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Bob Mullins   



Tuareg Rally

Tuareg Rallye 2009.

With about actual 186 vehicle in competition, the Tuareg Rallye 2009 will reach a new record. Because of the expansion of our capacities new entries for motorbikes, car and serviceteams are still possible. For 2009 we will be the biggest rallye in Africa. The actual list of starter, four months before the event, you will find at www.tuareg-rallye.com/starter2009.pdf 

Because of the big field of international drivers the main language of the Tuareg Rallye will be English. Members of our organisation are also speaking, french, italiano, spanish, dutch and of course german.

The organisation of the Tuareg Rallye 2009 will be depend out of 35 persons. Including 4 emergency doctor teams two paramedic teams, and four rescue trucks or cars.

As the years before, we will select an mix of beautiful landscape interesting pists and difficult offroad parts. The average driving time of the day will be between 4 and 9 hour. Depending to your driving skills and the drivergroup you select.

For more Information see www.tuareg-rallye.com 

Tuareg Rally 2008 Report by Anthony Brown

This years rally had a record Brit entry and was one of the best rallies I can remember. The overall number of entries had been reduced by 30% from previous years and two pre tours by the organisation meant there were plenty of new tracks for the competitors to find. The going was a mix of open tracks and shorter hard enduro sections with rocky climbs and technical navigation.

Overall the event was won by 6 times world MX sidecar champion Daniel Willemsen. The best overall Brit result was Mick Tomkinson who finished 6th. However there were 3 Brits in the top ten. Dave Salkeld was 8th and David Owen was tenth. Both Mick and Chris Hodgkinson jointly won a special stage on day seven of the rally. In the team event Team Brown 1 came Second and Team Brown 2 came forth.

Entries for the 2009 event opened on the last day of the rally and already there was a great deal of interest. Below is a daily report from the event and a picture of the British riders. The only missing rider from the picture is John Mitchenson who was in hospital in spain with some broken ribs and a damaged kidney, after a fall in the dunes. His conidtion is improving and he hopes to leave later in the week.

Day 1 Nador - Missor

The first stage of the 2008 Tuareg Rally was an interesting mixture of pistes with some tricky navigation which gave the drivers and riders an idea of what lies ahead for them. After a night of sleep on the ferry from Spain the rally quickly cleared the customs in Morocco and and was ready to begin a long day of racing. The route took the participants across the green open plans near the port and into the foothills which lead towards the mountains.

In the Moto Profi class the field was spread out shortly after the start by a difficult enduro stage. The riders had to tackle a long adverse chamber section followed by a long rocky climb. When they arrived at the top they were greeted by the first secret check point of the rally. For some of the riders this was enough for them to make the change from the profi to the amateur group. This was an ideal point for the organiastion to start to make footage for the video of the rally as many competitors were really finding the going difficult. The second part of the day was dominated by a short special stage which helped the drivers to tune their navigation skills for the coming days. Most of the competitors arrived in Missor in very good time and were able to service there in the light before dinner and the evening briefing. Pictures of the Rally can be found at www.Alfapix.com

Day 2 Missor - Mersouga

Today the rally has started to get into its daily rhythm. The competitors were up early to start a racing special stage which took them across the planes from Missor. At 8.00am the first Profi car left the start line. Competitors started in order of placing from yesterdays racing. It was a long and dusty special which had plenty of fast open riding, but everyone had to be careful to navigate well. Towards the end of the special the Moto Profi's split form the rest of the rally to tackle another enduro stage. This time it started out as a river bed, but soon got tighter. In the end the rider were in a very tight gully. From the secret check at the top of the gully it was interesting to watch how the riders approached the problem of getting out of the gully through the large rocks and to the check. After a short rest on the road and a fuel stop for some came a tricky navigation stage with some beautiful views to distract the competitors from there roadbook. Starting on the planes and finishing in a small oasis village. Everyone on the rally is starting to get a good feeling for morocco and its terrain. The last stage of the day was a racing special into Mersouga which will play host to the rally for the next 3 days. Starting again on open plans the route took in a narrow pass and the first of the small dunes on the way to the desert. There was a sting in the tail for all the Profi class's who had a taste of the real dunes when they arrived in Mersouga. They had three points to find in the Dunes and at one of the points was a secret check. By the end of the second day the rally had set up camp in three large Hotels in Mersouga backing onto the dunes of the Erg Chebbi. There was a really great atmosphere in the camp and although they are already tired everyone was looking forward to riding in the ergs around this area for the next few days.

Day 3 Mersouga - 3 Ergs

Todays stage was a trip around the local ergs. Starting about 16km from Mersouga the field got a quick awakening in the soft sands of the Erg Rissini. Hidden in the dunes were two secret checks which were the same for all the field. For some of the amateurs this was their first taste of the dunes and it would take them a while to find there feet. Some of the cars took around 2 hours to do the first 3 km. By the time they had left the dunes they were already more experienced in dune driving. After the first dunes the route took the participants across an open plane and into a small white track with banked sides that looks like a cresta run. Then onto some more open planes and to the foot of a table mountain. By the time the competitors had reached the first check point some were ready to call it a day. But for all classes there was plenty more to come. The Profi class had 2 more Ergs to tackle. Whilst the amateurs still had the Dunes of Erg Chebbi to negotiate. Watching from a distance you could see the occasional bike or car pop onto the top of a dune and you could hear the strain of the motors as the struggled up all the dunes. By evening in the camp there was plenty to do to prepare for the next day which is the King stage. A full day of Dune riding in the Erg Chebbi for those who can manage it. Generators and lights were running for a long into the night as the teams prepared there machines for the next day. (Mick Tomkinson, Thorsten Kaiser, Dave Salkeld and Chris Hodgekinson)

Day 4 Mersouga - King Stage

The King Stage is the most important day in the rally. For the Profi's a good performance on this stage is critical for the overall results. A Le Mans style start is followed by 4 long laps of dune navigation with different check points and secret check points on each lap. The idea is to just keep going as the time allowed for each lap gets less as the day goes on. The competitors need plenty of rest and to carry plenty of water as the day is long and exhausting. For the Amateurs there is one long and challenging lap which will test there driving / riding skill as well as there dune navigation. The start was really impressive and the riders were fighting for position into the first sections. The overall winner of the King Stage was the Sidecar motocross world champion Daniel Willemsen. Also this year two Profi cars managed to complete all 4 rounds.

Day 5 Mersouga - The Dune Race

Like a long motocross or a Hare and Hound the dune race is 3 laps of the Erg Chebbi's best dunes and a run to the top of the 300m house dune to complete the day. The race takes about 1.5 hours for the fastest riders but much longer for the rest of the field. The riders at the front of the field battled close together for the first lap until Daniel Willemsen pulled away again to win the race. By the end of the day the house dune was scattered with riders who had abandoned their bikes to run to the top of the dune to get there time cards stamped. The Profi cars was won by the British Team Rallyraid UK Paul Round and Martin Coulson. The ametuer cars was won by Amthor / Tiarks.

Day 6 Mersouga - Missor

After a good rest afternoon it was the sad day as the competitors had to leave the sands of Mersouga and start the long journey back towards the port of Nador. Todays stage started with a last ride through the dunes before some wide open piste on the way to the Col de Erfoud. Some of the riders found that the navigation was tricky to find the right pass. For the Profi Motorcycles A secret check was hidden on the side of a hill know as Alexs hill as he found the track. Some of the riders on the larger bikes found the climb very tricky and looked very hot by the time they reached the top of the hill. Again the special of the day had some tricky navigation as the competitors passed through the valley with no name a deep sided gorge with a sandy base. The end of the stage was in the familiar hotel which the rally used 3 days ago on the way to the desert. After 6 days of riding everything and everyone is starting to look a little tired and they are awaiting the last day in morocco tomorrow.

(right: Dave Salkeld's rim after a nasty incident on the days special stage)

Day 7 Missor - Nador

The last day in morocco is sad but the rally is not over yet and it could be easy for anyone to make a mistake which would cost them a valuable place in the standings. For some of the riders and drivers it is enough to just finish and they are hoping that there bike of car will last just a few more kilometers. Todays stage starts with some water at a river crossing, as it has not rained so much in the days before the rally it is not too deep. Them some fast open pistes are to follow. The motorcycle Profi class them had a tricky river bed and Donkey Trail to climb. The Special of the day had some very tricky navigation and it cost some of the front runners in the Moto Profi class some extra time. The last piste in Morocco was through the Hills near Nador and gave some interesting sights and smells in the fertile orchards that it passed through. By 8.30 pm the ferry was loaded and everyone was ready for a drink in the bar before the last day in Spain.

(left: Mick and Chris on the way to winning the special of the day)

Day 8 Spain

The last day of the rally is just a short run home from the port of Almeria through the Spanish mountains to the Hotel in the resort of Mojocar. There was an interesting route which included the winding roads around the mountains and some off road riding on some fast gravel tracks. Thee was no racing as everyone just wanted to finish the rally in one piece. In Mojocar the competitors gathered at a bar before driving in a parade through the town to the winners party at the hotel. All the teams loaded the trucks for a long drive home, before having a shower and a drink ready for the evening party.