The rich history: 10 years of rally-raid

Our first rally was held in March 2008, by the name of Libya Desert Challenge. A group of some 50 pioneers, with Henk Knuiman, Peter Merceij, Hubert Deltrieu, Marco Piana, Abdelhamid ‘Mido’ Abouyoussef and Roberto Musi amongst others, wrote history that year. Thanks to the stories these adventurers of the very beginning, about the incredible beauty of the Libyan desert, the number of competitors rose to 110 in 2009. Riders from Italy, France, Great Britain, Romania, Belgium and the Netherlands found their way to the new rally paradise. The Libyan authorities supported the event with fuel, soldiers to assist on CP’s and recover stranded motorbikes, and a big Agusta helicopter.

In exile

After the 2009 success the entries for the 2010 edition were booming. No less than 160 pilots, co-pilots and mechanics were eager to join. Everything was set and ready until only three weeks to the start Libya closed the borders for all inhabitants of the Schengen countries. With huge effort the organisers managed to move the rally to Tunisia in just two weeks’ time.

In 2011 it was the ‘Arab Spring’ that put a spoke in the wheels. Returning to Libya was out of the question and the next edition of the Libya Rally was postponed to 2012, in Tunisia once more. The roadbooks, made by the new race director Jean-Claude Kaket were perfect, over 180 pilots and mechanics made a wonderful competition and the atmosphere was better than ever. After seven days of competition and fun all competitors made a vow to come back if the organisers would find a new destination. On that day ‘Libya rally goes Morocco – 2013’ was born.

A new home

The huge variety of landscapes and tracks made the first Libya Rally in Morocco a success. The new host had a lot to offer: technical mountain tracks, long untouched beaches, vast desert, and of course high, golden dunes. The enthusiasm was overwhelming and the wonderful reactions  of the competitors helped us to a new record: 300 entries for the 2014 edition, in which race trucks made their appearance as well.

In the 2015 edition – with 400 entries – the organisation made the next logical big step in professionalization of the event by collaborating with the French company ERTF and the introduction of GPS UNIK 2 and Sentinel. Again it turned out a successful cross country, this time with its finish line in magical Marrakesh. More and more former and future competitors of the Dakar Rally found their way to the ‘Moroccan Libya Rally’ and highly appreciated the event.

A real cross country

In 2016 the rally was the first of its kind to literally cross all of Morocco, starting from Agadir’s Atlantic coast to finish at the Mediterranean coast.

A new name & ZERO KM Liaison

In 2017 the name Libya Rally was finally replaced by the more appropriate Morocco Desert Challenge. And also a new trend was introduced: we took away the one thing which everybody dislikes in rallies: the liaisons, the road sections were reduced to zero. Every start and every arrival of the special stage was in the bivouac. This unique concept made the number of participants grow with another 20%.

What once started in Libya as a small rally with 50 competitors, mostly ordinary 4×4’s and a few endure bikes, had grown into an internationally respected rally raid, the biggest in Africa, with over 700 people in the bivouac.

A growing event

We continued this growing trend in 2018 with a spectacular 10-year anniversary edition and an even bigger one in 2019 with more than 1000 participants and 200 strong crew. 2020 was supposed to become equally epic, until COVID-19 hit. 3 weeks before the start, the entire world went into lockdown and stayed that way for the better part of the year. The restrictions still in place in spring 2022 made us decide to postpone the rally another year. But in April 2023 we were back with our biggest edition yet! More than 300 vehicles in competition and over 1300 people in the bivouac.


The first edition of the Libya Rally was held in March 2008 (under the name “Libya Desert Challenge”). Two years earlier, while preparing another trans-sahara event (www.touareg-trail.com) Gert Duson, the organiser, was overwhelmed by the beauty of Libya: endless dune seas with peaks of 200 m high, spectacular canyons, volcano’s, bizar rock formations and hidden paradise lakes. Two years later Libya welcomed the international rally community. A small group of 50 pioneers (among them Henk Knuiman, , Henno Van Bergeijk, Peter Mercij, Mike Van Eijkeren, Abdelhamid “Mido” Abouyoussef and Roberto Musi) wrote history by participating in the first edition of a real rally in Libya. General winner was the french quad champion Hubert Deltrieu.

Winners of the 2008-edition (Motorbikes & Quads):

  1. Hubert Deltrieu (France)
  2. Bram Van Dorp (Holland)
  3. Jean-Michel Redal (France)


Mainly thanks to positive review on a few rally-websites and the wild stories of the participants about the breathtakingly beautiful Libyan nature, the rally started to be known. The number of participants rose to 120 and pilots from Italy, France, UK, Belgium and Holland found their way to the new rally paradise. Thanks to the campaign our local partner Hadi Bkai (Fessano Tours) the Libyan authorities decided to sponsor the event with petrol, military and and Agusta helicopter. Especially that machine was very important on day 1. An unforeseen and incredibly high temperature, in combination with bad visibility lead to 13 medical interventions on day 1. A massive job for our extensive medical team, consisting of 8 doctors. On the fourth day the rally had its first (and luckily so far only) fatal accident. The experienced Belgian quad rider Alex Debot lost his life after making a crucial navigation error.

Winners of the 2009 edition:


  1. Mario Moro & Franco Gallegiole (Italy)
  2. David Giovanetti & Dario Faverro (Italy)
  3. Salim Alsawi & Tofek Alshref (Libya)


  1. Willem Jacquet (Holland)
  2. Alberto Rosa (Italy)
  3. Elio Moro (Italy)


  1. Jean-Michel Redal (France)
  2. Pietro Fogliano (Italy)
  3. Daniël Trotzier (France)


After the succes of the 2009-edition, the registrations for 2010 came in quickly and no less than 160 pilots and mecanics wanted to come to Libya. Every year the rally became more professional and the organisation had hired Alain Lopez to write the road books (Lopez has been 7 times the official road book writer of the Dakar rally). The organisation was fully prepared until a disaster happened 3 weeks prior to the start. As a result of a diplomatic incident in Switzerland, the family of Khadafi was temporarily refused access to Europe and the dictator decided to give the Europeans a cooky of their own dough. All inhabitants of the Schengen countries were refused access to Libya for 2 months. A catastrofee for the LR organisation and participants.

An adventurous idea came from Brigitte Tedesco, the in the meantime deceased co-organiser of the event. “Let’s move the rally quickly to Tunisia!” Two days later she and Gert went to Libya’s small neighbouring country, made a few arrangements with the authorities, chartered a plane from Tripoli Airport to Djerba (cause everybody had already bought a plane ticket to Tripoli) and organised a completely new rally in 2 weeks time. The roadbooks were bought from Jörg Schumann, the German organiser of the El Chott Rally. Another small German rally (called “Libya Rally Raid”), which would take place in the same period, joined us in Tunisia, bringing the total number of participants to 200. The Dutch Dakar champion Frans Verhoeven lead the “Dune Riding School” for motorbikes and rally legend Gregoire de Mevius (Team Overdrive) transported the press, cameramen and photographers from one dune to another with his Manx buggy. Libya Rally 2010 became, despite the last minute move to Tunisia, a huge success.

Winners of the 2010 edition:

Car’s & buggies:

  1. Wesley de Saedeleer (Belgium) -Predator Buggy
  2. Daniël De Schepper (Belgium) – Predator Buggy
  3. Soren Bach (Denmark) – Landrover Defender 90


  1. Paul Kretz (Germany) – MAN
  2. Another German truck (name t.b.c.)
  3. Another Germna truck (name t.b.c.)


  1. Wil Wouters (Holland) – Honda CRF450
  2. Gaston Veron (Holland) – KTM 525EXC
  3. Roel Van Hest (Holland) – KTM 450 EXC


  1. Nicolas Pujol (France) – Polaris Outlaw
  2. Michael Szabo (Romania) – Yamaha Raptor 700
  3. Alain Koos (France) – Honda Rincon 680


Nobody saw it coming. The “Arab Spring” hit the whole of Northern-Africa and the rest of the Arab world in 2011. First the regime fell in Tunisia, followed by Egypt and thirdly the country that lays in between them: Libya. Aided by the West, that was of course interested in the enormous oil supplies, Libyan rebels were armed and won the battle against Khadafi. Because of the war there was no rally in 2011 and the hope to return to the highest dunes of the Sahara, was set on 2012.

A year later the war was over, but we were still waiting for disarmament and stability. So yes, we did organise Libya Rally, but again in Tunisia. Libya Rally had become a “rally in excile”, with a new host country every 2-3 years.

Nevertheless the success of the rally continued. The road books were for the first time written by the new race director Jean-Claude Kaket (a true rally veteran with a.o. 14 Dakars on his record of achievements) and were perfect, the 140 pilots and mecanics had a fantastic competition and the athmosphere in the bivouac was better than ever before. After 7 days of racing all participants made a promise to register again for the next edition on the condition that the organisation would choose a new destination. That day “Libya Rally goes Morocco 2013” was born.

Winners of the 2012 edition:


  1. Willem Kien & Jos Schotanus (Holland) – Wrangler Jeep Proto
  2. Kurt Keysers & Jean-Pierre Jacobs (Belgium) – Rally/Raid UK Desert Warrior
  3. Vincent Thys & Ruth Brands (Belgium) – Mitsubishi Pajero Mivec

Motorbikes & Quads:

  1. Alex Van Ginkel (Holland) – KTM 450 EXC
  2. Jeroen Van Oers (Holland) – KTM 300 EXC
  3. Guido Slaats (Holland) – KTM Quad 525


Winners 2013 – per category

Motorbikes :
1er – Alex Van Ginkel
2ième – Simon Schimmel
3ième – Christian Horwath

4×4 :
1er – Willem Kien & Jos Schotanus
2ième – Jan Van Hasenbroek & Marcel Vermeij
3ième – Laurens Conijn & Doekejan Maamke Doeksen

Buggy :
1er – Serradori Matthieu & Laurent Dupas
2ième – Walter Philippo & Victor Aerden
3ième – David & Denis Rozand

SSV’s :
1er – Toine & Roland Verkooyen
2ième – Paul Spieringhs & Jan Cosmin Arustei
3ième – Jack Derks & André Van den Wyngaard


Libya Rally 2014 is over. After 6 months of preparations and 7 days of intensive racing we can evaluate the 6th edition of our event. Based on our own experiences and the feedback we received from the nearly 300 racers and their assistance crews, we can state that it has been a fantastic week. Also I have enjoyed it 200%.
Libya Rally 2014 was a tough one, with often very long stages for the participants. In every sense of the word it was a true cross-country rally which started in the north-Moroccan royal city of Fez. Via the plains of the Rekkam, the dunes of Merzouga, the mountains around Zagora, the Erg Chigaga, Lac Iriki and the riverbeds of the Oued Draa, everybody drove through a constantly changing but always breathtakingly beautiful Moroccan scenery. Not only did all racers have to face the fatigue, typical for a long rally, but also the high temperatures (sometimes up to 40°C) and even two sand storms, limiting visibility to less than 50 meters. As a result the final stage on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean and the arrival at “Plage Blanche”, between TanTan and Agadir, were an unforgettable moment for those still in the race.

For a moment the event was overshadowed by a few accidents, luckily not lethal ones. Willem Kien (NL, Wrangler Jeep), winner of the past two editions, and Rik van Hoorebeke (B, Mercedes Race truck) were flown to hospital by helicopter with a few broken vertebrae. Also motor bikers Alex Van Ginkel (NL), Pietro Pasti (IT) and Chris Corke (UK) had a serious crash. Luckily all these injuries were not life-threatening and all of them are doing well today. A sincere “thank you” to the 9 emergency doctors and nurses of our medical staff.
Also for the assistance teams and the organisation the 2014 edition was a true challenge. Being sandblasted while doing the maintenance on the vehicles at night or trying to serve a barbecue for nearly 400 people in the middle of a sand storm was not simple. Nevertheless they all found creative solutions, every day again. I therefor thank my crew from the bottom of my heart for their unconditional support and their eternal smiles with which they performed 8 days and 8 nights.

General Ranking (All Cars/Trucks/Buggies/SSV’s):

1. David Rozand & Denis Rozand (Predator Buggy)
2. Pascal Feryn & Tom De Leeuw (Toyota Landcruiser 200)
3. Jean-Antoine Sabatier & Vincent Brotons (Bugga One)


1° Pascal Feryn & Tom De Leeuw (Toyota Landcruiser 200)
2° Alwin Oud & Mark Luijckx (Bowler Wildcat)
3° Chris Leyds & Rients Hofstra (Mc Rae Enduro)

Cars – subcategory “Rigid Axles”

1° Alwin Oud & Mark Luijckx (Bowler)
2° Peter Erren & Jean-Paul Van der Poel (Wrangler Jeep)
3° Erwin Imschoot & Jan De Paepe (Toyota Landcruiser HDJ80)


1° David Rozand & Denis Rozand (Predator X-18)
2° Jean-Antoine Sabatier & Vincent Brotons (Bugga One)
3° Pascal Cattiaux & Michel Ollivier (Predator X-18)


1° Gregoor Bauwens, Marc Lauwers & Dave Bergmans (Iveco)
2° Wouter Leenknegt, Gregory van Gheluwe & Mike Strinckx (MAN)
3° Karel Vereecke, Wineboud De Lille & Rik  Van Hoorebeke (Mercedes)


1° Thierry Gerome & Geoffroy Noel de Burlin (Polaris RZR)
2° Laurent Tournay & Clarisse Beckers (Polaris RZR)
3° Janus Van Kasteren & Erwin Van Den Bosch (Polaris RZR)


1° Kim De Rycker (KTM)
2° Luc Van de Huygevoort (KTM)
3° Ben Norman (KTM)


1° Guido Slaats (KTM)
2° Joey Van den Outenaar (Polaris Scrambler)
3° Jacob Van den Outenaar (Polaris Scrambler)


Congratulations to the winners of Libya Rally 2015

Cars/Trucks/Buggies/SSV’s (General Ranking)
1° Gert Huzink (Tatra Truck)
2° Jack Brouwers (Ginaf Truck)
3° Thierry Gerome (SSV – Polaris RZR)

Cars & Buggies
1° Maaik Willems (Toyota Overdrive)
2° Alwin Oud (Bowler QT Wildcat)
3° Tim Coronel (Maxxis Dakar Buggy)

Cars (subcategory Rigid Axls)
1° Alwin Oud & Mark Luijckx (Bowler)
2° Egbert Wingens (Wrangler Jeep Proto)
3° Eric Loomans (Bowler Wildcat)

Cars/Trucks/Buggies/SSV’s (General Ranking)
1° Gert Huzink (Tatra Truck)
2° Jack Brouwers (Ginaf Truck)
3° Thierry Gerome (SSV – Polaris RZR)

1° Gert Huzink (Tatra)
2° Jack Brouwers (Ginaf)
3° Enrico Van Der Donk (Ginaf)

1° Thierry Gerome & Geoffroy Noel de Burlin (Polaris RZR)
2° José Manuel Fernandez & Denis Habran (Polaris RZR)
3° Janus Van Kasteren & Erwin Van Den Bosch (Polaris RZR)

1° Kim De Rycker (KTM)
2° Andrew Newland (KTM)
3° Joris Van Dyck (KTM)

1° Guido Slaats (KTM)
2° Gerben Lieverdink (KTM)
3° René Van Eerd (KTM)


Congratulations to the winners of Libya Rally 2016

Cars & Buggies / SSV’s (General Ranking)
1° Jérome Renaud & Gabriel Péméant – Sadev Springbok
2° Vincent Thijs & Serge Bruynkens – Mitsubishi Pajero Mivec
3° Michiel Becx & Edwin Kuijpers – Yamaha YXZ

Cars & Buggies
1° Jérome Renaud & Gabriel Péméant  – Sadev Springbok
2° Vincent Thijs & Serge Bruynkens – Mitsubishi Pajero Mivec
3° Erik Loomans & Hans De Pauw  – Bowler Wildcat

1° Michiel Becx & Edwin Kuijpers  – Yamaha YXZ
2° Thierry Gerome & Geoffroy Noël de Burlin (Polaris RZR – Turbo)
3° Pascal Mercier & François Beguin (Polaris RZR – Turbo)

1° Martin Van den Brink / Wouter De Graaff / Daniel Kozlovsky (Renault)
2° Igor Bouwens / Marc Lauwers / Dave Bergmans (Iveco)
3° Aart Schoones / Gertjan Schoones / Jarno Van Wijk (Daf)

1° Michael Lundberg (SWE)
2° Gilles Vanderweyen (LUX)
3° Max Hunt (UK)

1° Gerben Lieverdink (HOL)
2° Joey  Van den Outenaar (HOL)
3° René Van Eerd (HOL)


Congratulations to the winners of the Morocco Desert Challenge 2017

4×4,  Buggy / SSV (General Ranking)
1° Tomas Ourednicek & David Kripal – Ford Ranger South Racing
2° Maik Willems & Ed Wigman – Toyota Overdrive
3° Erwin Imschoot & Olivier Imschoot – Toyota Overdrive

1° Tomas Ourednicek & David Kripal – Ford Ranger South Racing
2° Maik Willems & Ed Wigman – Toyota Overdrive
3° Erwin Imschoot & Olivier Imschoot – Toyota Overdrive

1° Pascal Mercier & François Beguin – Can-Am
2° Marc Lauwers & Bob Geens – Can-Am
3° Godfried Lintjens & Maurice Geraards – Can-Am

1°  Tim Coronel (Coronel Buggy, solo)
2° Stephane Henrard & Gatien Dubois (Dunbee Beetle)

1° Martin Van den Brink & Wouter De Graaff  & Daniel Kozlovsky – Renault
2° Gert Huzink & Rob Buursen & Benny Nauta – Renault
3° Elisabete Jacinto & Jose Marques & Marco Cochinho – MAN

1° Harite Gabari (MA)
2° Pedro Bianchi Prata (PT)
3° Olivier Scheen (BE)

1° Joey van den Outenaar (NL)
2° René van Eerd (NL)
3° Erik van Eerd (NL)


The 2018 edition was epic! For our 10th anniversary edition, we went the extra mile. And by the looks of it, our participants loved it!

Check out the winners of the 2018 edition:

Winners in the motorbike category:

  1. Mario PATRAO
  2. Maikel SMITS
  3. Duong NGUYEN KHOA

Winners in the SSV category:

  2. Godfried LINTJENS/Erik KLOMP
  3. Philippe PINCHEDEZ/Yves CLAIR

Winners in the car & buggy category:

  1. Jes MUNK/Rafal MARTON
  2. Boris VACULIK/Martin PLECHATY
  3. Maik WILLEMS/Robert VAN PELT

Winners in the truck category:

  1. Ales LOPRAIS
    Lukas JANDA
    Ferran Marco ALCAYNA
  2. Martin VAN DEN BRINK
    Mitchel VAN DEN BRINK
    Wouter DE GRAAFF
    Kurt KEYSERS


At the end of the 2018 anniversary edition, organizer Gert Duson made a promise: the next edition would continue in the same spirit, only better and bigger. And he kept his word. With more than 1000 participants and a crew of more than 200 people, the MDC grew into the 2nd largest rally raid in the world.


After 3 years of absense due to the pandemic we could finally return to Morocco in April 2023. This 8th edition of the MDC was nothing like we had seen before. The biggest field of competitors so far with 300 vehicles in competition. The largest bivouac with 1300 people. A new route, ending the rally in the dunes of Erg Chebbi, Merzouga. With temperatures reaching as high as 45° in the shade, we redefinded the concept of Extreme Rally Raid.


  1. Lorenzo Santolino
  2. Rui Gonçalves
  3. Pol Tarres


  1. Martin van den Brink / Mitchel van den Brink
  2. Gert Huzink / Rob Buursen
  3. Rudy Roquesalane / Vincent Ferri


  1. Mathieu Serradori / Loïc Minaudier
  2. Simon Vitse / Frédéric Lefebvre
  3. Jérome Pélichet / Pascal Larroque


  1. Vick Versteijnen / Teun Val Dal / Andre Van Der Sande
  2. Igor Bouwens / Syndiely Wade / Ulrich Boerboom
  3. Karoly Fazekas / Andras Fabian / Ferenc Barath


Winners in the motorbike category:
1. #113 Pol Tarrés
2. #108 Amaury Baratin
3. #121 Valentin Sertilhanges

Winners in the SSV category:
1. #201 Mitchel van den Brink & Bart van Heun
2. #202 Gert Huzink & Rob Buursen
3. #234 Adam Kus & Marcin Pasek

Winners in the car category:
1. #301 Mathieu Serradori & Loïc Minaudier
2. #315 David Gerard & Pascal Delacour
3. #312 Christian Femont & Christophe Van Desse

Winners in the truck category:
1. #501 Igor Bouwens, Syndiely Wade & Ulrich Boerboom
2. #503 Claudio Bellina, Andrea Bellina & Ettore Vitale
3. #507 Giso Verschoor, Pascal de Baar & Alfred Sturm

Don't limit your challenges. Challenge your limits.