- EDITION 2021
The 8th edition of UNIRAID has been a complete success at the organization level and also at the call with a new record of participation that has confirmed the test as one of the most important in the off road calendar.
The Raid has been carried out thanks to a considerable effort on the part of the Organization and thanks to the invaluable collaboration of the Moroccan Authorities, with a significant deployment of resources (more of 40 persons): mechanical, Commissioners, tracking via GPS, route design, camp logistics… etc, working 24 hours a day and taking care of UniRaiders.
But the merit and the success correspond to all the participants.
Our recognition to all of them.
The next edition will be "more and better".
In last night's briefing, the director of UniRaid insisted on being extremely prudent behind the wheel during today's drive to Marrakech. The scoring stages by track and sand have already finished and now we have to return to the asphalt, on a main road very crowded by all kinds of vehicles crossing the Col du Tichka mountain pass, To over 2200 mts of altitude, with stunning views and hairpin bends.
The itinerary passes through part of the thousand kashbas route, in the Quarzezate region, and we have stopped to visit the Kashba of Ait Benhadou, one of the most spectacular in Morocco, setting for multiple movies and series, like Benhur and Game of Thrones.
The arrival in the beautiful city of Marrakech has been a great contrast for us, because in a few hours we have gone from the solitude of the desert villages to the bustle of the big city. After a week of camping tent and sleeping bag, land at a luxury hotel in Marrakech, with large beds with cotton sheets and infinite showers is like dying and going to heaven. You have to groom yourself and go down to reception quickly, that the award ceremony is being held tonight!
Is now, at the end of this great adventure, when we do the great work done during this past year, and the intensity of everything lived and experienced this last week: Find and prepare a car, get sponsors, cross the desert with some very simple cars, deliver material to people who really need it ... but above all, we have learned that, if we really feel like it, we are unstoppable and in life we will achieve everything we set out to, only with tenacity, illusion and effort.
Let no one ever tell us again ... -you can't- ... not us.
Dawn in the beautiful dunes of the Erg Znigui, and the most anticipated stage of this adventure begins .... the marathon stage: 2 days and an itinerary of more than 300 km in the middle of the desert in complete autonomy. A challenge with capital letters that culminates this great human adventure. As tonight there will be no dinner or refueling service, we check water supplies and reserves, and we fill the tanks full before leaving.
This every crescendo ... when it seems that we have already reached the limit of the feasible, and it can't be more complicated, the organization goes and makes us a more difficult challenge… this is UniRaid! And above, the marathon stage runs along the “forbidden track of Paris - Dakar”. (Some teams believe that the Organization believes more in our potential than ourselves, and we will show them that they are right. If we have learned anything these days, is that we can with everything we set out to do and more!.
Even so, the marathon stage is very feared and desired at the same time, this going for free (although they have us geolocated by GPS and the phone works 24 hours, and the Organization's cars don't lose sight of us either), give a little respect, and the teams get together and close alliances like never before. (In fact, we ended up camping within walking distance of each other)
Finished the first day of this double stage, we can affirm that it has been very intense and emotionally charged, in a place as incredible as the dunes of Ouzzina. The night of camping in autonomy, It has been great: in the middle of the desert, sheltered from a bonfire, under millions of stars and in the company of your adventure companions. A magical and unforgettable night that we will remember all life with a smile.
The second day of the marathon stage begins, and the first test to overcome is the climb up a rock gorge and the descent to the valley on the side of a dune (the descent of death, some call it ... :))), followed by an impressive journey of several kilometers. Crazy. If the first day we put this, almost nobody is thrown, but after all I lived, we are already unstoppable.
Incredible landscapes, It is pure desert state, there is nothing and nobody in sight .... Large completely flat areas where we navigate without following any track or rut, (only with the help of the compass), spectacular canyons, oasis, dunas,... a dream place, although to tell the truth, when you carry many km without seeing anyone, you get a point of ... uix!
The arrival at the Camp has been very exciting: on the one hand happy for having managed to reach the end of the desert (¡¡somos “finishers” !!), and moreover a little sad, thinking that this is over.
The night looks like we are going to have a party ... and the next is Marrakech.
Dawn in paradise. Our camp is at the foot of the dunes of Erg Znigui, an incredible place which is reached after several kilometers bordering small rocky hills by unmarked tracks.
Today's stage has been spectacular and very intense, because it was a circular itinerary around the great dunes of the Erg Chebbi. (We are still impressed with what we can do with these little cars if we coordinate and work as a team).
And in the afternoon we experienced one of the most emotional and important moments of UNIRAID, We have implemented several of the solidarity projects that we have been working in our schools and colleges for months.
While some teams installed an efficient groundwater extraction system that works using solar panels, others set up a network of sustainable irrigation hoses in a new oasis that will soon provide shade and dates to the inhabitants of a remote settlement at the foot of the dunes.
Other teams have moved to the small village of Begga, and they have replaced the obsolete and expensive electric lighting system of the Women's Cooperative with a more modern one based on LEDs, and they have been given several supermodern electric sewing machines so that they can improve their living conditions and those of their families thanks to the making and sale of clothing and souvenirs for tourists. They have also been given sanitary products and have provided them with a new medicine cabinet service that will serve the inhabitants of this small village located in the middle of nowhere, a few km from the border with Algeria.
Just by seeing the illusion faces of the recipients, we realize that all the efforts to get here have been very worthwhile. Our satisfaction is immense.
And if today was no longer a busy and intense day, the organization has taken care to add a little more emotion ... Upon arrival at the camp, they tell us that there was a night stage today ... whatever!
It was an open secret, Well many of us knew and we came prepared, but what nobody knew is that the entire night stage would be compass navigation (yes, yes ... without visual references and without knowing what there is to 10 meter).
The good thing is that we went in teams of 10 randomly chosen cars, with what we have made more friends and we have had a great time.
The truth is that it has been an amazing experience: today we have felt like true adventurers and Dakar riders.
On the other hand, physical tiredness and the few hours of sleep (we have never risen so early) they begin to notice, but the satisfaction of being here makes up for any sacrifice. We all have a permanent smile drawn on our faces.
Today we go back to sleep under the stars and we know we are privileged for all we have lived.
This has been our first night at camp. In yesterday's briefing, the organization has already informed us that today's stage "would be the start of the adventure for real": navigation and driving butt, spectacular landscapes and many (but many!) difficulties to overcome the almost 300 km de etapa, including the last stretch in the first sand and dune cord that surrounds the Erg Chebbi desert.
And everything planned has been fulfilled: navigation, tracks, gorges, cannons, incredible landscapes, infinite tracks, desert and many difficulties ... but also a lot of teamwork, effort, coordination, inflated and deflated wheels ... and of course, many laughs.
Everything you need to reach the goal and everything you need to be unstoppable.
With tenacity and willpower there is no one to beat us.
Cars have plunged deep into the desert, testing the resistance both mechanical and participants, they have had to pull ingenuity and teamwork to overcome difficulties.
Blessed be our mechanics, who work day and night without truce !
Besides, Today's stage had no arrival time limit, because following in the footsteps of the Dakar with our cars is not easy and some have arrived at the camp late at night.
We are already in adventure mode ON :-))
It is dawn and the emotion is already palpable in the atmosphere ... today no one is sticking the sheets, all ready even before starting… the excitement and nerves are on the surface: we have nine days of adventure ahead, emotion and challenges, including a night stage and a marathon stage (with free camping under the stars), which will add a plus of difficulty to the tour.
The adventure is on and there is no one to stop us!
The first scoring stage has been a challenge for all teams, first… get familiar with navigating the UniTrip odometer and roadbook, and then overcome stony tracks, with mud and some snow, to be able to cross the high mountains of the Atlas (To over 2000 m of altitude). Many teams have had to be used thoroughly and that has only been the first stage.
Today has also been a very special day because we have made the first distribution of solidarity material agreed by the organization. More of 150 students and teachers have visited our camp representing five schools in the valleys at the foot of the Atlas, and we have given them a good part of the solidarity material that with so much enthusiasm and effort we have collected and transported here on board our strollers.
Boxes and more boxes of school supplies, computer, health and intended for various development projects. An effort that, just to see the faces of hope and gratitude of these children and teachers, it has already been worth a lot.
Today we are all a little happier.
We have landed promptly at 8 in the morning in the modern port of Tanger Med, and we have finished the first section of the link to Menkes, one of the four imperial cities of the kingdom of Morocco and imperial capital in the 17th century.
It is located at the foot of the Middle Atlas preserving a rich architectural and cultural heritage that we have had time to visit..
We arrived at the beautiful hotel where we met with the rest of the teams (there are teams that have got off by ferry directly from Barcelona and arrived in Nador on Friday), and where will we spend the first night.
But first we have to pass the technical and administrative verifications ... (glups!).
The faces of the participants who come for the first time are illusion and also nerves, and those of the repeaters draw an infinite smile and eager to start tomorrow.
This issue, like the previous ones, It will be hard and exciting ... we have modified part of the route and expanded the points where we will collaborate with material and solidarity projects ...
The great adventure is about to begin!
We launch the eighth UniRaid edition, in which solidarity, companionship and adventurous spirit are the basis of this special raid.
In this edition we have more than 140 teams from Spain, Portugal and Andorra, all with their small cars loaded with illusion and solidarity material, ready to live the adventure of a lifetime.
From the UniRaid organization we welcome you and wish you all the best of luck.