Swedish-Born motorcyclist, Annie Seel has always been somewhat of a trailblazer, accustomed to going head-to-head with the men.
Now, for the first time in her illustrious off-road racing career, she’ll get the chance to compete in an all-women's event when she lines up for the first ever Gazelles Morocco-China rally. And she can’t wait.
“My passion in life is off-road racing,” she explained.
“I have, for almost 20 years, raced around the world, including eight Dakar rallies on both motorcycles and in cars. Now for the first time I will be part of an all-women’s rally, and also explore a new continent – an adventure and challenge I could not resist.”
Seel will be racing alongside Jeanette James, four-time winner of the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles at this month’s initial promo event for the Gazelles Morocco-China, in Naiman Province, China from Oct 23-26.
Having started her racing career back in 1987, Seel is the only professional driver taking part in this month’s promo event.
Seel brings to the Gazelles Morocco-China plenty of years of experience, and a list of impressive achievements. She’s not only the first woman to have raced both the Dakar Rally and the Baja 1000 on a motorcycle and in a car – not many men can make that claim – she also set a world altitude record by riding a Honda XL250 beyond base camp and all the way up to 5305m on Mount Everest.
All those skills will be put to the test in the Ke’erquin Desert.
There, 10 teams featuring drivers from 12 different countries will be armed simply with a map, pencil and compass and have to plot their way across the course to reach as many checkpoints as possible and cover as few kilometres in the process.
While that will certainly provide a challenge, Seel is accustomed to taking on seemingly insurmountable tasks.
“When I finished my first ever Dakar rally back in 2002, it was my biggest achievement standing on the podium at Lac Rose. I had overcome so much, including a fractured wrist, mechanical problems, rainstorms and fever – but I still reached the finish line. I felt I was reborn as a super hero.”
But the Gazelles Morocco-China is going to offer the 51-year-old Swede something she hasn’t experienced before.
“I have never raced there before. I imagine a vast landscape and almost endless scenery. I think the scenery will be spectacular, and to meet the culture of the East will be a fantastic experience.”
An instructor and motivational speaker as well as a professional driver, Seel is also on another mission.
“My goal is to inspire more women to experience motorsport. I organise the only women’s rally school, and have also invited new women who are beginners as my co-drivers in different events during the years.
“I love to share my passion and love for the sport, and I also love to see the reaction of women who dare to get inside my rally car. They all say this is the best experience they ever had.”