« The Merzouga Rally is my source of inspiration! My first SxS experience on the Merzouga, racing in the magical dunes of the Erg Chebbi, the agility and reliability of my Yamaha gave me the desire to live some new adventures on the Dakar 2018 that I finished thanks to this first experience. From Africa to South America there is only one step, the Merzouga rally !! »
« The Merzouga Rally is a very good training for the Dakar because it is part of the Dakar Series. This means that it benefits from an incredible organisation, incredible safety measures, and the route is defined with the same spirit. It features all the ingredients that made the Dakar so unique: a lot of navigation, a mostly offtracks route, a wide variety of selective sections (dunes, rocks, vegetation, warm climate…). The days are not too long thanks to short road sections and the selective sections are memorable, with lots of exciting moments. A real human adventure ! »
« My first Merzouga Rally has been the 2017 edition. I was really well surprised about the race because it's a bike-dimensioned rally with tricky navigation, a lot of off-piste and an easy logistic that can give you a little bit of rest in the afternoon. That's why I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to start the next 2018 edition. It's a great school of navigation and the best training for Dakar you can do! »
« For me from Europe, the Merzouga Rally was a clear choice!!! The first Dakar steps, the first dunes, the first Dakar navigation, the first Dakar rules, first school with GPS navigation. Everything the beginner needs for Dakar. Do you want to go to the Dakar? Do it!!! You learn, you listen to your coaches, and you will be the best at Dakar 2019!!! »
Merzouga Rally: Good results for the class of 2017
At the start of the Dakar in Lima, 46 of the bikers and quad riders had taken part in the 2017 edition of the Merzouga Rally. 26 of them completed the rally in Córdoba.
At the forefront of the race, the newcomers shone especially brightly: Oriol Mena was the leading rookie by a long way on the bikes, while Nicolas Cavigliasso celebrated his debut on the Dakar with second place in the quad category.
For many riders, the Merzouga Rally is an opportunity to discover navigation, dunes and endurance; in short, everything that defines and sets apart rally-raids from other motor-sport disciplines. Some of these riders even use this experience as a springboard and go on to tackle the challenge of the Dakar. Whether more or less experienced, successful or haunted by bad luck, those inspired by Morocco met with a wide range of fortunes on the 40th edition of the Dakar, starting with the Merzouga Rally winner, Xavier de Soultrait. He was one of the main pace-setters on the Peruvian part of the race, before withdrawing after a fall in Bolivia. Nevertheless, the top 10 in the general standings notably included three riders who shone on the Merzouga Rally: Gerard Farrés (2nd in Morocco and 5th in Córdoba), Oriol Mena who finished as the best rookie in 2018 (12th / 7th) and Daniel Oliveras (13th / 9th). The winner of the Dakar Challenge, Polish rider Maciej Giemza, achieved his goal of completing the rally, by reaching Córdoba in 24th place. Just ahead of him, Italy’s Maurizio Gerini can count himself among the ranks of amateurs to have enjoyed success on their very first attempt on the Dakar: 22nd and winner of the marathon category.
As for the quads, the end of race report was even more glowing, even if nobody was able to contest the superiority of Ignacio Casale, leader from the first to last day of the Dakar. However, his two closest pursuers in the general standings had learned well from the lessons received on their journey through the Sahara. Nicolas Cavigliasso, who won in North Africa last spring, triumphed on two stages in Bolivia and Argentina, to finish his first Dakar in 2nd position. Jeremías González Ferioli, who exited the race the day before the finish on the Merzouga Rally, managed to go the distance this time to grab 3rd position, also picking up two stage victories on his way. A little further back, but no less valiantly, Czech rider Olga Rouckova, the sole lady present in the quad category on the Dakar, also began her season on the Merzouga Rally.
« The Merzouga is a super fun rally thanks to which we pass each day through different terrains and conditions as if it were a small Dakar... and where navigation is the priority. I recommend it and I hope to be able to participate again this year! »
« The Merzouga is really a good rally to learn navigation and it's a very good training for the Dakar. The route is also technical and really nice to ride and the fact that there are very few road sections is great! Finally, you feel on holiday arriving at the hotel in the evening and enjoying the swimming pool! »