Africa Race | Monaco - Dakar | 2024


To start off the year 2024 on a high note and mark the beginning of the 15th edition of the Africa Eco Race across 2 continents, 5 countries crossed and 6,500kms of desert.

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This Sunday, January 14, 2024, as tradition dictates since the creation of the AFRICA ECO RACE, the 15th edition concluded at Lac Rose in Dakar. A true celebration, this parade of winners and finishers on the podium was organized by the Senegalese Auto Moto Federation, the host organization for this event. The ceremony was preceded by the traditional special stage at Lac Rose, a 22 km stretch from Niokob Beach to the mythical lake, where motorcycles, cars, and trucks still in the race completed the circuit. A final honorable battle that, however, surprises every year.

In the Motorcycle category, all the riders of the AFRICA ECO RACE 2024 decided to honor one of their own, the handicapped rider Nicola DUTTO. To do this, the bikers followed the Italian and his two guardian angels who accompanied him throughout the rally, allowing him to open and win this final timed sector. A way to pay tribute to this extraordinary athlete who covered almost 6000 km of the course strapped to his KTM equipped with a roll cage protecting his legs in case of a fall.

After the race, the top three overall riders, Italian Jacopo CERRUTI on APRILA also 1st in Multicylinders -1000 CC, his compatriot Alessandro BOTTURI also 1st Veteran, and Andorran Pol TARRES on YAMAHA, received magnificent bronze trophies. Subsequently, winners in different categories were also rewarded, including Swiss Alexandre VAUDAN 1st in under 450 CC, also 1st in the Acerbis Rookie Rider Challenge on KTM, Patrice CARILLON 1st in the Motul Xtreme Rider Challenge on KTM, Italian Giovanni STIGLIANO 1st in over 450 CC on HUSQVARNA, Spaniard Juan PEDRERO 1st in Multicylinders over 1000 CC on HARLEY DAVIDSON, not forgetting the British Vanessa RUCK, the first female rider on KTM. Finally, all finishing riders received a bronze medal symbolizing the feat of staying in the rankings.

On four wheels, Frenchmen Gautier PAULIN and Remi BOULANGER, overall winners, logically were the first to place their SSV APACHE on the podium to receive the two bronze trophies and the two trophies in the SSV T3 U category. Next were the Belgians Pascal FERYN and Kurt KEYSERS, 2nd in the Rally and 1st in the 4×4 Petrol category on their TOYOTA, while in 3rd position, Spaniards Carlos VENTO and Carlos RUIZ MORENO also led the CAN AM to victory in T4.

Czech Tomas TOMECEK was rewarded for his 5th victory in the truck category driving his TATRA. Frenchmen Frédéric HENRICY and Eric BERSEY emerged victorious in the SSV EXTREME RACE challenge on POLARIS, Dutchmen Teun STAM and Rene BARGEMAN won in 4×4 Diesel on TOYOTA, Moroccan Souad MOUTKADIRI finished as the first African female rider with her CAN AM, while Italians Giulio VERZELETTI and Giuseppe FORTUNA clinched victory in the Truck -10000 CC category on their MERCEDES. Finally, Italians Stefano ROSSI and Jacopo CASINI received the Experimental Vehicle trophy on a NISSAN powered by Hydrogen, while Eric and Grégoire COQUIDE won the OPEN category, also on NISSAN. Also, not to forget to honor the race veteran Yoshimasa SUGAWARA, a legend in the discipline and finisher at 83, driving a vehicle he built with his own hands.

In the Classic race, Belgians Tom and Eric CLAEYS were awarded the winners’ trophy ahead of their compatriots René DECLERCQ and John DEMEESTER, while Austrian Peter BRABECK-LEMATHE and Frenchman Jean Michel GAYTE completed the podium.

The final highlight of the AFRICA ECO RACE 2024 was the group photo of the 160 members of the organizing team and service providers. Like many competitors, all pledged to be present for the 2025 edition!

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Up until now, the AFRICA ECO RACE has been spared from weather problems. Unfortunately, on Friday morning, for the 10th stage, a violent wind swept across the Amodjar plateau causing a sandstorm that prevented the organisation’s helicopters from taking off. Without a helicopter, it was impossible to ensure optimum safety and to monitor the race, so the decision was taken to send the bikes, cars and trucks in convoy to the petrol station from where the start was given. As a result, the 387km special stage was shortened by 190km, cutting out the section of dunes planned for the start of the stage.

In the motorbike category, after yesterday’s 6-minute penalty for Alessandro BOTTURI, it’s fair to say that the blues were in low spirits this morning. Indeed, it would have been difficult to take back those 6 minutes from Jacopo CERRUTI, the APRILIA driver, who has been imperious since the start of the Rally. Despite this, Alessandro BOTTURI gave his all on his Yamaha 700 Tenere to win the special stage with a time of 00:02:26 over Jacopo CERUTTI’s APRILA 660 Tuareg, 2nd on the day. Overall, BOTTURI is now just 00:04:38 behind CERRUTI.

As always on the AFRICA ECO RACE, Saturday’s final day will be the last stage to include a timed sector. This will be the only opportunity for some competitors to put in a good performance before the finish, which will be judged not far from Nouakchott after 247km of special stages. All that remains for the finishers is a 255km liaison to the bivouac near Saint Louis in Senegal, where they will be reunited with friends, family and partners who have come specially for the occasion.

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All the competitors were unanimous upon arriving at the finish line located on the runway of the Chinguetti airfield in saying that this 9th stage in the form of a loop around Amodjar was the most beautiful so far in this 15th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE. But it was also the most difficult, with a copious 90km stretch of dunes and, once again, varied terrain that was hard on both machines and men. All this over 363 kilometers in blazing sunshine. As a result, the gaps at the finish were quite large, and the rankings were shaken up several times, except at the top of the table.

the performance of the day went to Juan Pedrero Garcia. The HARLEY DAVIDSON 1250 PAN AMERICA set off in 23rd position. After a crash at kilometer 40, the Spanish giant put in a strong attack, including in the dunes, to claim the 9th fastest time of the day. A real achievement when you consider that the course was far from ideal for the ‘big’ HARLEY. Finally, a word about Kevin DURAND, who also cracked the top 10 for the first time. The Frenchman had a huge smile on his face at the finish, such was his delight. In the Motul Xtrem Rider category, a second consecutive victory for Frenchman Patrice CARILLON who, by finishing 13th, strengthened his position in the provisional overall standings in this category of unassisted motorbike trunks.

Tomorrow, the AFRICA ECO RACE caravan will head for the village of Akjoujt on the road between Atar and Nouakchott. The 413km stage, 387km of which will be a special, will start from the bivouac and will allow all those in attendance to watch the race vehicles take off. This will be the penultimate opportunity to shine on a route that is 90% sand, making it a real test of driving skills.

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By the end of the 390km special stage between Chami and Amodjar, there was no doubt that all the terrain and difficulties that can be found in Africa were on display, in the heart of the splendid Mauritanian desert landscape and in unseasonably high temperatures. Despite all this, the leaders held up well in both the car and motorbike categories, so there were few changes.

Once again, in the motorbike category, the top three riders in the overall classification crossed the finish line together. Alessandro BOTTURI was the first to set off from Chami this morning, but crashed for the first time in the small strip of dunes after 10km. By the time he had put his Yamaha Tenerée700 back on its wheels, the Italian saw the APRILIA 660 TUAREG of his compatriot Jacopo CERUTTI, who had started 2 minutes behind, catch up with him. The two men then rode together. They even crashed at exactly the same time, for the delight of the photographers positioned in that place, who immortalized the two perfectly coordinated front somersaults.

Tomorrow, Thursday 11 January, the second loop of the 15th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE will take place. There’s no doubt that this will be the toughest part of the event, with 363km of special stages featuring sand, stones, dunes and navigation, all at 35 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow the competitors will have so much work to do, while the assistance services will be on stand-by for the duration of this 9th stage.

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Everything possible is being done on the AFRICA ECO RACE to minimise the impact of the event on the environment of the countries it crosses. To achieve this, setting up loops around a bivouac is an ideal strategy, as the rally caravan doesn’t have to move around. This was the case today, with the start 20km from the bivouac of Chami and the finish 500 meters away after a 453km special stage. This first loop should do some damage to the standings, both on the bikes, where many riders are missing waypoints, and on the four-wheelers, where the gaps at the finish are quite substantial.

Once again today, the battle raged between the two-cylinder bikes in the motorbike category. But for once, one of the three race leaders was missing at the finish. It was Pol TARRES who, following exhaust problems on his Yamaha 700 Tenere, crossed the finish line almost 13 minutes after his team-mate Alessandro BOTTURI, the day’s winner.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 10 January 2024, the AFRICA ECO RACE caravan will head east towards the village of AMODJAR. The 390km special stage is 100% sand, which could prove complicated given the current heat in Mauritania, which is well over 30 degrees.

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The AFRICA ECO RACE caravan got up at the crack of dawn on Monday 8 January to complete the 370km route to the Moroccan border. A typical Moroccan buffet awaited the participants before they left the country and crossed No Man’s Land into Mauritania. After passing through customs and completing a 30km liaison, the competitors in this 15th edition started from Boulanouar for the 205km special stage to the Chami bivouac. It was an ideal start to the second week of the rally, which saw them discover the sandy tracks.

Once again, the three leading motorbike riders were together in the battle today, and this time it turned in favour of Pol TARRES. Riding his Yamaha 700 Ténéré, the Andorran beat Italian Jacopo CERUTTI’s APRILIA 660 Tuareg by 00:01:07 and team-mate Alessandro BOTTURI by 00:01:52.

With his 2nd victory, TARRES regained second place overall, the lead is still held by CERUTTI, while BOTTURI moved up to 3rd. But the gaps are closing and tomorrow, everything could change in the Chami loop

Tomorrow, Tuesday 8 January 2024, the first of the two loops of this 15th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE will take the competitors from “Gare Du Nord”, 20 km from Chami, to a finish directly at the bivouac, after 453 km of special stages. The first big chunk in the Mauritanian sands could make all the difference.

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This final stage of the AFRICA ECO RACE on Moroccan soil was completed at lightning speed, with the 404km selective sector completed in 03:31:53 for the bike and 03:31:53 for the car. An identical time to the nearest second! Something rarely seen in the history of Cross-Country Rallies. This is certainly due to the fact that since this year, the cars, SSVs and trucks have all been neutralised for 20 minutes, just like the bikes. It’s quite a coincidence, but one that deserves to be highlighted.

In motorcycling, we take the same three and start again. This time, the battle between Jacopo CERUTTI’s APRILIA and the two YAMAHAs of Pol TARRES and Alessandro BOTTURI went in favour of the latter. The Italian won with a lead of 00:01:57 over his team-mate and 00:03:57 over CERUTTI. In other words, the three riders crossed the finish line together for the third time in a row.

It is therefore impossible to really separate them in Morocco because CERRUTI, leader since day one, has 00:03:15 over BOTTURI and a further 30 seconds over TARRES.

This situation could quickly change in Mauritania, as the terrain will be so selective.

Sunday 7 January, the participants in this 15th edition of the AFRICA ECO RACE will be able to recharge their batteries and overhaul their vehicles at the Dakhla bivouac set up on the edge of the lagoon. A much-needed break before the second week of the race in Mauritania.

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For some competitors in the AFRICA ECO RACE 2024, Stage 3 may have left its mark, but for others, the motivation was very much in evidence this morning at the start of the bivouac at Oued Draa, not far from Tagounite. It has to be said that this 467km special was particularly long, over varied terrain with some rather demanding navigation at the end of the route.

Once again today, Italy’s Jacopo CERUTTI was the strongest. Starting in 3rd position this morning behind the two official Yamaha’s, the APRILIA rider managed to catch the Italian Alessandro BOTTURI, who had started in the lead, and the Andorran Pol TARRES, who had started 2nd. This was his 3rd victory since the start of the rally and strengthened his overall lead over TARRES at 00:08:55, with BOTTURI at 00:10:22.

Tomorrow, the AFRICA ECO RACE will continue its descent due south towards Dakhla, where the rest day will take place on Sunday 7 January. In the meantime, after a 27km liaison, there will be a 397km special stage and a 168km liaison to finally take a breather on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean before tackling the second week in Mauritania.

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With 8 degrees on the thermometer, the temperature was already much milder on the morning of Thursday January 4 at the start of the Oued Draa bivouac, not far from Mahmid, the Mecca of Rally Raids in Morocco. All the conditions were in place for a great day’s racing.

Alessandro BOTTURI was all smiles at the finish of the 463km special stage between Mahmid and Assa. Riding his Yamaha 700 Ténéré, the two-time winner of the event had won the stage and taken 2nd place overall from Pol TARRES, the second official rider for the blues. It was a great result for the jovial Italian, who beat his team-mate by 00:01:29 in the selective sector and by 00:00:35 in the provisional standings.

Tomorrow, Friday January 5, another big stage awaits the participants, with 467km of selective sector and just 5km of liaison between Oued Draa and Fort Chacal.

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From sunrise, with sub-zero temperatures at the Boudnib bivouac, the day got off to a difficult start for the participants in the AFRICA ECO RACE 2024. The 383km special stage between Boudnib and Mhamid was not going to make it any easier.

While the competitors in the race, the Classic and the participants in the Raid were giving their all on the track, and the organising team was in place to manage the race, the terrible news of René METGE‘s death began to spread throughout the race. Suffice to say that the atmosphere was heavy on the Mhamid bivouac at the end of the day and that the performances on this 2nd stage almost took second place.

Whatever happens, the race will continue tomorrow as René, one of the pillars of the AFRICA ECO RACE, would have wanted.

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It was 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 2nd 2024, when the first vehicle in the AFRICA ECO RACE caravan touched down on the quayside of the port of Nador in northern Morocco.

Once the administrative formalities had been completed, the first motorcycle set off on the 185 km route to the start line not far from Debdou, almost 1h30 behind schedule.

The program included a rather rolling special stage with frequent changes of direction, and in the end, 173 km swallowed up in 01:54:09 by the APRILIA Touareg 660 of Italian Jacopo CERUTTI. A superb performance for the Italian brand’s return to offroas rallies, ahead of the two YAMAHA Ténéré 700s of Alessandro BOTTURI and Pol TARRES, at 00:01:47, but separated by just 3 seconds.

A particular performance of the French-Moroccan Guillaume BORNE, who placed his HUSQVARNA 450 in 4th position ahead of the HONDA 450 of Italian Giovanni GRITTI, who rounded off the top 5. Behind him, Swiss rider Alexandre VAUDAN also made a name for himself on his KTM, finishing just 12 minutes ahead of Frenchman Attilio FERT, also on an Austrian machine. A bike from a manufacturer unaccustomed to being at the forefront of the discipline finished 8th. It was the HARLEY DAVIDSON 1250 of Spaniard Joan PEDRERO.

Rounding out the day’s top 10 were the BETA of Italian Andrea GAVA and the APRILIA of his compatriot Francesco MONTANARI.

On four wheels, following a technical problem, the timing team, the ERTF team in charge of GPS tracking and race management had to work through the night to define the times of each participant and produce the day’s final rankings.

In the end, Spaniards Carlos VENTO and Carlos RUIZ MORENO won their CAN AM for 00:03:11 ahead of the OLIVEIRA team, Rui and Bernardo. Another CAN AM rounded off the day’s podium with the Franco-German crew of Heatcliff ZINGRAF and Gregory REVEST. We had to drop down to 6th position to find the first car of the Belgians Koen WAUTERS and Kris VEN DER STEEN on a TOYOTA. Czech Tomas TOMECEK won the truck category, finishing 11th overall.

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Africa Race Dates 2024
Africa Race | 2024 Dates
Africa Race Dates 2024
Africa Race | 2024 Route

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Discover our first AER INSIDE! Dive into the technical checks in Menton, all the way to the grand departure ceremony in Monaco, including the loading of the caravan in Sète!

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In this second episode, join the Africa Eco Race team on the boat between Sète and Nador!🎉 The Africa Eco Race aims to capture the values of Cross Country Rallies and to take into account new ecological and environmental aspects. The bivouacs are chosen far from the cities and the tarmacs of airport, the competitors find themselves in full desert, far from everything. Mutual aid, solidarity, conviviality are the words that often return in the mouths of those who have lived this adventure. The Africa Eco Race rally welcomes amateurs and professionals and takes place over 6,000 km. It crosses the territories of Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal with the arrival at Lake Rose in Dakar.

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If you are a Dakar Rally fan, make sure to watch Christophe Barriere-Varju in the 10x Award Winner Film, DREAM RACER. Dream Racer is the only film in the Dakar History to have won any awards and it has now become the most awarded motorcycle film in history. Available on Blu-Ray or DVD, or you can stream Dream Racer right away.


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