Behind the scenes of the Tunisia Desert Challenge

The TUNISIA DESERT CHALLENGE returned to the birth place of rally-raid and introduced a new, epic rally-raid across Tunisia. The Tunisia Desert Challenge is much more than an alternative to the MDC Morocco Desert Challenge. It will be a new annual rally-raid, which is an exact copy of the MDC in terms of organisation, but totally innovative in terms of tracks. Having done the race….I promised a raw, real and honest behind the scenes of extreme rally racing…here it is! A three part series as the first women to ever enter the Tunisia Desert Challenge, an 8 day extreme rally raid. I’ve entered the full rally raid class, so up there riding with the pros, and it’s a full on 8 day moving bivouac race.

In my three part video series of the Tunisia Desert Challenge you will get to see everything that is involved in participating in this extreme race….it’s already got the reputation as being harder then Dakar with multiple time Dakar riders saying the TDC was by far the hardest riding they’ve done. Hard in how technical the terrain is, but also in how tricky the navigation is. The Tunisia Desert Challenge is one seriously extreme race. Watch the below for more:

Part 1: The race begins…Tunisia Desert Challenge

This is part 1 of a three part series showing you the real behind the scenes of one of the toughest races out there.

The girl on a bike vanessa ruck Tunisia Desert Challenge
The girl on a bike vanessa ruck Tunisia Desert Challenge

In part one you’ll see what goes into getting to the start of the race. Getting to the start line is an hugely understated process in rally riding. The lead up, planning, bike building, preparing and of course finance is huge. It’s weeks of admin sorting insurance, ordering tyres, race licences and carefully packing the required safety and medical items, kit and tools needed for all scenarios.

Once you’re finally on the ground the admin continues as any good rally, such as The Tunisia Desert Challenge, have a meticulous sign off process to ensure every competitor is equipped for the challenges ahead. No safety flare and kit, no start. Not got the right riding kit, you’re not starting. No insurance, no racing. And the bike’s also inspected, including all your SAT kit for tracking to enable the mission control team can monitor you. If you’ve not got your admin sorted, it’s not going to be looking good! But the reality is that these checks safe lives 🙏

Disappearing into the desert solo on a bike comes with risks. But together the administration can help negate some of the risks.

I hope you enjoy, please do watch, let me know in the comments and remember to subscribe so you don’t miss the rest!

Part 2: It’s time to go into the desert… alone…Tunisia Desert Challenge

This is part 2 of a three part series showing you the real behind the scenes of one of the toughest races out there. This video is the first day into the desert, day 2 and 3 of 8 days riding. My nerves are really high, the riding intensity goes up as we hit the dunes. With some extreme terrain, described as as the hardest day’s riding they’ve ever done by a 10x Dakar finisher… day three is a tough day. I push on but just don’t have the strength. 16 motorcycles and a total of 30 vehicles were rescued that day. Check out my campfire in the desert….I also had a 4.5 hour ride in an 18 wheeler MAN sweeper truck being rescued. Getting back to the bivouac at 3.50 aim it’s ends with the unknown as to whether I will be continuing.

Part 3: Near death helicopter rescue – Tunisia Desert Challenge  – 1st female to enter behind the scenes PART THREE

Let’s just say things get even more intense! Bike issues, 7 hours in 45 degree dunes and a near death evacuation, then the 85mph sand storm, cancelled stages, stuck trucks, full bivouac life. Keep watching to the end to see how I place in the motorcycles category as the first ever female to enter the Tunisia Desert Challenge. I really hope you enjoy, I’m all cards on the table… honest and open.

Please do comment and let me know any emotions you have watching this Tunisia Desert Challenge series.

More information:

I’m riding the Beta 480 RR for the Tunisia Desert Challenge. I’m upped my game and did the full rally raid category so a 250km fuel range, full navigation tower, Michelin race rubber and tricked up Ktech suspension is just part in the build. I’m road with Desert Road Racing as my bike support, rally mechanics and all round knowledge pool as I take my rally riding to the next level. This was a BIG rally.

For more information on details shared in the videos:

  • Cardo Intercoms 15% off use
  • Desert Rose Racing: I highly recommend
  • Active Collagen 20% discount with link: or 10% off use UPVRUC10
  • 360 camera used – Insta360 ONE X2 discount:

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding 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, LinkedIn and YouTube, and

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