An official rally for everybody

Morocco Desert Challenge is an officially recognized rally, organised under the High-Patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco and held under the licenses of FRMSA and FRMM (Morrocan Car & Motorsports Federations).
​​​​​​​From the very beginning it has been our goal to have a rally for a wide audience: both beginners and experienced racers. To this day we offer a variety of levels in different categories.

Above all Morocco Desert Challenge is a real desert race: a competition against the clock in which a combination of a well prepared vehicle, good driving skills and precise navigation are needed to stand a chance of winning. If victory is not your goal or if you don’t have the experience yet and just want to be part of the game, MDC offers a range of alternatives.

You can choose from four categories, so there is always something to suit your taste:

  1. The Rally PRO category
  2. The RAID category
  3. Assistance category
  4. VIP / Sponsor trips

1.  Rally Pro

The RALLY-PRO category is the real deal, for the more experienced drivers of cars, trucks, buggies, SSVs, quads, and motorcycles. The daily distances are longer than in the other categories, averaging 350 km. Boring liaisons on asphalt? You won't find many of those in the MDC.

Navigation in the truck, car and SSV categories is done by a the GPS UNIK 4 including the digital roadbook. Motorbikes and quads still use the GPS UNIK 2 in combination with a paper roadbook. These devices, built by the French company ERTF, are used in all world championship rallies (FIA/FIM) and long distance rally raids like the Dakar. Correct navigation, guided by a detailed roadbook, has become an important ingredient of rally-raid.

The introduction of the “GPS UNIK” means the days of driving from waypoint to waypoint are over. Correctly navigating, aided by a precise roadbook will become equally as important as the driving itself. The GPS UNIK locator stays in “sleeping mode” during most of the day and switches on automatically when you’re close to a waypoint. It also registers speed excess in certain zones and tells the race management immediately at the finish line how many waypoints you’ve reached.

Built-in this device is also the “Sentinel”, a kind of alarm/warning system which allows safe overtaking. If you want to overtake another rider you push the button of your Sentinel, the pilot driving in front of you gets a warning on his device (alarm & stroboscopic light) and knows a faster vehicle wants to overtake him/her. Those who, after 3 warnings, refuse to give way, automatically get a penalty time.

To increase safety, all vehicles in the Rally Pro category should also have an Iritrack system so that -in case of problems- they can easily communicate with PC Course and so that the latter can determine the exact position of each vehicle on the race track. You can also rent this device from the French company Marlink. More information on this under "safety".

The introduction of these systems (GPS UNIK & Sentinel) makes the rally more professional, a lot safer and allows the race director to publish a correct ranking in a very short time frame. Plus: being able to practice with this tool in the -relatively cheap- Morocco Desert Challenge, is ideal if you have the ambition to do a Dakar or another FIA/FIM rally in the future.

A beautiful competition for those who want to measure themselves against the best. About 80% of those who register for MDC, chose this option. Participants are provided with accurate road books covering daily stages varying between 250-500km (depending on the terrain). Official officers supervise the competition. It is the ideal preparation for the more difficult Dakar stages combined with breath-taking landscapes.

Morocco Desert Challenge is no FIA or FIM event. That would not fit in our philosophy to have a race that is open to anyone. Nevertheless we make use of the official guidelines concerning road books, GPS, penalties, checkpoints et cetera, because MDC is often used as a stepping stone to the Dakar, Silk Way Rally or FIA/FIM world championship rallies and thereby our competitors can get used to terminology and rules of those events.

The “Rally Pro” category is organized in consultation with the FRMSA, the Moroccan Autosport Federation and the FRMM, the Moroccan Motorsport Federation. Specific requirements for participation in the “Rally,” such as roll cages, helmets, race insurance, and licenses, can be found in the competitor section. It is important to know that an international race license is NOT required. If you do not have a license, you can purchase a weekly license from the Moroccan federation during the scrutineering in Agadir.

Rally Pro competitors are divided in subcategories.

​​​​​​​2. The Adventure Raid: a category on its own

Are you in the mood for adventure and want a taste of rally-riding but prefer to avoid the stress of the chronometer? Curious about the atmosphere at the fuel stop halfway through the stage and at night in the bivouac? Want to learn to drive and navigate in the desert without immediately investing in expensive racing equipment? Then the "Adventure Raid" is your cup of tea.

Own course

Since 2024, the 'Raid' is a fully-fledged category with its own course and start. So you won't have to wait in the morning for all race vehicles to leave and you will start at 9h00 every day. The new raid tracks run parallel to the race course so you don't have to ride on the dusty and already completely broken tracks of the race.

But of course, that doesn't mean you won't experience any of the race action at all! Just like the competition riders, you will ride off-road from bivouac to bivouac every day. At safe places, you will occasionally cross the competition (e.g. at the fuel stop). There you will experience the full adrenaline of the race in the middle of the stage.

The route of the Raid category is about 70% of the kilometres covered by the racers, with a short connection ride here and there. From the fuel stop (sandwich point), around kilometre 200, you can choose whether to ride the full course, or you take an alternative shorter route straight to the bivouac. That way, you have the choice of how long you are on the road and can be sure to arrive at the bivouac in time to enjoy a refreshing pint or aperitif at the cosy bar.

All types of vehicles

The Raid category is now open to all types of vehicles: motorbikes and quads, SSVs, cars and trucks. So if you don't feel confident enough about your driving or navigation skills, you can always join the guided group and enjoy the landscapes and the whole rally thing without stress.

For motorcyclists, a minimum of off-road experience is a must though. Never ridden offroad before? Then through the Ténéré Spirit Experience, our partner Yamaha is offering a free day's training at one of the Ténéré Centres under the guidance of none other than Loïc Minaudier, still winner in the car category in 2023 as navigator of Matthieu Serradori.

Car requirements

To participate in the Raid category, you don't need to have a fully prepared race car either. You can drive the entire course with a slightly improved standard car. The only thing that does matter is the autonomy of your vehicle. Cars and trucks must have an autonomy of at least 500km. Motorbikes, quads and SSVs can refuel at the sandwich point and should therefore have an autonomy of at least 250km.

Because you are not made nervous by a stopwatch, your average speed is subsequently a lot lower, which improves safety. Therefore, in the Raid a number of safety measures are not mandatory, such as wearing a helmet and installing a roll cage, 4-point belts and bucket seats in a car. Race insurance is also not compulsory.
However, the following accessories are mandatory: 2 spare wheels, compressor, (kinetic) tow tape, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, jack & wheel spanner.

Participating in the Raid is also possible with a locally rented Toyota Landcruiser. For this, you pay around 150 to 250€ per day, depending on make and model. Contact the organisation for more info.

Navigation & tracking

Also in the Raid category, you drive using a road book. No more paper, but a digital version (Tripy). Renting this is included in the registration fee. The advantage of this digital road book is that, if you drive wrong, the Tripy will correct you and point you in the right direction.

All vehicles are also equipped with an Iritrack (Smalltrack) which allows us to locate your vehicle at all times. So no stress.

Full service included

What else can you expect? Just like in the race, participants in the Adventure Raid can enjoy all the assets and support: 4 "raid guides", medical assistance in the field and in the bivouac, a large fleet of brooms, tracking and support in case of problems. And in addition, of course, all the assets that make the Morocco Desert Challenge so unique: the cosy bivouac, ambiance at the bar and top-notch catering with a three-course meal every evening.

Finally: for the Adventure Raid 30 vehicles will be admitted.

Any questions?
Do not hesitate and contact us: gert@morocco-desert-challenge.com or call +32475503650

​​​​​​​3. Assistance

Nothing is as good as an ice cold drink waiting for you at the end of hundreds kilometres of special stage. Just relax and leave the maintenance of your vehicle to your service crew. More and more competitors bring their own assistance teams to the Morocco Desert Challenge.

The entry fee for an assistance vehicle is much lower than the fee for a race car or truck. The restriction is of course that assistance cars can’t enter the race track. They have to follow the liaison route directly from bivouac to bivouac. Only in case of emergency they can enter the race track but only after strict permission from the race direction.

Important: although not everything is asphalted, each bivouac is accessible with a regular vehicle. You do not need a 4×4 or 6×6 assistance truck to reach the camp. Even more than in previous years, we will ensure that the bivouacs are easily accessible, even with trailers. However, permanent all-wheel drive is required for assistance on the race track.

Assistance rates apply not only to mechanics but also to friends, sponsors, personal physiotherapists, photographers or journalists, spouses, etc.

4. VIP and sponsor trip

Every edition, we organize an unforgettable visitor trip for 25 lucky individuals, combining culture, comfort, and adventure. Let family, friends, and clients experience the rally in style!

This 4-day trip offers a fantastic road trip through the most beautiful landscapes of Morocco. Your guests will experience the rally from the front row, culminating in the emotions at the finish line, the awards ceremony, and a spectacular party.

You will fly from Europe on a direct flight, then travel to the nearby bivouac in 4x4s, enjoying the beautiful Moroccan landscapes along the way. The next day, you'll experience the start at the bivouac from the front row. Then, you'll drive with the guide and experienced drivers in a loop to the next bivouac. Along the way, you'll see the rally from the best viewpoints and stop at the world's best sandwich bar – the supply point in the middle of the desert – where you can enjoy a delicious sandwich with smoked salmon. In the evening, a delightful 3-course dinner awaits you at the bivouac, and you can mingle with the participants at the bar. For the final stage, you'll drive directly to the finish line, where you can share in the emotions and atmosphere as the participants cross the finish line. We conclude the rally with dinner, the ceremony, and the spectacular final party at a beautiful star resort. On Sunday, you'll fly back home with the other participants.

Would you like to join the visitor trip? Contact us here.

Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.