Africa Eco Race The Girl on a Bike in the Media

Yahoo News: British woman finishes gruelling Sahara race

As seen in The Yahoo News: British woman, Vanessa Ruck conquers 6,000km Africa Eco race on a motorbike. Inspiring recovery journey unfolds in the ultimate Dakar adventure.

AER Menton 8

A British woman has finished the gruelling 6,000km 2024 Africa Eco Race across the Sahara on a motorbike.

Nicknamed The Girl On A Bike, Vanessa Ruck, who grew up in Tunbridge Wells, was hit by a car while cycling in 2014.

Seven years of recovery followed, requiring her to face seven surgical procedures, before she discovered motorcycles.

Now, as well as taking part in races, she visits schools to inspire young girls to take part in different sports.

The race followed the route of the old Dakar Rally from Nador in Morocco to Dakar in Senegal and finished on Sunday.

Speaking to BBC South East from Dakar following the race, she said: “I’m absolutely shattered. I don’t think every single muscle in my body, and my brain, have ever been this tired.”

She said: “You have to be so focussed. A second of lapse on your focus can mean you get lost, or the rock you don’t see can take you off your bike.”

Ms Ruck said she undertook the 13-day race to prove that she still could face a challenge following her accident in 2014.

“I’ve been determined to get myself back, maybe not to be pain-free, but to a point where I can get out there and make the most of every day.

“For me, coming from my accident and recovery, fighting to get to that finish line, was a way of going ‘up you’ to my accident, and saying ‘you haven’t controlled by whole life’.”

She said she had discovered a new love of motorcycles through her recovery.

“The Dakar is the big famous event, it’s the ultimate test.”

She said the longest day on her bike was 13.5 hours and some of the days were 90% on sand, with 400m high dunes.

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She said: “There aren’t enough females doing these sorts of sports. I’m the first British female to ever finish this event, which I’m really proud of.”

She said: “I just want to get the word out, to show all those little girls who think they should be in princess dresses and have shiny nail polish that you can still have shiny nail polish and still race motorcycles too.”

For the rest of The Yahoo News article see here.

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding, Harleys and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life-changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on  InstagramFacebook, Tiktok and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

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