Last March we covered Emily Miller, professional off-road racer for Rod Hall Racing and Team HUMMER, while competing in the Moroccan desert in a HUMMER H3 for the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles.
A quick refresher on the event – women only, no GPS, no support crews, and 50+ checkpoints. Only driver and navigator, a compass, ruler, outdated maps, no chase teams. No easy feat to say the least.
Miller returns to Morocco for her third year with top Gazelle Rally navigator, Armelle Medard, winner of the 2008 edition and four-time podium finisher. Miller and Medard have been slated as the team to watch.
Making up the other U.S. team are Amy Lerner and Tricia Reina, two sisters that followed the event last year were intrigued that all women are welcome to compete, not just professional racers.
Team Lerner Reina joined Miller, Rod Hall and rally navigation expert, Louise Bergeron in the Imperial Sand Dunes in Southern California. The location made for perfect training grounds because of the similar terrain and driving challenges they will face in Morocco. The instructors drove a modified H3 but Hall’s H1 Alpha won the hearts of Team Lerner Reina after their first experience in the vehicle. “The H1A was the ultimate desert machine,” said Lerner.
Both teams will be piloting 3.7 liter H3s from Paul Chedid Automotive in Paris. “It is the most capable and durable stock vehicle for extreme off-road conditions,” Miller said when asked about returning to the rally in the HUMMER.
Stay tuned for updates on the two U.S. teams during the nine-day race later this month.
For more information go to U.S.A. Gazelles Facebook page or rallyeaichadesgazelles.com.