Racer Vanessa Ruck takes on new desert rally challenge
UK based racer, Vanessa Ruck, also known as ‘The Girl On A Bike,’ announces her entry into the Africa Eco Race, highlighting her journey and philanthropic endeavours. Vanessa has evolved from a roadbook rookie to a desert rally addict, completing eight international desert rallies and aiming for her most challenging race yet. Vanessa lives and manages chronic pain following a cycling road traffic accident in 2014, adding to the challenges she’ll face racing 6,500km to the infamous Dakar.
Riding on her KTM 450 rally replica, fondly named Big Buddy, Vanessa will start the 14-day race that will take her from Monaco to Senegal in Africa. Her most recent accomplishment was in the Morocco desert challenge, a demanding 8-day event. Out of 77 participants in the Moto category, Vanessa was among the 40 per cent who finished every stage despite extremely harsh conditions, including peak temperatures of 52 degrees Celsius. Vanessa has also been the first female to enter and finish in certain challenging desert rallies like the Tunisia Desert Challenge.
Vanessa has personal reasons for choosing the Africa Eco race, set to take place in January 2024. Besides the rally’s reputation as one of the toughest races out there, Vanessa was drawn to its ecological and social initiatives. The race supports local communities with programs like Energy of Hope, which provides solar lamps to rural school children. “Over 2 and a half thousand lamps have been handed out so far,” Vanessa stated. The rally has also funded the planting of over 2,000 trees in the capital of Mauritania.
Vanessa also has a philanthropic angle to her racing pursuits. She is a brand ambassador for Two Wheels for Life, a charity providing healthcare mobility solutions in Africa.
“I feel so fortunate to be able to explore the wonders of many parts of Africa while racing. These countries are incredible places to visit, but sadly the health care and transport infrastructure is far from ideal. By working with Two Wheels for Life I have the opportunity to give something back to the people in a part of the world where motorcycles and their effective use literally saves lives.”
Through this organisation, she’s offering a chance for people to win a five-star trip to Dakar to witness the end of the race.
As she gears up for the monumental challenge, Vanessa is taking on speaking engagements to raise funds. As a TEDx and award-winning motivational speaker Vanessa wants to use her story to help others grow;
“I’ve broken down in tears on stage, I’ve stuttered and had to process the emotions, but in my heart I know it’s worth it… if I can turn my trauma and fight into powerful advice to help others with their life battles, then it makes what I went through worthwhile – or at least in my head it helps me process why it had to happen to me!”
“I don’t just want a payout to enable me to go and rally; I want to feel like I’m giving back,” she said. Vanessa can be found across all social media platforms and will be creating a full behind the scenes YouTube series of her Africa Eco Race adventures. Vanessa will also be heading to Gambia with Two Wheels for Life directly from the Dakar finish line to support the charities activities first hand. Don’t forget to get your ticket so you could win a 5-star trip to meet Vanessa in Senegal. You might win, and if you don’t, you’ll have donated to a charity doing great work.