The Gazelles of Morocco are preparing for a March 2011 run through the desert, and American Emily Miller, off-road racing champion and member of the Rod Hall Racing team, intends to join them. From where I sit, it looks like she is planning to lead the harem.
The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles is the only all-women rally in the world. Since 1990, the annual event has brought women of varying ages (18-66) from 33 different countries, social backgrounds, and levels of experience together in the Moroccan desert for nine days of old-fashioned, off-road driving with nary a GPS or other form of 21st century navigation in sight.
With a new teammate--navigator and six-time Rallye Aïcha competitor Armelle Medard of France--Miller is preparing for her third adventure across the great Sahara. Once again, she'll sit behind the wheel of a HUMMER.
After Miller's fantastic ride last year, Paul Chedid of Paul Chedid Automotive of France offered her the use of the 2006 Hummer H3. Without hesitation, Miller accepted.
"From what I can tell," says Miller, "Morocco is France and Spain's version of our Baja." Miller would know. She won the Stock Mini class at the 2009 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. She drove a HUMMER H3.
For those of you who followed the road challenges of the U.S. Gazelles last year here at AutomotiveTraveler.com, we will once again "take you there" for the 2011 dune drive. We will chronicle the progress of Team Miller Medard, an American driver and French navigator, as they tackle the 21st edition of this unique contest.
Miller's enthusiasm has even inspired other U.S. women to join the fun. Over the next few weeks, I'll give you a glimpse into the training and other preparations surrounding these adventurous ladies as they rally their determination and focus for Morocco.
Boy, would I love to cover this awesome event in person. Care to sponsor me? Donations can be pledged via the comments section. Alas, just kidding! Stay tuned.--Carmen Madrid