British and Irish riders well prepared for Morocco Desert Challenge
The motorbike field of the Morocco Desert Challenge will be even stronger this year. With the 53 participants in quads and motorbikes the field is bigger than ever. Amongst them are Phil Turner, Ben Morley and Maurice Guilfoyle who came to Morocco last month to prepare themselves for this big challenge.
Ben Morley is one of the more experienced riders of the three, and took preparation for the Morocco Desert Challenge very serious. “In October we went to Merzouga with Desert Rose”, started Morley. “In January we came again to train and did a competitive rally in March in preparation for the Morocco Desert Challenge. It’s good to be in good shape before the Morocco Desert Challenge.” Morley debuted his brand new KTM 450 Rally Replica only in March and that is causing some concern for him: “I’m nervous about the MDC. I have done rallies in the past but they were all on a enduro bike. I only started riding my Replica in March and the motorbike is asking a lot of questions in the dunes with my kind of riding style. It’s difficult in the big dunes. I’m hoping that the MDC has a bit more piste.”
“I can’t wait for it to start after this week op preparation”, Irish rider Guilfoyle said at the end of a long week in Moroccan dunes. “This week has had it’s ups and downs but overall it’s been pretty good. We had a few mechanicals and a few crashes but we’re alright now. I can’t wait to the start!”
Phil Turner is one of the new kids on the block. “I rode in March my first proper rally”, he said. “So far it’s been good to me. I’ve been learning new things every day and the rally has been good in terms of progression. There were no massive dunes in the beginning to start with and hopefully that will set me up nicely for the Morocco Desert Challenge.” Asked if knows what to expect in the MDC, Turner said: “It’s going to be very hot, the distances will be very long and the riders are on a very high level. So for me it’s a next level as well. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I know I will not win the rally but it’s good to become a better rider.” Psychologically the MDC is different than some other races, Morley adds: “It’s different. We are going to a new destination every day and it’s not that we have to go round and round and back to the same hotel every day. Sometimes I’m mentally weak in that kinds of things while Phil is very strong. He’s training me in that.”
The Morocco Desert Challenge starts this Sunday 15th of April from Plage Blanche and finishes eight days later in Oujda. A total of 700 competitors will start the race.