Meet The Sheroes From Dakar 2021 Happening In Saudi Arabia
Get to know the female racers competing in the most grueling race in the world. Who are you rooting for?
Every year, racers from all over the world take part in the Dakar Rally, which is probably the hardest and the most challenging rally in the world. This year’s edition, which marks the 43rd, will take place in Saudi Arabia, seeing the world’s top athletes race for 14 days to the finish line. As fans across the globe hang on to their seats to see who will come out on top, we’re taking a look at five incredible women taking on the challenge, venturing through the desert and alongside the Red Sea.
MASHAEL AL OBAIDAN
This year sees the debut of Saudi Arabian women at the Dakar Rally, the first time this has happened in the race’s history. One of these pioneering women is Al Obaidan, who from a very young age has been racing with buggies, dirt racing, and motorcycles between the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Utah, United States. After years of racing, she eventually obtained her USA Motorcycle driver’s license and became a licensed rally racer in Saudi Arabia. She is now one of the Saudi women taking part in the kingdom’s Dakar Rally women’s team "Shero", which will compete next year.
Aqeel is another Saudi Arabian woman with passion for motorsports and desert racing, and author of the book “Freefall”. Having taken interest in desert racing since childhood, she grew up preparing herself to take part in such gruelling sports. In fact, she became the first woman in Saudi Arabia to receive a Speed Bikes Competition license through the Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation and one of the female racers in the debuting Dakar Rally women's team, the “Shero”.
Spanish sportswoman Sanz always dreamed of taking part in the Dakar Rally since she was a little girl and, in 2011, she got her big break. Ever since then, she has participated in the Dakar Rally, marking 10 consecutive years for the racer. She won Female motorcycle category and finishing 39th overall. In 2015, Sanz achieved her best finish and also the best finish ever for a female rider at the Dakar.
Making her debut in the 2019 Dakar Rally, Garcia is best known for finishing first in the “unassisted” category in 2020. She would go on to participate in the 2021 event under the same category, with the added advantage of crossing the finish line earlier this year.
Growing up in a family dedicated to medicine, Cristina decided to choose another course, her passion taking her towards motorbikes when she was just six years old. By 2010, she started her racing career in her hometown of Burgos, Spain, and would participate in her first Dakar Rally in 2017. In 2021, she would go on to set the fastest time in the Lightweight Vehicles class, making her the first female to finish a Dakar stage since Jutta Kleinschmidt in 2005.