Driving across the sand dunes or wandering remote mountain passages of Morocco as part of a rally usually means having deep pockets or a friendly, sports-minded bank manager, but the Maroc Challenge bills itself as the ‘Low-cost Rally’, giving almost anyone the chance to take part in a fund-raising adventure to support women and children in remote areas.
This Sunday forty-four vehicles will set off from Javea, on Spain’s Costa Blanca, and Lisbon in Portugal. They will rendezvous at Almeria on the southern coast of Spain to begin a 2,000 kilometre adventure through the wilds of Morocco. Billed as being a ‘unique raid which aims to provide a low cost alternative for those who wish to experience an extraordinary event that incorporates both sporting and humanitarian spirit,’ unlike the souped-up and shiny cars you normally see undertaking this sort of ride, the first and foremost rule of Maroc Challenge is that every vehicle must be registered before 1st December, 1995. The organisers suggest that you really wouldn’t want to pay more than about 300€ for a car, assuming, of course, that you haven’t got an old scrapper lying around somewhere that only needs some air in the tyres and a change of engine oil.
Brian Hampshire and Rob Hull will be sharing a Nissan Patrol loaned to them by a friend. Hull is an English builder living in the Costa Blanca, and has only been to Morocco on holiday a couple of times; Hampshire is a painter and decorator and has never been to Morocco at all. Neither knows a thing about car mechanics, and as Hampshire says, “If we break down Rob can build a garage and I can paint it, but we have absolutely no idea how to put the car right.”
The whole event is slightly tongue-in-cheek, with no rushing for first place or being at the head of the race, but it does have a serious intent – to deliver clothing, school supplies and toys to remote schools and villages.
Hampshire and Hull, (who’s joint names sound like a comedy act) said that every cent raised through events and donations would go to buying materials, and have had such support from local people and businesses that they had to take a full car load to the depot in Javea before they fill up their car a second time with toys that will be distributed along their way. Children’s shoes supplied by a local manufacturer; chalk and chalk boards, note books, pens, rulers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, colouring books and felt pens, skipping ropes, etch-a-sketch pads and musical recorders bought at an enormous discount from a local shop – they even have a sack-full of deflated footballs to blow up and hand out along the way.
This year’s rout takes the cars from Nador, through Missour, Erg-Chebbi, Ouarzazate and Agadir to end in Essaouira.
More information HERE