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Interview with the 421 team in the 4L Trophy

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Interview with the 421 team in the 4L Trophy: sand, sand, and more sand!

A month ago, we were already telling you about the 4L Trophy in which the 421 team was to take part. Babymoov had decided to sponsor Emile and Maëlle, two students from the Auvergne, who were taking part in this charity competition which takes place in the Moroccan desert.

Back from the 4L Trophy, our two drivers have agreed to take part in a short interview on the Babymoov Behind the Scenes Blog!

Émile, Maëlle: you came back a couple of days ago from the 4L Trophy in Morocco. I imagine that your minds are full of memories and probably of sand. Tell us all about it!

We got back from our trek on Tuesday 2 March 2010 at 15.00 completely exhausted, but, as you say, our minds were full of memories... and sand. The sand actually got everywhere in the 4L, and even into our clothing bags! We had the feeling that we had brought the entire desert back with us.. As for memories, we could go on for hours, but what we will never forget was the spirit of togetherness in the 4L Trophy, the magnificent and varied landscapes, our meetings with Moroccans, so hospitable, driving in the desert and through the dunes, delivering our gifts for Moroccan children, which was very moving, and our festive evenings in camp, the last evening in Marrakesh...

Were there any particular problems during the rally?

We were very fortunate at the mechanical level; we didn’t have a single breakdown during the whole 6 000 kilometres, not even a flat tyre! That 4L must be unbeatable! The car had a quick mechanical check before leaving, that was why it held up, thanks to the AUTO FOLIES garage which made sure that we left on a safe footing. It wasn’t so for all the 4Ls! Our problems were all on the orientation side, we got lost because the course was very prone to sanding over and once we were late and night fell it was difficult to find your way out there in the desert! So we didn't arrive in camp until 2 in the morning! As far as classification is concerned, we were the 779th to arrive out of 1200, but the rally is not a speed race but a competition in orienteering, the aim is to get as close as possible to the actual distance in kilometres as indicated in the road book.

In addition to the purely sporting aspect of the rally, the 4L Trophy also has a humanitarian aspect. Could you tell us a bit more about that? Your personal point of view?

The humanitarian purpose is really very important in the 4L TROPHY rally, it’s actually more important than the sporting side. The aim isn’t really to complete the course but to bring school supplies for Moroccan children. The regulations require that you carry at least 50 kilos of supplies in each 4L, we carried 80 kilos, somewhat overloaded and with slow going even on hills on the motorway. We took our time, there was no point in speeding along. The donations were handed over in Merzouga on Tuesday 23 February.

We unloaded all the goods supplied from all the 4Ls at the same place. The total amounted to about 80 tons of supplies and medical equipment which will help almost 25 000 children to go to school next year. The Desert Child Association has the job of picking up the supplies and distributing them to the children most in need, and to make sure that there is no fraud. The evening when we delivered was very moving, full of village school kids who came to see us, we gave each one a school bag in exchange for a lovely drawing.

Was it a good experience? In what ways?

The 4L TROPHY is really an experience which is out of the ordinary, first of all it needs a lot of preparation, the best idea is to set up an association and open an account for collecting funds. It’s difficult, but it helped us to meet loads of very nice people who were really committed to helping us in this project. In exchange, we offered to let them stick a sticker with their company’s logo on the 4L, for publicity. We would also like to thank all our sponsors for taking part. What we really did appreciate during the rally was the spirit of solidarity between the competitors, for every problem there was someone there to help you, whether the problem was mechanical, or you needed a push through the sand, every time the problem was solved. Thanks to that all the competitors got across the finishing line. To sum up, we would recommend any student to take part, it’s a unique experience, incredible.

Last question: Babymoov had decided to support you as a sponsor. So.. how did you manage to get a hippo into a 4L?!

A big thank you to Babymoov, you made it possible for us to meet our budget a week before leaving. Happily, the hippo helped us throughout the rally. It certainly was pretty hard to get him in the 4L, but we managed, fitting him in between 2 replacement wheels, not very comfortable but nevertheless he helped us push in the sand! THANKS TO THE HIPPO!!

Thanks for answering our question, and once again, bravo!