The 25th all female Rallye Aicha des Gazelles will take place March 20-April 4 and America will be sending 10 teams. European competitors will start with technical verifications March 20 in Paris, with American teams joining them in Rabat, Morocco on March 24. From there teams will travel over the Atlas Mountains to Erfoud to start the 9-day competition.
Participants in the Gazelle Rally are not allowed chase crews, cell phones, or GPS. Points are awarded for shortest distance between checkpoints, not fastest time. Teams can choose their route with the help of an old map, a plotter, and a compass. There is no roadbook. Teams are given map coordinates and must plot them on their maps, find their heading, then drive in as straight a line as possible. If a team comes upon an obstacle, be it a wash or a mountain, they must navigate around it and then return to their original heading.
With the exception of the marathon legs, teams return each night to a mobile bivouac, where they eat, sleep, gas up, and receive mechanical assistance.
Pat Klishevich and Veronique De Sybourg-Siffert is the only US/Swiss team competing in the 2015 Gazelle Rally. The two met in 2013 when they were both Gazelles for the first time.
Navigator Pat Klishevich is a pharmacist at Boothwyn Pharmacy in Delaware County, PA. She was born and raised in Delaware County, got her Bachelor of Science degree at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and has been a practicing pharmacist for 35 years. Klishevich has two sons, both married, and is now a very proud grandmother. Klishevich’s love of off roading began when bought her 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser. She has since explored the countryside with the FJ Bruisers, but has also explored internationally well. She crossed Vatnajokull, Iceland, the biggest glacier in Europe and spent time exploring the back roads of Bolivia last year.
Driver Veronique De Sybourg-Siffert is an independent nails prostheticist. She lives in Fribourg, Switzerland with her husband and has 3 children and a granddaughter. Always a thrill-seeker, she enjoys skiing, traveling, and motorsports. Past obsessions include motorcycling, karting, and training in F3 cars. She has an HGV license (a European truck driver’s license) and her private pilot’s license. Her latest adrenaline shot: sky diving.
The team will compete in Klishevich’s 2008 FJ Cruiser, Trail Teams Special Edition. With a 4.0L V6 knocking out 239hp and 278 lb/ft of torque, the TTSE came with a few special goodies. Specially-tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires with custom 16-inch TRD alloy wheels, Cyclone air cleaner, differential lock and A-TRAC, TRD exhaust system, rock rails, all-weather floor mats, front bumper-mounted auxiliary lights, and front and rear skid plates were all standard.
Klisheivich has further modified her FJ with:
Toytec Boss suspension with Light Racing Upper Control Arms
ARB front and Rear Bumper
ARB on board air compressor
ATX Mohave wheels
Mile Marker winch with Amsteel Blue synthetic line
PIAA 540s Roof lights front
PIAA 1500 Floods rear lights
Hella fog lights
IPF bumper lights
Klishevich attempted to ship her FJ to Morocco for the 2013 Gazelle Rally, but a customs snafu meant that she was unable to retrieve it on time to start the rally. Her team ended up having to rent an Isuzu D-Max in Casablanca, incurring both shipping costs for the FJ and rental costs for the D-Max.
Klishevich and Siffert are participating in the rally to honor Klishevich’s father, Jaulk, who recently passed away from MDS. Myelodysplastic Syndromes are a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder”. Part of any donations received for their registration fees went to the MDS Foundation.
We’ll be posting daily updates on TFL Car, but you can follow all the American teams and even send them messages of encouragement at www.gazellerally.com.
TFL Car has also had some good times off road, like in this fun video.