Gazelles TV - Dreux and Trocadero
GAZELLES TV 2014 - DREUX and TROCADERO
Dreux: the day is done
Dreux, 7:00 p.m. Here and there, the last Gazelles are carrying out their final verifications and validations. There are just a few verification sheets left to collect. The effervescence that could be felt earlier in the day is giving way to a more relaxed atmosphere. The organizers can stop to catch their breath… and to prepare for another long day tomorrow!
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Belles of the desert
While Gazelles are beautiful by nature, their vehicles also have the right to be appreciated for their physical appearance! At the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, this idea has become a creative challenge sponsored by Hexis, Rallye partner and leading French manufacturer of visual communication products. It is hardly surprising that Hexis encourages the Gazelles to go easy on the exterior of their faithful companion during the competition!
Every year Hexis awards a prize to the team with the best-decorated vehicle. The much-coveted Hexis Beauty Car Challenge prize pays the winning team's registration fees for the next edition of the Rallye. The winner will be announced during the award ceremony in Essaouira. The icing on the cake: Hexis offers a case of 24 cans of Hexis Energy Drink, created in 2010, to every team… to be consumed as needed: good for getting over that mid-afternoon slump!
Vehicles in order, everyone on the same footing!
The Rallye mechanics are kept busy working on every vehicle that passes through their workshop. The odometer is verified. Any built-in GPS system is disconnected, because the Gazelles must rely solely on maps and compasses. The ground clearance is also checked.
Le réservoir d’essence est aussi regardé de près : il doit être bien fixé et les éventuels réservoirs additionnels sont bien sûr, supprimés. Enfin,les mécaniciens vérifient que le chargement des Gazelles est réglementairement bien arrimé afin que rien ne puisse bouger lors des étapes.
Smile, you're on camera!
After the mechanics workshops and vehicle stickering, every team must visit the photographer for an unchanging ritual: the team photo. Team number clearly visible, Gazelles facing the camera.
These team portraits will facilitate the task of the media team, making it possible for them to quickly respond to specific requests from journalists throughout the Rallye. Even with their goggles, helmets, suntans and air of fatigue, our team of photo indexers will be able to recognize every participant. Around 25,000 photos are processed during the Rallye: a Herculean task!
Medical workshop: valuable advice!
The Gazelles meet with the Rallye's medical team in the control tower of the Dreux racetrack.
They are greeted by nurses Lucie and Gilles. Step 1: verification of the emergency first aid kit (obligatory!) and the vaccination booklets. "We sent them a list of emergency medications that they should carry in their vehicles, in case of minor digestive problems, aches and pains..." explains Lucie. Laure and Julien, emergency doctors, collect the medical aptitude certificates and look over the medical questionnaire filled out by each Gazelle.
"This interview also allows us to present the medical equipment and resources deployed at the Rallye", explains Laure. It is also an opportunity to provide valuable advice: stay hydrated, protect yourselves from the sun, be careful of your eyes, take breaks, especially around noon (stop to eat!), and have fun!
Iritrack, SARSAT…Gazelles under surveillance
It takes the mechanics just 5 minutes to install them in the vehicle, but these devices will be invaluable throughout the Rallye for ensuring the safety of the Gazelles.
The Iritrack terminal makes it possible for the Race PC to follow the position of every team in real time. Each team is given a sheet of instructions on how to use it. These instructions must remain inside the vehicle at all times. The Iritrack transmitter should only be used in the event of an emergency. Green button: Request for mechanical assistance (subject to a hefty penalty!) Red button: Request for medical assistance.
The SARSAT beacon provides a second level of security in the event of a medical emergency. This device, used for years by explorers, ocean sailors and air transport companies, emits a distress alert that is transmitted to the Race PC Course by international search and rescue authorities.
24th edition, 24 nationalities!
Women from around the globe! A total of 24 countries will be represented in this year's competition, illustrating the diversity and the open-mindedness of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles. Naturally, the French teams outnumber the rest: 146 pairs of women from the organizing country will be on the starting line. But several other countries are well-represented including Canada (6 teams), the USA (4), and, of course, Morocco (4).
The international success of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles and a growing sense of enthusiasm for this extraordinary event can be seen in the diversity of its participants. This year's Gazelles hail from many countries across Europe (Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Bulgaria, Italy, Norway) as well as Africa (Angola, Congo, Senegal, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt) and more: Yemen, Indonesia, Colombia, Vietnam, Russia… The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles director greeted the English-speaking Gazelles in their mother tongue this morning in Dreux: "My name is Dominique Serra. I am very proud of you to be here with us!!" to resounding applause…
Vehicle stickering: done
The vehicles line up one behind the other and the Gazelles get busy with a job requiring fine motor skills! Their team numbers and the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles stickers must be displayed on different areas of the vehicle: the two front side doors, the roof, on the front and rear of the vehicle.
The goal is not to decorate the vehicles but to make them easily identifiable in the field by organizers, journalists and photographers. Not too high, not too low... those who didn't position them correctly will have to start again!
The much-coveted Rallye vest!
It means that Rallye has really begun, even though the actual competition is still to come. This year's vest, created by Soleil Sucré, is of a shade of coral that really complements the Gazelles' complexions. The reaction is unanimous: "Gorgeous!" For Team 106 (Marie Menozzi and Brigitte Zenou - INGENIA), 35-year-old friends with the same blond hair, same smile and same down jacket, "It's a colour that makes us glow!"
To easily identify the different roles of the people attending the Rallye, there are different colours of vest. Maïenga staff have a red vest, organizers are in blue... a highly practical way to recognize who does what! The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Morocco is embroidered on the Gazelles' vests; the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc is the only automotive event with this honour. The coat of arms is there to remind the Gazelles of the respect due to the land and people of Morocco throughout their adventure.
First real contact with the Rallye...
Here we go: the Gazelles have reached the Dreux racetrack, outside of Paris! First contact with the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, before tomorrow's opening ceremonies at the Paris Trocadéro.
There is a feverishness in the air: this is the start of the adventure… The first teams arrived for 6:30 a.m. and had a first briefing with Dominique Serra at 7:00, during which she explained today's procedures and discussed tomorrow's opening ceremonies at the Trocadéro Gardens, where more than 50,000 people are expected to gather to see the Gazelles off on their journey. Safety, calm, organization and punctuality will be the watchwords of the day!
The Gazelles received the famous Rallye vest that will be their faithful companion until Essaouira. Now they are beginning the rounds of the different workshops. They start with the distribution of materials and equipment: maps, army rations, Iritrack tracking system and Sarsat distress beacon…. This is followed by other workshops: installation of security systems, vehicle conformity, medical interview with the Rallye doctors, declaration of any unauthorized equipment (GPS, laptop…), distribution of tickets for the Barcelona - Morocco ferry, and the stickering of the vehicles! An extremely busy program!
Friday March 14: Technical and administrative verifications - Dreux racetrack
Today's objective for our Gazelles: to be ready for the ceremonial presentation of the teams and the official start of the 24th edition at the Trocadéro gardens in Paris tomorrow, Saturday March 15! - See more at: http://www.rallyeaichadesgazelles.com/en/Rally/2014/Leg/dreux/description/#sthash.u5Fqi3S2.dpuf
Today's objective for our Gazelles: to be ready for the ceremonial presentation of the teams and the official start of the 24th edition at the Trocadéro gardens in Paris tomorrow, Saturday March 15!