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The inaugural Yamaha Desert Challenge, a new four-day event open to any Yamaha SSV, kicks off this week in Morocco.

The inaugural Yamaha Desert Challenge, a new four-day event featuring two categories, Race and Raid, that is open to any Yamaha SSV, kicks off this week in Morocco alongside the final four stages of the Carta Rallye from the 6th-9th of March.

Building on the success of the YXZ1000R European Cup, which saw a record number of entrants during 2023 battle it out in national Cups in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom for the chance to compete at the SuperFinale, Yamaha Motor Europe has expanded its SSV race program in 2024 with the Yamaha Desert Challenge.

Entrants will join up with the eighth edition of the Carta Rallye in Merzouga, racing alongside the other competitors across some of the most breath-taking terrain on the planet for the final four days before finishing in M’Hamid, with the two different categories meaning the event is suitable for any Yamaha SSV.

The Race class is open to race-ready YXZ1000Rs that meet the Carta Rallye entry criteria, with teams in this category taking on the full-length special stages and racing against the other entrants, but within their own dedicated classification.

The Raid category runs in parallel to the Race class and is open to any Yamaha SSV. It sees teams tackle shorter and less demanding routes accompanied by experienced guides as they sample the thrills and excitement of a rally raid event without the pressure of competing against the clock.

Ahead of the first stage, all participants will benefit from an exclusive Yamaha Academy, where they will receive tuition and mentoring from expert coaches on the rally essentials, including navigation tips, advice on how to tackle the dunes and soft sand of the desert, first aid training, and much more.

There will also be a dedicated area within the bivouac to allow entrants to experience the Yamaha Racing family experience; plus, at the end of the event, a special prizegiving will be held for both classes. On top of the racing action, the crews competing in the Yamaha Desert Challenge will also participate in a special scheme to help deliver aid, including clothing and educational supplies, to a local Moroccan school.

Camelia Liparotti
Yamaha Motor Europe ROV Racing Coordinator
“We are excited to begin this new chapter in Yamaha’s SSV race program, which has been developed to give the teams that compete in the YXZ1000R European Cup, and anyone else who owns a Yamaha SSV, the chance to experience what it is like to race in the spectacular Moroccan desert. The two categories mean that the event is open to everyone, from those who want to take on the full stages and compete alongside a truly international field of racers to those who just want to go on an epic adventure with experienced guides leading the way. Every participant will also receive expert training and coaching via the Yamaha Academy, covering everything from navigation to first aid; plus, all of the participants will be helping to deliver aid to a school as our way of saying thank you and giving back to the Moroccan people.”