Off-road rallies take place in a huge, desolate automotive ground and are generally held using contemporary GPS and navigation equipment, and are usually dominated, by male racers. Being the only women’s rally raid in the world that is entirely off-road, the Rallye Acha des Gazelles du Maroc is a one-of-a-kind event, which began in 1990. From the beginning, the Rallye Acha des Gazelles du Maroc has pioneered a unique approach to racing with no GPS or speed but only depending on old-fashioned navigation. The rally’s contestants, known as “Gazelles,” are prohibited from using any mechanical support or deviating from the most straightforward route between checkpoints.
This year, from September Giti Tire, will be introducing their collaboration with the all-women ‘Giti Gazelles’ team in the renowned Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles desert rally held in Morocco. This off-road rally will not only be a thrilling driving action emphasising women empowerment in the automotive sector but will also include several community support activities.
Excellence of the Giti Gazelles team in Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles
With experienced racer Helen Tait Wright and adept navigator Sue Alemann, the Giti Gazelles team is all set for the upcoming off-road rally in the Moroccan desert. Helen and Sue are particularly enthusiastic about their continued collaboration with Giti, as well as the forthcoming Rallye des Gazelles in Morocco in September.
Helen was raised on a farm in England and has worked in the creative industry for most of her adult life, but has always been a vehicle enthusiast. She will be competing in the Rallye des Gazelles for the second time in 2021, after 2019. Quoting from her reminiscence of the first attempt, there is truly nothing that can prepare someone for the race as every time it will bring a unique experience and challenges to overcome. The rally lasts for 15 days where participants start in France and take a boat to Morocco on the 10th day to drive south to the Sahara.
Being a consultant by profession and an explorer by passion, Sue is originally from New Zealand and will be navigating the Sahara for the very first time. She learnt to navigate in the seas near Auckland, a talent she previously has demonstrated while off-shore cruising in the northern hemisphere. While Helen is the pilot and she is the navigator, they are equally cross-trained and therefore can fill in for one another if necessary.
The most important point to realise about the rally is that it is a long-distance event, where participants are only provided with maps, a compass, and a checklist of places to explore. Typically, the race begins with six vehicles travelling in separate directions, and it is plausible that one of them may wind up at our opposition’s checkpoint, so precision is critical here.
Introducing Priscilla – the Land Rover Defender 110
Equipped with a Giti 4×4 AT70 tie, Helen’s prestigious Land Rover Defender 100, Priscilla is all set for the forthcoming desert rally. The latest Giti4x4 AT70 design is engineered to provide SUVs and 4×4 vehicles maximum operational flexibility, enabling them to manage both highways and harsh off-road situations. The tire is particularly engineered to cope with the roughest circumstances with stability and endurance in consideration, featuring a unique crowned block type pattern design influenced by tanks.
Significance of Rallye Aicha des Gazelles
Originally intended as an advertising campaign and to remove preconceptions, the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles has grown to become one of Morocco’s biggest prominent sporting events. With just a compass and a 1:100,000 scale map to determine their path between checkpoints, the competitors must travel a maximum of 2,500 kilometres through dried-out streams and rivers, shock-absorbing rocky plains, and the vast dunes of the south-western Sahara. The winning team is determined based on the one that has gone the least kilometres between checkpoints in the shortest amount of time, without the assistance of any GPS, binoculars, or mobile phones.
The navigators in the Gazelle are only provided map coordinates where the teams need to calculate their position and direction using only compasses and math. The straight-line journey per day can be up to 200 kilometres, stretched out among 5 to 7 checkpoints over a variety of terrain. The aim is to travel as little as feasible to the checkpoint. Although speed is important in time management, it is not the primary objective in Gazelle.
Based in Singapore, Giti Tire has been one of the leading tire companies, providing an extensive array of tire goods – ideal for any motorsports team, automobile manufacturer, tire dealers, customers and more. With Giti’s participation in the Rallye des Gazelles in September, Helen and Sue will be seen in the driving action with their Land Rover Defender 110, equipped with the brand new Giti 4×4 AT70.