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2024 Morocco Desert Challenge focused on “fun, safety, and 200% adrenaline”

The Morocco Desert Challenge returns for a ninth edition from 11 to 20 April, and organisers hope it will be both an exciting and safe adventure following tragic events that overshadowed the 2023 race.

After co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter and rider Bram van der Wouden died during the 2023 MDC, the former in a fiery accident when his side-by-side was hit by another car and the latter from heat stroke, the 2024 edition has increased measures to ensure competitor safety. All registrants are required to pass a cardiac evaluation within the past year, while riders must wear an airbag vest and undergo medical tests while refuelling during each stage. The Malle Moto class for riders competing without teams, which van der Wouden was in, has been dropped. To mitigate the risk of another crash like Lichtleuchter’s, side-by-side vehicles are now limited to a top speed of 135 km/h.

Although the entry list has been capped at 200 from the usual 300, the race still expects to see roughly 850 to 900 people in the bivouac. Race days will start earlier than usual at 7 AM, which gives teams more time to work on their vehicles in the evening and for rally officials to check on the course.

To reflect these new policies, MDC general director Gert Duson told The Checkered Flag that the race’s goals for 2024 are to promote “fun, safety, and 200% adrenaline.”

155 teams across six categories are signed up, with fifty-three SSVs leading the fray ahead of forty-four cars, thirty-five bikes, and nine trucks. The other sixteen are in the non-competitive Raid classes, which run on an adjacent route from the Rally side.

Duson anticipates the SSV battle to be South Racing Can-Am versus everyone else. One of the top teams in the World Rally-Raid Championship, South will be facing a litany of drivers ranging from Dakar Rally Truck competitors Mitchel van den Brink and Gert Huzink, the husband-and-wife duo of Erik and Anja Van Loon, and W2RC SSV regular Enrico Gaspari. Fernando Álvarez, who finished third in the 2023 FIA European Baja Cup, will spearhead South’s effort. Van den Brink, who finished third in Truck at the Dakar Rally in January, is the defending SSV winner.

Mathieu Serradori headlines the Cars after holding off an onslaught of MD Rallye Sport Optimuses to win the 2023 race in his Century CR6-T. Now upgrading to the CR7, he renews his rivalry with MD racers like runner-up Simon Vitse. The Toyota Hilux, a W2RC powerhouse, also hopes to spoil the party as well as Red-Lined Motorsport’s Nissan VK line.

With Victor Versteijnen not defending his Truck crown, Igor Bouwens hopes to break through in 2024 on that side after finishing second.

A month after setting the altitude world record on a motorcycle, Pol Tarrés is one of the top names among the MDC’s Bike entrants. He finished third in 2023 behind Dakar racers and Sherco factory riders Lorenzo Santolino and Rui Gonçalves, neither of whom return for 2024. With Sherco out of the picture, Yamaha hopes to lead the way with Tarrés, Rodney Faggotter (fourth in 2023), and Stephane Poulet. Yamaha is also contributing heavily to the Bike Raid side with all but one of six riders participating in the Ténéré Spirit Experience.

Amine Echiguer, who won the Carta Rallye in Morocco in February, hopes to challenge the Yamahas.

Although not part of the W2RC or other international championships beyond the domestic series, the Morocco Desert Challenge is a recognised event by the FIA via the Fédération Royale Marocaine des Sports, which allows FIA members to take part without consequence even if the race is not overseen by the sanctioning body. Many competitors use the MDC as additional practice for the Dakar Rally, which takes place in the desert-heavy Saudi Arabia, without having to enter the W2RC.

Administrative checks will begin on 11 April at Place Al Amal in Agadir and run for two days before racing commences on 13 April. The rally will head from “coast to coast”, beginning along the Atlantic coast before concluding after eight stages by the Mediterranean in Saïdia, covering roughly 1,959 kilometres in Selective Sections.

Credit: Morocco Desert Challenge

2024 Morocco Desert Challenge route

StageStartFinishSelective SectionsRoad SectionsDate
1AgadirPlage Blanche85 km282 km13 April
2Plage BlancheTadachacht/Assa363 km66 km14 April
3Tadachacht/AssaTissint361 km0 km15 April
4TissintTazzarine261 km108 km16 April
5TazzarineMerzouga261 km0 km17 April
6MerzougaMerzouga205 km0 km18 April
7MerzougaBorj de Bel Fraïssat310 km140 km19 April
8Borj de Bel FraïssatAin Bni Mathar113 km166 km20 April

Entry list

Bikes and Quads

101Rodney FaggotterTénéré Yamaha Rally TeamYamaha Ténéré 700
102Matthew RoachDesert Rose RacingKTM 500 EXC-F
103Richard DorsDesert Rose RacingKTM 450 Rally Replica
104Hugo RaesRaids Aventure et SportHusqvarna FE 450
105Lucas RaesRaids Aventure et SportKTM 450 EXC-F
106Giorgio PapaJazz Tech Off-RoadKTM 450 EXC
108Amaury BaratinHorizon Moto 95KTM 450 Rally
109Fernando MoctezumaNomadas AdventureKTM 450 Rally
110Attilio FertFrance Road BookKTM 450 Rally Factory Replica
111Benjamin BourdariatRS ConceptKTM 450 EXC-F
112Amine EchiguerMaroc FRMMKTM 450 EXC-F
113Pol TarrésTénéré Yamaha Rally TeamYamaha XTZ690D
114Jason AdamsNomadas AdventureBMW 850 Rallye
115Dennis MildenbergerNomadas AdventureKTM 450 Rally
116Bertrand GavardRS ConceptHusqvarna 450 Rally Replica
117Marek LójPerfectmoto.plYamaha Raptor
118Xavier CailholRev2GosKTM 450 EXC
119Clement ArtaudFrance Road BookKTM 450 Factory
120Pierpaolo VivaldiJazz Tech Off-RoadGasGas RX 450F Replica
121Valentin SertilhangesHorizon Moto 95KTM 450 RALLY
122Stephane PouletTénéré Yamaha Rally TeamYamaha XTZ690D
123Erik OrlanzziniNomadas AdventureKTM
124Fraser WoolleyDesert Rose RacingKTM 500 EXC-F
125Chris WalkerDesert Rose RacingBeta RR 4T 480
126Nemo HvengaardMax Hunt RacingHusqvarna 450 Factory Replica
127Guillaume JauninNomade RacingGasGas RX 450 F Replica
128Jason LanDesert Rose RacingBeta 480 RR
129Yunus SahinEvasioni Rally Raid ServicesFantic XEF Rally 450
130John RowleyDesert Rose RacingKTM 450 Rally Factory Replica
131Henrik Haldorf HalkaerMax Hunt RacingHusqvarna FE 450
132Eric CoulaudNomade RacingKTM 450 Rally
134Patrick HeffronDesert Rose RacingBeta RR 4T 480
135Oscar Skovgaard SoerensenMax Hunt RacingHusqvarna FE 450
136Deniz AlgunEvasioni Rally Raid ServicesHusquvarna FE 501
138Pierrick BabinRS ConceptKTM 450


201Mitchel van den BrinkBart van HeunQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
202Gert HuzinkRob BuursenQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
203Fernando ÁlvarezXavier PanseriSouth RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
204Erik Van LoonSébastien DelaunayVan Loon RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
205Marc LauwersWout LauwersArt of Speed MLCan-Am Maverick X3
206Stephane ZossoCaroline ZossoZZ Kustom racingCan-Am Maverick X3
207Carlos VentoCarlos RuizPatriot RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
208Kees BoxRenee BoxQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
209Godfried LintjensHenk SchnackersDe LintCan-Am Maverick X3
210Gert-Jan van der ValkBranco de LangeArcane RacingArcane T3
211Ruud VollebregtMilou VollebregtQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
212Anja Van LoonWouter de GraaffVan Loon RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
214Enrico GaspariAku Facundo JatonR Team/TH TrucksPolaris RZR Pro R
215Rene Van EerdJoel EbbersVan Eerd RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
216Floor MeijerRudolf MeijerQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
217Pascal SeiteBernard NanchenZZ Kustom RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
218Davy LenaertsKoen SlegersArt of Speed SL MotorsportCan-Am Maverick X3
219Roger GrouwelsSander DerikxQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
220Patrick BecquartGhislain BecquartMercier Racing 2024Can-Am Maverick X3
221Janus van Kasteren Sr.Thijs Heezen Sr.Boss RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
222Gerrit MeijerNico GründmannQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
223Dario De LorenzoAldo De LorenzoFuristradaitalia 0039Polaris Pro R
224Grzegorz BrochockiGrzegorz KomarOverlimitCan-Am Maverick X3
225Felipe FernandezJonathan LurquinOne-RaidCan-Am Maverick X3
226Bert Van DrutenPatric BrinkmanQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
227Gregory PichonPaul PichonMercier Racing 2024Can-Am Maverick X3
228Thijs Heezen Jr.Sam Van KemenadeVan Eerd RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
229Stanislaw KopczykArtur JandaPerfectmoto.plCan-Am Maverick X3
230Willem MeijerCorné ChristianenQFF RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
231Henri van SteenbergenDaan van OoijenOryx RallysportGPR Sport Oryx GPR22
232Josep Rojas AlmuzaraJoan Rubi MontserratBuggy MastersCan-Am Maverick X3
233Artur BrzozowskiMaciej AlbinowskiPerfectmoto.plCan-Am Maverick X3
234Adam KusMarcin PasekAkpol RecyklingGRally OT3
235Jori PanhuijzenTom PanhuijzenGreen TeamCan-Am Maverick X3
236Daniel KersbergenSimon van der HedenOrange BullGPR Sport Oryx GPR22
237Peter GoossensGeoffroy Noel de BurlinArt of Speed MLCan-Am Maverick X3
238Patrick HillewaereWim VanmassenhoveArt of Speed MLCan-Am Maverick X3
239Hans den OudenDirk GorisEcht héCan-Am Maverick X3
240Rine StreppelAlbert KraaiArcane RacingArcane T3
241Jeroen van KasterenRik VaessenBoss RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
242Nick van GelovenMax Van EmpelRacing team StrongCan-Am Maverick X3
243Harrie Van EmpelStefan Van RasDe Run TradingCan-Am Maverick X3
244Igor KlajaŁukasz ŁaskawiecPerfectmoto.plCan-Am Maverick X3
245Richard AczelAllan HarrymanArcane RacingArcane T3
246Stefano BosioPaolo SalaJazz Tech TeamPolaris RZR Pro
247Lenka HlavataNikola VerbicovaHeels on WheelsCan-Am Maverick X3
248Paolo ScalzottoRoberto ZatteraJazz Tech TeamPolaris RZR Pro
249Arno van LieshoutDuco TollenaarRally Team OudewaterCan-Am Maverick X3
250Jose Maria Cami MatesanzCristian Cami MatesanzScuderia ActahotelsCan-Am Maverick X3
251Stefan SlootjesSam SlootjesSlootjes RacingCan-Am Maverick X3
252Wastl BayerStefan Henkenutvparts.deSouthracing T3 Widespec
253Felix PlazaMario PlazaBemarCan-Am Maverick X3
254Bastien PaquereauBenjamin SalahHuman SportCan-Am Maverick X3

Cars and Buggies

301Mathieu SerradoriLoïc MinaudierSerradori Racing TeamCentury CR7
302Simon VitseFrederic LefebvreMD Rallye SportMD Optimus
303Vincent ThijsTom De LeeuwRT OffroadToyota Hilux Overdrive
304Mike van EikerenMarcel SnijdersMP RallysportCentury CR6
305Ronald van LoonErik LemmenOase MotorsportRed-Lined VK
306Herve ToscanoChristophe CrespoMD Rallye SportMD Optimus
307Maik WillemsRobert van PeltMP RallysportToyota Hilux Overdrive
308Erwin ImschootOlivier ImschootIMS racingMD Optimus
309Pedro De UriarteEduardo VanzziniMexico – PedroFord Overdrive
310Rik Van den BrinkGydo HeimansSRTCentury CR6-T
311Vincent VroninksDave BerghmansDesert FoxxRed-Lined VK56
312Christian FemontChristophe Van DesselDesert FoxxMD Optimus EVO 5
314Anne ScholDidier DhondtMexicoFord Cruiser
315David GerardPascal DelacourLes fous du volantMD Optimus
316Jan De VosDavid JansenDesert FoxxRed-Lined VK56
317Antoine GallandEstelle KazmierczakOff Road ConceptCentury CR6
318Agostino RizzardiUmberto FioriCountrysidewaysPorsche 911 Carrera
319Imre VargaJozsef TomaVarga Racing TeamToyota Hilux Overdrive
320Jos BijnensPatrick BijnensBijnensToyota Hilux
321Hugues MoiletMayeul BarbetOff Road ConceptMD Optimus
322Gregg DocxJurgen Van den BrandeGeolockRed-Lined VK50
323Simon TacxMark LaanMP RallysportToyota Hilux Overdrive
324Thierry Bunel GourdyAntony PesST RacingFouquet WB11Z5
325Paul van BoekelEddy BensB&B RallyteamToyota Land Cruiser 100
326Lieven De BrabantLucke De BrabantDe Brabant Rally TeamBowler Bulldog
327Thierry PorteJerome DoudardMD Rallye SportMD Optimus
328Ernst AmortAdolf RuhaltingerPircher WilliamsLand Rover Tomcat
329Raf Van der SteenKris Van der SteenGarage Robert RanstNissan Navara
330Bart De PaepeFrank De DonckerWindox RacingVolkswagen Taro
331Johan JongenBart MignoletDesert FoxxBowler Bulldog
332Andrew WicklowKirsty WicklowPeake MotorsportToyota Hilux
333Hartger Van loonErik Van der zijdenBLP RallyBowler Bulldog
334Holly WicklowDannielle ScarrPeake MotorsportLand Rover Defender
336Sam HeyvaertKrzysztof ZoltyDesert FoxxRed-Lined VK56
337Gerard van lieshoutArno Van BakelT4F RallyteamToyota Land Cruiser 200
338Diego DelespauxJulie VerdaguerDunbee by GRallyTeamVolkswagen TDI DB2
339Marcel van de KampArjen van AsseltHamer Rally TeamRally Raid UK Desert Warrior
340Hervé QuinetMarie-Laure QuinetLes Clérimois Auto SportBarbry Factory Némésis V8
341Nicolas DelencreFrançois BéguinDunbee by GRallyTeamVolkswagen TDI DB2
342Evangelos BersisExarchos KonstantinosR Team / TH TrucksMitsubishi Pajero
343Aran SolCarlos SantaolallaFactory TubToyota Land Cruiser KZJ95
344Jerome CambierAlain BrousseMD Rallye SportMD Optimus
345Luciano AndreettoFilippo AndreettoR Team / TH TrucksMitsubishi Pajero Evolution
346Wietse TatesPiet van MarisKort door de bochtBowler Wildcat


501Igor BouwensSyndiely WadeUlrich BoerboomGregoor RacingIVECO T-Way
502Eimbert TimmermansMarcel BlankestijnKoen HendriksEx-DakarDAF 75
503Claudio BellinaAndrea BellinaEttore VitaliMM TechnologyIVECO Torpedo
504Paul VerheydenKurt KeysersBjorn BurgelmanEx-DakarDAF CF
505Egbert WingensMarije van EttekovenMarijn BeekmansDDW RallyteamIVECO Torpedo
506Steve IngelsArthur IngelsVictor IngelsRR BelgicaMAN 480 TGA
507Giso VerschoorPascal de BaarAlfred SturmVan Dongen Rally SportRenault K520
508Fons JansHans HeeremaRenaldo SchraveHamer Rally TeamDAF FAV 75
509Mike PanhuijzenBert Van LoonPieter KuypersGreen TeamMAN TGA

Raid classes


451Christophe EdouinTénéré Spirit ExperienceYamaha XTZ690
452Laurent EdouinTénéré Spirit ExperienceYamaha XTZ690D
453Marc GirardinTénéré Spirit ExperienceYamaha XTZ690D-B
454Alexandre GomesTénéré Spirit ExperienceYamaha XTZ690D-B
455Franck MutinTénéré Spirit ExperienceYamaha XTZ690
456Herve BricePatatorKTM 350 EXC F

Cars and Buggies

401Laurens MeijerRobbert VisserQFF RacingFord Raptor
402Neil BainbridgeRoss BainbridgeBBB 4×4Land Rover BBB SVO
403Peterjan VerhaestYves SpillebeenQ&S MotorsportNissan Navara AT32
404Guy PasmansKen JorisEscuderia ManuportPorsche 911 Tuthill
405Freek van ErpLuuk SchmitzAlways on the MoveMitsubishi Pajero
406Henry StennerJames HarrasonBBB 4×4Toyota Land Cruiser
407Marien VermeulenWendy KruijthofW&M Desert AdventureJeep Wrangler
408Will FlandersMid Life CrisisTOYOTA Landcruiser Prado


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