Bethany Hamilton and the 23rd annual Gazelle Rally
Just The Beginning
Now in its 23rd year, competitors in the Gazelle Rally caravan down together from the Eiffel Tower in Paris ...
And They're Off
... but they dont actually start racing until they reach the desert in southern Morocco.
Hit The Gas
It's easy to get stuck in the dunes, but it helps when you hit the accelerator.
While most rally races focus on speed, the goal of the Gazelle is to reach a series of checkpoints totaling the shortest distance. The role of the navigator is crucial. Here, Chrissie Beavis checks her map for probably the 100th time of the day.
Learning On The Fly
Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm in a shark attack at age 13, did the bulk of the driving during the race even though she had relatively little experience and her truck had no modifications. "This is on another level of challenging because I came into this as an amateur," says Hamilton. "In surfing, I'm a professional. As an amateur here, some days you have wipe outs and some days you have good rides."
Competitors must reach a series of checkpoints throughout the race, which are always marked with a Gazelle red flag.
"We make jokes about how we chase after red flags all day long and laugh about how fulfilling it is," Hamilton said.
Sea Of Dunes
"The dunes are so hard," says Beavis. "There are no distinctive features for us or point of reference. It's very difficult to take a heading."
Beavis and Hamilton drive across the Sahara Desert ...
... one of the most isolated places on earth.
Competitors are encouraged to team up with other competitors in the dunes for safety reasons. Here Beavis and Hamilton work with the team of Christina Ackermann and Julie Kohlmann.
On The Lookout
Hamilton runs ahead to check out the terrain and then waves on Beavis, who is behind the wheel.
One Last Look
With the sun setting quickly and the wind blowing sideways, Beavis checks a heading with Germany's Ackermann before all set up camp for the night.
The night before the last day, Hamilton and Beavis must camp in the Erg Chegaga dunes. Here they eat a little dinner before they head off to sleep.
Beavis (right) helps team 191's Julie Kohlmann change a tire before they head off for the final day of competition. Only competitors of the Gazelle can help other Gazelles with mechanical problems.
For all but two nights, competitors return to sleep at the bivouac -- a makeshift campsite that moves with the rally.
Competitors dance the night away in the desert while they wait for results to be posted the final night.
Beavis and Hamilton had met only once before they teamed up for the 23rd Gazelle Rally. As a rookie team, they finished an impressive eighth out of 150 teams.