Panafrica Rally, a fairly new yet enticing Northern African rally race offering budget-friendly entry fees and stunning riding around Merzouga, has been holding out the longest as the organizers tried their best to make the event happen. However, Panafrica, just like most other rally races scheduled for the fall, is finally giving up. The organizers have just announced that Panafrica Rally 2020 is officially canceled, as Moroccan borders remain closed:
“Due to the Coronavirus Worldwide situation and the non-opening of the borders of the awesome country of Morocco, it is not possible to hold Panafrica Rally.
The organization has been in weekly contact with Moroccan authorities, and we studied all the possible situations to hold the rally in a new scenario but Panafrica is all about the desert. So, we think that the best behavior is to stay training at home.
The organization will refund the full money to all the registered riders during September. We will contact you as soon as possible one by one”, the official press release said.
With Rally du Maroc changing its location entirely and moving to Spain, and Africa Eco Race rerouting to Mauritania and Senegal, it seems Morocco will not see any rally races this year at all. Rally Dakar 2021 in Saudi Arabia is still going ahead, although race director David Castera has said ASO will not add any extra countries to the route as initially planned.
“The initial idea was to have 2-3 countries, but we also have an option with one country; we have several options because we do not know how different health situations will evolve. At the moment we have not made the final decision. It is clear that the pandemic has complicated the negotiations, but especially with regards to the measures that we are going to have to take later. If each country asks us for different things at the border crossing, in the bivouacs; in addition, now the measures are changing almost every day in every country. The most feasible plan is to repeat running only within Saudi Arabia, but with a “100% new” route. It is the largest country, which offers us the possibility of doing a 100% new Dakar there,” Castera has said in spring.