Penticton woman one of first in B.C. to compete in Moroccan off-road rally - InfoNews

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Penticton woman one of first in B.C. to compete in Moroccan off-road rally

Jessa Arcuri, vice-principal of Skaha Lake Middle School, is racing in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc, held in Morocco, in September.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Jessa Arcuri
March 08, 2020 - 2:30 PM

A Penticton vice-principal along with her long-time pilot friend are partaking on a sandy off-road adventure.

Jessa Arcuri, vice-principal of Skaha Lake Middle School, is racing with her Nanaimo-based best buddy Myra Van Otterloo, in the 30th Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc, held in Morocco. This will be the first time B.C. women will complete in the race, she said. The pair have been friends for more than 20 years.

The original plan was for Arcuri to act as Van Otterloo’s navigator, March 10, as the True North Rally Cats, but the race has since been postponed until Sept. 26 due to the spread of COVID-19.

“We are going into this fairly green, but it’s a challenge and we’re going forward full force and saying ‘yup, we can do it,’” Arcuri said.

“It means a lot to us,” she said, adding that she would like to inspire her students.

“We don’t start things small and do them easy. We bite off big pieces and I always encourage my students to really put themselves out there and try new things and expand their learning,” she said.

Taking over from another teammate last minute gave the two women less than a month to prepare for the race, but the delay gives them a little more time, Arcuri said.

“I have zero experience in a rally race… however I’ve done a lot of backpacking and outdoor adventures, even driving 4x4s in the wilderness in British Columbia,” she said. “Why not challenge yourself by going across Morocco with zero experience?"

With the delay, the long-time-friends will take some time on the Oregon coast, exploring the sand dunes and testing their skills.

Arcuri believes everything happens for a reason, so she appreciates the extra time they’ve been given to prepare.

“Two girls can take on any adventure together… we’re proud to be British Columbian,” she said.

For more information on the race, visit the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc's website.


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