• Andreea M.

Female riders of Dakar 1978- present

This is my tribute to all the brave ladies of The Dakar Rally!

Since I was little I know that at the beginning of each year I was hearing news about a rally: Paris- Dakar. I was always hearing my dad being excited when he was looking at videos, news, and footage showing parts of that rally. I never understood the magnitude of this rally until I become myself a motorcyclist. Indeed, not an adventure one, but now I can understand how impressive this rally raid is. A rally raid is also known as cross-country rallying, a form of long-distance off-road racing that takes place over several days. The story of the first Dakar Rally begins in 1977, with Thierry Sabine lost in the Libyan desert during the Abidjan-Nice Rally. After his rescue, Thierry Sabine wanted to share the immensity of that desert with as many other riders as he could. He would go on to create the most challenging, dangerous, and legendary motorsport event on the planet. The Paris to Dakar Rally.

For the first Dakar Rally he coined the phrase: " A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind." First Paris- Dakar (now just "The Dakar" )  started on 26th of December 1978 and finished on 14th of January 1979 summarizing 10.000km in countries like France, Algeria, Niger, Mali, Upper Vota, Senegal. In 2008  due to security threats in Mauritania, led to the cancellation of the 2008 rally. The races since 2009 have been held in South America and the rally is known as "The Dakar". Until today is considered the toughest rally in the world.

I know that is a tough rally but since the beginning, there were ladies that competed .

Now that this year edition is over and i had time to read a lot about it and research the past editions, here you can find some interesting facts about the female riders of Dakar. *1979- the most successful edition in female participation in bikes, 7 brave women, from a total of 90 participants, decided to cross the desert on a motorcycle. The first seven women, all French, were: Martine de Cortanze, Marie Ertaud, Pascale Gueurie, Christine Martin, Husband, Corinne Martine Koppenhague there Rénier. Of these, Martine de Cortanze was the best being 11th on bikes and marking the first female record of history, Marie Ertaud 20th position and Pascale Gueurie with a 27th position, who leave the Dakar to return three years later, but cars, become the first three women to finish the Dakar.

 ( First photo: Martine de Cortanze; Second photo: from left to right Marido, Martine de Cortanze, Pascale Gueurie; Third photo: Martine de Cortanze)

*1980- 4 female riders out of 90 motorcyclists: - Christine Martin 20th position - Nicole Maitrot 23rd position - Marie Ertaud and Martine de Cortanze didn't finish;

 (First photo: Martine de Constanze; Second photo: Christine Martin; Third photo: Martine de Constanze)

*1981- 6 lady riders registered out of 106 motorcyclists: - Christine Martin 10th position - Martine de Cortanze 19th position - Marie Ertaud 26th position - Nicole Maitrot 29th position - The debutantes Marie-Claude Laredo and Patricia De Keiser didn't finish;

 (First photo: Marie Ertaud; Second photo: Martine de Cortanze; Third photo:  Nicole Maitrot and Marie-Claude Laredo)

*1982- 4 brave ladies out of 129 registrants: - Nicole Maitrot 14th position - Marie Ertaud 24th position - Christine Lefort Martin and newcomer Véronique Anquetil didn't succeed;

 ( Photo: Nicole Maitrot)

*1983- 6 female riders out of 132 motorcyclists - Marie Ertaud 15th position - Nicole Maitrot 20th position - Christine Lefort Martin, Marie-Claude Laredo, Véronique Anquetil and newcomer Nicole Bass didn't finish

(First row left to right: Veronique Anquetil, Marie Ertaud, Veronique Anquetil

 Second row left to right: Marie Ertaud, Christine Lefort Martin, Christine Lefort Martin)

 ( Marie Ertaud and Veronique Anquetil)

*1984- 2 female riders out of  114 participants - Véronique Anquetil 4th place at the end of stages 5 and 6 (were linked), getting into history as the highest ranked woman in a stage. She finished 15th - Nicole Bassot failed to finish

 ( All three photos : Véronique Anquetil)

(The only female rider: Veronique Anquetil)

( First photo: Nicole Bassot; Second photo: Bassot sisters; Third photo: Nicole Bassot)

*1985-4 women riders between 135 motorcycles - Veronique Anquetil,  Nicole Bassot, Corinne Koppenhague, Anne-Marie Lecomte they managed to reach the Lac Rose

*1986 - 2 lady riders in a total of 131 motorcyclists -Veronique Anquetil,  Nicole Bassot. Another year without a female presence on the final podium *1987 -2 ladies out of 154 motorcycles -again Anquetil and Bassot tried unsuccessfully *1988 -4 ladies between 183 participants - Patrizia Wolf, Patricia Schek, Jutta Kleinschmidt and Nicole Bassot. None ended

 ( All three photos: Jutta Kleinschmidt)

*1989 -2 ladies among 155 motorcycles registered - Patrizia Wolf 32nd position - Nicole Bassot didn't finish

 ( All three photos: Patrizia Wolf)

Patrizia Wolf

*1990- 1 female riders, 136 participants - Patricia Schek 45th position

 (Both photos Patricia Schek)

*1991- 1 lady rider and a total of 112 motorcyclist - Patricia Schek 42nd position

 ( All three photos Patricia Schek)

( Patricia Schek)

*1992- 98 motorcycles and 2 females riders - Jutta Kleinschmidt  23rd position - Patricia Schek 24th position

( Jutta Kleinschmidt)

*1993 -1 lady rider in a total of 46 motorcycles - Jutta Kleinschmidt failed *1994- 1 lady rider in a total of 95 pilots -Jutta  Kleinschmidt  22nd position *1995 It was the first year without female presence. *1996- 1 lady rider in a total of 95 bikers -Andrea Mayer 45th position *1997 1 lady rider against 125 motorcycles  - Andrea Mayer no luck. *1998- 1 lady rider out of 173 participants - Andrea Mayer had again bad luck

( Andrea Mayer)

*1999-1 lady rider out of a total of 161 participants - Andrea Mayer 32nd place

 ( Andrea Mayer)

*2000-2 ladies between 200 motorcycles - Andrea Mayer 53rd position - Elisabete Jacinto, 49th position

 ( Andrea Mayer)

 ( Elisabete Jacinto)

*2001 2 ladies and 133 participants - Andrea Mayer 30th position - Elisabete Jacinto 56th position

( Andrea Mayer)

 ( Andrea Mayer)

*2002 3 females and 167 motorcycles - Andrea Mayer 23rd position - Mary Sandell 50th position - Annie Seel 54th position

 (First and second photo Annie Seel, Third photo Andrea Mayer)


-Patsy Quick didn't finished 

*2004 Fortunately was the last year without female representatives *2005-3 female pilots and 230 registrants - Ludivine Puy  97th position - Amparo Ausina 102nd position - Alicia Martínez didn't finish

 ( Amparo Ausina)

( Alicia Martínez)

 ( Ludivine Puy)

*2006- 5 females and 232 motorcycles - Patricia Watson-Miller 67th position - Mirjam Pol the "Gesina Maria Pol" 80th position

- Patsy Quick 88th position - Ludivine Puy didn't finish

- Rosa Romero abandoned in 4th stage

( All three photos: Patricia Watson- Miller)

*2007- 6 out of a total of 231 pilots - Ludivine Puy 44th position - Mirjam Pol 49th position - Annie Seel 94th position - Anne Charlotte Tilliette 127th position - Patricia Watson-Miller 86th, position - Amparo Ausina failed to finish

 ( A part of Dakar female riders)

*2008 - the 30th edition of Dakar was canceled due to the threat of Al Qaeda and responding to the strong recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs not to go to Mauritania *2009- the Dakar leave Africa and takes place in South America. 217 participants on bikes, 3 of them women - Mirjam Pol 53rd position, 1st woman - Annie Seel 76th position - Christina Meier didn't finish

 ( Mirjam Pol)

( Annie Seel)

 ( Christina Meier)

*2010- 5 women and 151 motorcycles - Annie Seel 45th position - Silvia Giannetti 67th position - Tamsin Jones 87th position - Christina Meier 85th position - Mirjam Pol didn't finish abandoned in stage 8

( First row all three photos Tamsin Jones

Second row first and second photo Christina Meier, third photo Silvia Giannetti)

*2011- 6 lady riders out of a total of 170 participants - Laia Sanz 39th position - Mirjam Pol 66th position - Silvia Giannetti 79th position - Annie Seel 83rd position - Christina Meier didn't finish - Jennifer Morgan didn't finish

(1. Annie Seel; 2. Mirjam Pol; 3. Jennifer Morgan; 4. Christina Meier; 5. Christina Meier; 6. Silvia Giannetti; 7. Silvia Giannetti; 8. Laia Sanz; 9. Laia Sanz)

*2012 2 female riders and 178 motorcycles - Laia Sanz 39th position - Rosa Romero didn't finish, abandoned in 3rd stage

 ( First row: Laia Sanz; second row Rose Romero)

*2013 2 lady riders in a total of 183 pilots - Laia Sanz 93rd position - Josefina Gardulski didn't finish

 ( First row Laia Sanz, second row Josefina Gardulski)

*2014 2 female riders from a total of 174 motorcycles - Laia Sanz 16th position - Rosa Romero didn't finish

 ( First row: Laia Sanz; second row Rose Romero)

*2015  168 motorcycles - Laia Sanz best finish ever for a female rider at the Dakar, taking 9th place in the motorbike class - Christine Martin 10th position - Veronique Anquetil 4th in a stage, - Broad 5th in a stage - Rosa Romero  52nd position

 ( First row: Laia Sanz; second row Rose Romero)

*2016 2 ladies out of 136 motorcycles - Laia Sanz 15th position - Rosa Romero 52nd position

 Laia Sanz

Rosa Romero

*2017 144 motorcycles - Laia Sanz 16th position

- Rosa Romero 67th position

 ( First row: Laia Sanz; second row Rose Romero)

*2018 3 ladies out of 167 motorcyclists  - Laia Sanz 12th position - Rosa Romero  didn't finish

- Mirjam Pol 95th position - Gabriela Novotna didn't finish- ab. in stage 11

( First row: Laia Sanz; second row Rosa Romero; third row Mirjam Pol; forth row Gabriela Novotna)

*2019 Peru -the start was in Lima, on the 07th of January through the Paracas desert, southern Peru, creating a 10-stage loop between Lima and Tacna.

Were 6 ladies out of 137 motorcyclists :

-Laia Sanz- Spain- No 17 at the start, finished on 11th position Team: KTM FACTORY RACING TEAM Motorcycle: KTM 450​

-Mirjam Pol- Netherlands- No 55 at the start, finished on the 48th position  

Team: HT RALLY RAID HUSQVARNA RACING Motorcycle: Husqvarna FR 45 Rally

-Anastasiya Nifontova- Russia- No 56 at the start, finished on 62nd position

Did you knew that this female rider was the first lady to successfully complete a Dakar in the Malle Moto class? She's done all her bike maintenance during the rally! Team: Nifontova 13 Team- HUSQVARNA RALLY TEAM Motorcycle: Husqvarna 450RR 

-Gabriela Novotna- Czech Republic- No 57 at the start,  finished on 70th position  Team: INDIGO RACING Motorcycle: Husqvarna FE 450 

-Sara Garcia- Spain- No 98- abandoned  Team: Pont Grup Yamaha- AM DESIGN Motorcycle: Yamaha WR 450 FP -Gianna Velarde Sumary- Peru- No 130- abandoned  Team: SOCOPUR Motorcycle: KTM EXC F  What a history!!!

Please feel free to correct any information from this article as has taken me a while since I'm pilling up info and i don't know why, is quite hard to find information about past Dakar editions and is a shame because is an amazing rally.

I will continue researching all the dates and make sure that everything is accurate :)

Yours truly,


xoxo Credit http://www.fim-live.com/en/article/martine-de-cortanze-rekindles-dakar-memories/ www.parisdakar.it www.dakardantan.com; Dakar retrospective 1979-2014 https://www.dakar.com/en/historical












Photo credit Google.co.uk

#Dakar #femalebiker #FemaleRidersUk #ladyrider #FemaleridersofDakar #Rally #ParisDakar #history

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