The Rally of Morocco (Rallye du Maroc) is the final round of this year’s Rally Raid World Championship for both motorcycles and cars.
And whilst this year’s title for bikes has already gone to Sam Sunderland (Red Bull KTM), there’s no shortage of competitive spirit in the entrants.
Rallye du Maroc is considered the warm up event for the famous Dakar Rally that is held in January each year and is equally as tough.
It’s a 6 day event starting in Fes, and during Stage 1 the competitors will head to the bivouac in the heart of the desert at Aoufous.
From there they will head out on 3 loops for Stages 2-4 before returning to Fes on day 5. In total, the entrants in the FIM World title categories will cover over 2,500 km – 1,800 of those being special stages.
For those competing in the Enduro Cup and SSV categories the journey is a little shorter – just over 2,300km in total.
There are 62 riders entered across the 2 motorcycle categories including 5 Australians – 2 times Dakar winner and former winner in Morocco Toby Price (Red Bull KTM); Mark Davidson, Benjamin Young and Troy O’Connor from the Duust Rally Team and Albury rider Andrew Houlihan (Nomadas Adventure/Sherco 450).
For Andrew Houlihan, the 2019 Rallye du Maroc is one of several rallies he has entered in his preparation for taking on the Dakar in January 2021.
He already has many successes in motocross to his name and experience in other international desert rallies – Hispania, Hellas and the recent Pan Africa rally. But Andrew says this rally is like no other event he has ever participated in.
Andrew has recently launched a new website (roadtodakar.com.au) where followers can catch up on the latest news from this rally and others he is competing in, and follow his journey to the Dakar in 2021.
It’s also Andrew’s first run with some of the big names who regularly compete in the Dakar.
And this year the rally has attracted the participation of high profile ex Formula 1 driver Fernando Alsono.
Alonso is competing with the Toyota Gazoo team alongside 3 times Dakar winner Nasser Al Attiya. His co-driver is Marc Coma, a five times Dakar winner for KTM and the current race director of the Dakar Rally.
He will decide after this event whether to continue and enter the 2020 Dakar.
The 2019 Rallye du Maroc runs from the 3rd to 9th October, with the first competitive stage being the 5th October.
Rallye du Maroc Statistics
- 2596 kilometres for FIM bikes-quads and FIA cars, of which 1868 kilometres are special stages
- 2309 kilometres for the Enduro Cup, SSV and Open categories, of which 1425 kilometres are special stages
- 60% new tracks for 2019.
- 195 people on the organisation team, spread over 64 vehicles
- 2 opening cars
- 2 helicopters, 1 of which is medical
- 24 doctors, osteopaths, physios and nurses
- 55 accredited journalists
- 20 people dedicated to communication and TV production with a daily 6 minute round up and a 7 minute magazine
- Broadcasting of a ‘Rallye du Maroc 2019’ programme on 68 TV channels in 190 countries.
- 5 cameras on the track, 6 onboard systems
- a 70,000 m2 bivouac, with showers and toilets, a catering area and chill-out zone
- 500 beds in the bivouac
- 5600 meals will be served in the bivouac
- 2 outside concerts in Erfoud and Fès