elvéne Vonk as well as her stand-in navigator in KZN, Henry Köhne, who usually reads the notes for Gary Bertholdt and Albertus Venter, who sits next to Chris Visser (Red-Lined REVO T1+) all with 21 points behind their names. Venter is 10th; Köhne is 11th and Vonk 12th overall of the navigators.
Looking at the class championships where competitors are rewarded with five points for starting an event, Gareth Woolridge/Dreyer have also taken the FIA T1+ lead (101 points). They are followed by three TGRSA teams with Lategan/Cummings (92 points) second; De Villiers/Murphy (83 points) third and Botterill/Vacy-Lyle (76 points) fourth, while Lance Woolridge/Gilbert jumped to fifth place (60 points). Bertholdt/Köhne are sixth (43 points) with the same amount of points as Dewald van Breda/Stompie Mynhardt (CR6) who missed the Sugarbelt 400 but finished in the top 10 in Botswana.
The Horn brothers fill the eighth spot (40 points) after an up and down season so far with Visser/Venter, who dropped from fifth to 11th place in the overall standings after not scoring points in Botswana, also dropping down in the FIA T1+ championship where they are ninth (37 points). Lance Trethewey/Adriaan Roets (King Price Xtreme Century Racing CR6) missed the desert race and are 10th (29 points).
The lead in the FIA T1 championship has changed for a third time after the first three events of the season with the defending champions, Basson/Pienaar (101 points) the new leaders. They have opened a 20 point gap over De Bruyn/Schutte (81 points) with Nic Pienaar/Carl Swanepoel (Red-Lined Motorsport REVO), who could not earn points in Botswana, dropping from the lead to the third place on the T1 podium (68 points). Minimal points separate the four sets of competitors behind the two leading teams with the Van Staden father and son duo in fourth (67 points), only a single point further behind.
The musical chairs situation resulted in the standings behind them looking somewhat different. Els kept his fifth place in the T1 Drivers’ Championship (64 points), one point ahead of Fouché Blignaut (#TeamHilux Rally-Raid). Also in the top 10 are SARRC newcomer, Gerhard Heinlein (Red-Lined Motorsport VK56) in seventh (28 points); the German driver, Daniel Schröder (Nissan Navara) is in eighth place (27 points) after only scoring points at the season opener; the Dutch teenager, Pim Klasssen (Red-Lined Motorsport VK50) in ninth (25 points) after his first outing on African soil and finishing the desert race and Jurgen Schröder (Nissan Navara), who missed the Botswana event, in 10th place (22 points).
In the T1 Navigator’s Championship, Bertus Blignaut, who sits next to his brother, Fouché, rounds off the top five (63 points) trailing Van Staden by only four points. Vonk lost out on points completing only half of the Sugarbelt 400 due to ill health and is currently sixth (55 points) followed by Rudi Heinlein (28 points) in seventh place; Ryan Bland, who reads the notes for Daniel, in eighth (27 points); Wade Harris. who guided young Klasssen to the finish in Botswana and earned 25 points and Stuart Gregory in 10th after earning 22 points navigating for Jurgen.
The Du Plessis father and son team of Hendrik and Heinrich (Ford Ranger) kept their lead in the Class T championship after also winning the class in Botswana. They have 54 points and have opened a gap of 25 points to the Johnstone couple, Bernard and Minette (Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Ranger) who have only competed in the TGR 1000 Desert Race so far this season. Schalk Burger/Henk Janse van Vuuren (King Price Xtreme VW Amarok), who won the class in KZN, round off the podium (22 points).
Toyota is the leading Manufacturers Championship (301 points) followed by Ford (164 points) and Nissan (83 points) with Century (38 points) in fourth; Renault (26 points); SVR (18 points) and Volkswagen (three points).
If the first three rounds of the 2023 SA National Rally-Raid season are anything to go by, the remaining four rounds will produce more nail-biting action. The fourth and fifth rounds in Parys takes place on 18 and 19 August and one can be sure that the horses will be let loose with strong bits between their teeth and an outcome that cannot be predicted.

Source SARRC
Images: Plan C Production

Desert Race 1000 2023: One-Two for NWM Ford at desert race with Gareth Woolridge/Boyd Dreyer winning toughest race in years

History was made at the 2023 Toyota Gazoo Racing 1000 Kalahari Botswana Desert Race, the third round of the SA Rally-Raid Championship that ended on Sunday in Jwaneng, after three days of extremely tough racing when Gareth Woolridge and Boyd Dreyer claimed the victory in their NWM Ford Castrol T1+ Ranger. When their team-mates, Lance Woolridge and Kenny Gilbert finished second, the history books received another inscription.

Gareth and Lance, sons of Neil Woolridge who won the Toyota Desert Race in Botswana a total of three times including in a Ford Ranger in 2001, added their names to the list of winners while the victory drought for Ford, who last won in 2011, was broken.
Lance/Gilbert won the 61 kilometre Pirelli Qualifying Race on Friday, 23 June while Gareth/Dreyer were the winners of the second day and took the overall Production Vehicle Category victory as well as the FIA T1+ win after a grueling race that will be remembered as the ultimate test of man and machine.

After completing almost a thousand kilometres and racing for a total of 11 hours, 14 minutes and 33 seconds (Woolridge/Dreyer), only three minutes 42 seconds separated them from their team-mates with both teams having a relatively clean run on the final day.
They were joined on the podium by Guy Botterill/Simon Vacy-Lyle (Toyota DKR Hilux T1+) who started the final day from fourth position and arrived at the finish with a broken windscreen after hitting a vulture shortly after starting the second of the two 213 kilometre loops. Botterill/Vacy-Lyle trailed Woolridge/Gilbert by four minutes 37 seconds (11:22:52) and were followed by their team-mates and former winners, Giniel de Villiers/Dennis Murphy (11:39:23) who could not make up for the time lost due to electrical issues the previous day.

Fifth place overall belonged to an elated Eben Basson/Leander Pienaar (#TeamHilux Rally-Raid) who won FIA T1 (11:53:01) after not too many issues along the way. They were followed by two more FIA T1 teams that also completed the T1 podium. Johan and Sean van Staden (Renault Duster) enjoyed an uneventful and trouble-free race to finish sixth (12:03:03) while the young Jayden Els (19) and Elvéne Vonk (King Price Xtreme SVR) jumped from 20th position on the first day to being 13th on the second day and finally finishing seventh and winning the coveted Road to Dakar Challenge despite some mechanical issues along the way.


Johan de Bruyn/Gerhard Schutte (Red-Lined REVO) finished just off the T1 podium and were not too far behind in eighth place (12:19:30). Two more FIA T1+ teams rounded off the top 10 with Dewald van Breda/Stompie Mynhard finishing ninth (12:23:18) in their two-wheel drive CR6 while Gary Bertholdt ticked off yet another desert race finish, this time with navigator Henry Köhne (Renergen Toyota Hilux T1+) in a time of 12:39:52.

Two more FIA T1+ teams finished this extreme event although mechanical issues forced them to take time penalties to be able to fix their vehicles and continue with the race. The Horn brothers, Johan and Werner (#TeamHilux Toyota DKR T1+) were 13th in the category and seventh in class followed by Henk Lategan/Brett Cummings (Toyota DKR Hilux T1+). It was another desert race with no luck for Lategan/Cummings who started the day in third place, but a broken driveshaft causing damage to the wheel bearings resulted in the team limping home in 14th place.

In FIA T1, the Blignaut brothers, Fouché and Bertus (#TeamHilux Rally-Raid) completed their first Desert Race in Botswana and did so finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th place and rounding off the top five in the class after rolling their vehicle in the qualifying race then having to battle from the back of the field on the second day.

The Dutch teenager, Pim Klassen and navigator Wade Harris (Red-Lined VK50) experienced gearbox failure on the second day of the race and started the final day from the back, but the team completed their maiden national SA Rally-Raid event and finished 15th overall. Their team-mates, Gerhard and Rudi Heinlein (VK56) also conquered the desert and were 16th despite a few mechanical issues.

Class T was won by Hendrik du Plessis and his son, Heinrich (Ford Ranger) with the team coming home in 12 place after their first attempt at the desert race in Botswana (12:55:45). The Johnstone couple, Bernard and Minette (Neil Woolridge Ford Ranger) showed real determination and overcame everything the desert race threw at them to finish second in class and 17th in the category. Schalk Burger/Henk Janse van Vuuren (King Price Xtreme VW Amarok) broke an input shaft some 90 kilometres before the finish and were among the teams who could not see out the distance.

The tough TGRSA 1000 Desert Race also claimed Red-Lined Motorsport teams Chris Visser/Albertus Venter (REVO T1+) and Nic Pienaar/Carl Swanepoel (REVO) as well as Wors Prinsloo/André Vermeulen (Ford Ranger T1+) and the German driver, Daniel Schröder and Ryan Bland (Nissan Navara) in the Production Vehicle Category, while Saood Variawa/Danie Stassen (DKR Toyota Hilux T1+) were excluded on the last day after running in the top ten throughout the event. The team had an unfortunate coming together with Visser/Venter.
In the Special Vehicle Category, John Thomson and Maurice Zermatten came out tops with their Zarco Challenger winning the category and walking away with the Class A silverware after a solid performance during the three-day marathon. They finished the race in 13:01:52.

The Class A team shared the overall category podium with the winners of Class G, Geoff Minnitt/Rodney Burke (Hydro Power Equipment Can-Am Maverick) who finished second overall (13:44:13) while the Class P winners, Quintin Lessing/Brendon Smith (CRT) rounded off the podium (14:25:18) after a problem-free and enjoyable race.

Also in the top five were Glen Theron/Craig Galvin (Moto-Netix Racing Can-Am Maverick) who were fourth while they claimed the second place in Class G (14:40:29). They were followed by Lood du Preez/Junior Vardy (Farmers Meat Stryker) who finished second in Class A.

After not being able to complete the race on the second day, Khalil Hussain/André Geldenhuys pushed hard on the final day to finish as the Class P runners-up when they brought their Sandmaster home in sixth place. They were followed by Tim Howes/Gary Campbell (BAT Spec 4) who managed to finish third in Class A. Youngster Ian Mostert and his experienced father as navigator, Werner (Moto-Netix Can-Am Maverick) were third in Class G.
The TGR 1000 Desert Race was described as tough and extremely challenging with a good mix of tight and bushy routes as well as fast, open sections. The competitors and teams were full of compliments for the organisers and by all accounts enjoyed the 2023 experience in Botswana.

Source: SARRC
Images: Plan C Productions

Desert Race 1000 2023: Botswana drama, desert challenges for Red-Lined

Lead car eliminated, but three strong Desert Race finishes

Red-Lined Motorsport was relieved to bring three of its five entries home in an extremely rough, tough and incredibly demanding Botswana Toyota 1000 Desert Race, and this after their lead car had been taken out by an unfortunate and unnecessary accident over the past weekend.

That was an extremely tough race,” Red-Lined Motorsport team principal Terence Marsh pointed out. “Less than half the cars that started this event, finished in what proved to be a race of attrition. So we are happy to get three cars home in the end. It should really have been four finishers with two of these within the top 10 but we ended up losing out on a potential top 5 result due to a final loop accident.

“On the one hand, Johan de Bruyn and Gerhard Schutte propelled themselves into T1 class championship contention with an impressive fourth in class and eighth overall on their Botswana Desert 1000 debut. Our 18-year-old Red-Lined Academy driver Pim Klaassen impressed on his national debut alongside Wade Harris, and Gerhard and Rudi Heinlein delivered another steady performance to also finish their first Desert Race.

“The sad story however was Chris Visser and Albertus Venter’s Dragon Energy powered REVO T1+ being taken out on the final loop. They were badly rear ended while stationary at a mandatory road crossing stop. The impact destroyed the rear end of their race car and put an abrupt end to their top 5 charge.

“Nicolas Pienaar and Carl Swanepoel also endured a challenging weekend with their Super Energi powered REVO T1. Their race eventually came to an abrupt end on the final day when a high-speed puncture side tracked them into a concrete block, which tore left front wheel off their REVO.”

Johan de Bruyn and Gerhard Schutte were the best of the Red-Lined finishers in eighth overall and fourth in the FIA T1 class aboard their Red-Lined REVO T1. “We had a very good race,” Johan de Bruyn admitted. “It was a clean run besides the one puncture. This result sees us up to second in the T1 championship chase which ultimately was our target on my first time out in Botswana. So, all round a good outing on my Desert Race debut.”

Red-Lined Academy driver, Dutch teenager Pim Klaassen impressed as he overcame a few challenges to race home 6th in class and 20th overall on his Desert Race and South African Rally Raid debut aboard his DaklaPack Rallysport VK50. Father and son crew, Gerhard and Rudi Heinlein bounced back from a challenging Saturday to eventually finish 7th in class and 22nd overall after an otherwise untroubled race on their Desert Race debut aboard their Red-Lined VK56.

“While we are extremely disappointed with what happened to Chris Visser and Albertus Venter, let’s rather focus on the positives and salute our three pairings that managed to finish this incredibly tough event. Huge congratulations go to Johan and Gerhard, Pim and Wade, and Gerhard and Rudi on bringing it home in such technical and challenging terrain!” Terence Marsh explained.

“And as always, a really big shout out to our entire technical crew on another great performance in cold and demanding conditions. Now it is time to dust ourselves off and start gearing ourselves up for Rounds 4 and 5 of the Championship which takes place in Parys over the weekend of 18 and 19 August 2023.”

*Red-Lined Motorsport competes with premium strategic partners, the Penta Motor Group, BFGoodrich, Motul, Dragon Energy, OMP, ExpandaSign, Ingco Tools and Wheel Collision.

Source Red-Lined Motorsport via Motorsport Media

As a service to the sport we all love and follow, Rally-Raid Network posts numerous media releases from a wide variety of sources on our website. Due to the large number, and some times short time available, it is nearly impossible to review each public release. These articles are written by reporters or press officers who work for various organizers, teams, drivers, riders, and other parties, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rally-Raid Network.