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Bournemouth graduate survives Tunisia Desert Challenge

The Bournemouth graduate, known as The Girl on a Bike, is the first woman to enter the Tunisia Desert Challenge.

Thirty-five-year-old Vanessa Ruck completed an eight-day grueling competition, covering a distance of 469 km each day, and winning the women’s section.

Extreme rally raids take place on sand dunes and in high temperatures.

She encountered a sandstorm with 85 km/h winds, which meant the race had to be stopped, she had bike problems for a night in the dunes, and another mechanical failure ended with a rescue helicopter being sent out. happened.

Many riders waited for hours, some drivers facing issues in brutal conditions with limited water even in direct sunlight for several days.

Despite being on a motorcycle, only carrying what you can carry, competitors are required to carry various safety items such as flares and emergency blankets. It proved to be a lifeline for many.

During the fourth stage, Vanessa’s bike malfunctioned, leaving her miles out of nowhere.

Vanessa said, ‘I had water because thankfully passing cars, trucks and buggies gave me some, but by 5 pm I was bad. I called for emergency evacuation and when they saw me, they were clearly horrified. I got scared.

“I was trying not to breathe in the hot sand, but it looked like my head would explode. I fainted and I was put on a drip. A contestant tragically died in the heat because he didn’t activate the emergency aid from the organizers, I’m glad I found the strength to press the button.

There was great camaraderie between the contestants, and when Vanessa was rescued safely the organizers made an announcement.

She proceeded with the next stage, and the next, battling the daily challenges of the Tunisian Desert Challenge, becoming the first woman to enter and finish the tough endurance event.


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