On Tuesday, The King of Morocco hosted an event for the country’s 28th Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc at MAMO Restaurant in lower Manhattan.
Every year, Morroco hosts an all women, off-road motorsport rally where women from all over the world compete to navigate through the middle of the Moroccan desert in vehicles with no GPS. The 2018 U.S. team of women, referred to as Gazelles, came together on Tuesday night to celebrate their journey to Morocco for the two-week race which is being held from the 16th to the 31st of March this year.
The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is the first rally of its kind, with a roster only made up of women from different cultural and racial backgrounds and a motor race solely dependent on collaboration and determination. The Gazelles: Jazmin Grimaldi & Kiera Chaplin, Schanel B. & Pauline Ducret, Keanna Erickson-Chang & Claudia Barbera-Pullen, and Martine Taylor & Elena Sorre were the guests of honor for the night, and celebrated with cocktails and tasty finger foods. Provided by MAMO, the menu for the night was a mix of French and Italian classics with a twist such as fried rice balls, pasta with tomato sauce and basil, and ravioli with fresh truffle.
The ambience throughout night was upbeat, relaxed and warm as the guests mingled amongst each other while snacking on hors-d’oeuvres and discussing the excitement annual event. A high energy race like this was not the first for one of the guests of honor for the night, Elena Sorre. Sorre, who has been on many adventurous expeditions in the past, describes her love for these type of events as a “spirit that never goes away”. As the navigator for her team in this year’s race, she views this as an opportunity to “challenge ourselves, learn new skills and test ourselves”. Sorre also praised the non-profit organization that was created by the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc, called the Cœur de Gazelles. When asked about their philanthropic work, she attributed it as one of the reasons that her and fellow Gazelle Martine Taylor chose to join the competition. “At the heart of (The Gazelles) is a humanitarian effort,” she says, “the fact that top-grade medical attention can come into communities and villages to help people that would normally never have access to such health care, basically is what sold us.”
While the annual competition provides an opportunity for women to unite and participate in an amazing competition, it’s priority to maintain the well-being of their community is just as admirable. Along with the success of Cœur de Gazelles, this rally is the only motor rally in the world with ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification which focuses on using practical environmental tools and standards to help organizations maintain environmental integrity.