U.S. Teams Score Record Highs at 2016 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles [News]

#178 Land Rover Defender Emme Hall Sabrina Howells | 2016 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

It’s good to see teams from the United States finish strong in an international race that attracts several hundred participants. Eight American teams descended upon the Moroccan desert to compete in the most prestigious all women’s motorsport event in the world — the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles. Finishing in the top ten spots were four American teams and all eight U.S. entries crossing the finish line along with their international competitors.

California veterans Emme Hall, from Oakland, and Sabrina Howell from Los Angeles were one of the American teams to finish strong in the 26th running of the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles race. This was Hall’s third start, and fourth for Howells, in a 9-day rally race that traversed more than 650 miles of adverse Moroccan desert terrain. Regular visitors to TFLcar and TFLtruck may recognize Emme as a former host of our video shows.

#178 Land Rover Defender Emme Hall Sabrina Howells | 2016 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

Driving the #178 Land Rover Defender, Hall and Howell ran a consistent race and entered the final two-day marathon stage of the rally prepared to fight their way into fourth place. Unfortunately, sorting out a battery problem with their Defender threw them off their game. “I think it affected us mentally,” said Howells. “We started later than we wanted, and we got off-track in the dunes.” The ladies persevered and finished fifth — only one-third of a mile behind the Swiss team of Veronique de Sybourg Siffert and Emilie Khuni.

Securing the third spot on the podium were sisters Susanah and Jo Hannah Hoehn from Carlsbad, California. The duo held onto their podium dreams throughout the rally but had a tense night on Thursday after the air suspension on their #107 Land Rover LR4 went out and mechanics at the overnight camp did not have the parts to repair it. Thankfully, their mother, Karen Hoen, who had put a solid run on the event as a rookie alongside Maureen Gibbons in the #181 Land Rover LR4, gave up parts from her vehicle and abandoned their effort so that the sisters could continue their podium charge.

#180 Toyota Tacoma Chrissie Beavis Nicole Pitell-Vaughan | Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

It was an incredibly close contest for first and second place. In a race where placement is measured in distance, rather than time, the pair of racers from Southern California, Chrissie Beavis and Nicole Pitell-Vaughan battled for the lead throughout the grueling multi-day stage race in their #180 Toyota Tacoma. The pair finished an estimated 1.1 miles behind their closest rivals, the Swiss duo of Regine Zbinden and Ela Steiner.
“It was fun to shoot for the win,” said Beavis. “I’ve been really proud to be here for three years and to have done well in it.” Her debut year in the event was 2013 when Beavis, who is an X Games gold medalist for rally, competed alongside professional surfer Bethany Hamilton and finished 9th.

The Rallye Aicha des Gazelles is internationally renowned rally race exclusively for female teams. It is the only rally race where 100 percent of the participants are women. This year 320 women age 18 to 65 years will come from 33 different countries to participate in this annual rally race set in the Moroccan desert.