VW Golf Challenge: The Story Behind The Adventure

mk1 mk2 golf offroading

I was browsing social media one day and saw some videos of off-road ready old Golfs and Jettas going through what looked like a desert. It was crazy to see in present day, it looked like something that should have taken place sometime in the 80s or 90s. Needless to say I was intrigued. I sent Dani (one of the two organizers, the other one also being named Dani) a message asking if I could set up an article of the event. He was kind enough to write me back and give me detailed account of the event and all the events leading up to it.. as well as some great photos from the VWGC (VW Golf Challenge)! Here it is:



mk2 golf country with mk2 rallye golf red

1 Childhood

The First bond I had with Golf started when I was a kid, our family car at home was a mk2 Golf GTI. From then I always loved the Golfs. When I was 19 yr old I bought my first mk2 GTI. Since then I have always owned at least 1 mk2 Golf. I have owned mk2 gti, mk2 rallye, mk2 country, mk2 edition one, cabrio and many more.  Currently I still own a mint mk2 country and a mk2 GTI 8v. With my Golf Rallye I attended the VW Days in north France in 2016- more than 1000 VW together in an airport. Actually I am friends with the organizer Nenad Jovanovic. He even came to the Challenge in 2017 and he is coming again in 2025. But while younger I never attended big meetings. Only a few smaller ones in Spain, always with my 1990 Golf Rallye. (by the way I took it to Morocco twice, even got stuck in the dunes with it)

fire ice dynamite inspired mk2 golfs
road trip mk2 golf desert
yellow mk2 golf country sand dunes

2 Fire Ice & Dynamite

One of the biggest inspirations was a movie called Fire Ice & Dynamite. In that movie from 1990, different companies compete for a million-dollar prize. The main events are various races that take place during the movie, one is with Golfs mk2.

I mean, as a kid I really loved it and since I loved mk2 Golf (at home we had a mk2 gti as a family car) I was amazed by the race in the snow with all this Golf with colorful decorations. I started to dream of organizing something similar one day. Specially with the decorations etc.

mk1 mk2 golf rally

3 Top Gear and The First Challenge to Nordkapp

Since early 2000 I would always watch Top Gear with Clarkson, Hammond and May. Their crazy experiences were an inspiration. So one day back in 2010 I was on holidays with a friend of mine. We watched a special episode, Top Gear in Vietnam. We were so excited that after watching it we decided to do something similar. So the next day we bought a mk2 GTI, and on the next day we left to the north for a crazy unexpected adventure. We called it 500€ challenge since that is how much we paid for the Golf. The thing got out of hand and we ended up in Nordkapp in the very north of Norway, you cannot get any farther north in Europe. We got there in less than 6 days after crossing France, Germany, Danmark, Sweden, Finland and finally Norway. It was crazy and amazing. All with a stock mk2 with no services made.

The Beginning of VW Golf Challenge

So on the next year, 2012, after having met Dani who is now my business partner since -we owned an adventure travel agency- I suggested the idea of creating a Golf adventure for the public. The scenario: Morocco (he was an expert there). In 2012, The very first VW Golf Challenge took place: an adventure of 2000kms (1200miles) across the African Country. We were 6 Golfs between them my brother, my dad, the friend that had been with me in the 500€ challenge.

2013 we had to cancel because we only had 2 clients wanting to join us. It was a big disappointment. Nevertheless, I made a massive effort to make the VW Golf Challenge known, contacting car magazines, French VW forums etc.

mk2 rallye golf snow

In 2014 we finally had the 2nd edition, with 7 cars and first international teams- 1 French, 1 Irish.

mk2 golf splashing water
mk2 golfs dirt road
mk3 jetta offroad

 2015, 3rd edition, we had 15 cars, including a car from Norway, some French, one from Luxembourg and one from Belgium. From there, every year got bigger and bigger.

mk2 golf sand dunes

Onto to this year, 2024, we were almost 90 cars. For 2025 we had 140 registrations in 10 days from all over the world. Teams from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania, UK, Ireland, Tunisia, and even USA. So we are going have the next one in November 2025. It’s getting big, really big

morocco mountains vw
vw morocco rally

Countries where VW Golf Challenge has taken place:

-9 times in Morocco.
-2 times in Romania trying to open new destinations (2018, 2019). But it didn’t work out.
-1 time in Tunisia when during Covid Morocco was shutdown.


The Spirit of the VW Golf Challenge

Since the very beginning the idea was to create an adventure never seen before. Golfs to the desert, with a noncompetitive spirit, fun, companionship and solidarity as pillars.

This is how it all started this is how it still is today. 

vwgc charity
vwgc charity van

Every team taking part in the adventure must bring school material, clothes or toys with them. In the poorest regions of Morocco we cross with our Golfs, through off road tracks in the Atlas Mountains or in the desert, teams must deliver everything. They must do it on their own, meaning no intermediates, from their hand to people who need it. At the start of VWGC we give a book where they have the routes, tracks, recommendations, maps of the stages. There they find indications of the regions where it's more recommended to deliver their goods.

vw golf stuck in sand dune

The Family

Also, since it’s a noncompetitive adventure, it’s more of a big family, we must help other teams if they have mechanical problems or if they get stuck in the sand etc. The idea is “you never leave a challenger behind”. You must never drive alone, you must always drive with other cars. With the years we also got some mechanic teams -specifically locals-, but now we even have a big truck carrying a workshop. Every night the teams have the mechanics and the workshop at their disposal.

vw road repair mk1 mk2 mk3

In 2024, between the 90 cars, 100% of them made it to the end of the adventure. All the breakdowns, suspensions or shaft failures etc were fixed. No exceptions. Amazing isn’t it?


The Fun

The most important part of the challenge is the fun. To give you an idea- every team must bring a costume and water pistols. Plus they receive a teddy panda (Panda is our mascot since 2015).  So imagine, teams shooting at other teams with the water pistols, people disguised, some big parties (now we also have a disco club we bring from one place to another so at night we have a DJ with music).

vwgc group photo
mk2 golf country montana green

The Adventure

With all this you may think VW Golf Challenge is not really a challenge but just for fun.

Well, you should see the tracks we cover. We really challenge our Golfs. We cover hundreds of kilometers of off road tracks up the Atlas Mountains, reaching up to 3000m high, and we also drive in the sand, we get to the dunes… This is no joke. If you come to the challenge and you don’t use your shovel or your sand plates you haven’t taken part to the challenge.

mk1 caddy offroading
vw mk3 sand dunes


The Growth of VWGC

It’s impressive to think we started the project with only 6 cars and now we will be more than 100. 8 days in Morocco, covering so many miles in Africa. But the key is, we have had a lot of teams returning again and again.  This year we had 15 people that had taken part in the adventure at least 5 times (one he has participated 9 times) And we had 50 cars that had participated at least 2 times. The thing is that every year teams bring other teams (friends, family, etc) To give you an example- last April, before opening registrations we let the 2024 participants they could register day before opening. In less than 24 hours, more than 70 teams had already registered for 2025. The addiction is incredible. This makes us proud of course.

Not only that- between the teams we have couples, brothers, female teams, dads coming with the kids, retired people, youngsters… So diverse. The youngest challenger this year was a 12y/o girl coming with her dad (who has taken part 6 times already). The oldest, Luis, 76y/o in his 4th challenge. It’s not only international it’s so diverse. It’s simply magic.

The profile, originally only VW enthusiasts. But now, we have everything. We of course have passionate people, but also a lot of people coming because they had a friend or a family member who took part in a previous challenge who told them how incredible experience this was so they just get a Golf/Jetta or whatever and come. And then they get addicted. It’s mind-blowing for me. Honestly.

offroad mk2s
vwgc group photo


vw mk3 hella rally fog lights

In any case and since it’s not a competition, the preparation of the Golf is very simple- at least as far as mandatory modifications go:

  • Sump-guard
  • Off-road Tires
  • Raised Suspension (highly recommended)

Apart from that there are no limitations, so we have extremely prepared cars coming and some very simple ones.



Even though we did celebrate Golf Challenge in Tunisia and Romania, Morocco is the place where we belong.

vw mk2 golf morocco

After 9 editions there we have such a big net of contacts that work with us and help this adventure happen year after year… Plus we love the country. You cannot imagine how beautiful it is. So many contrasts. From centenary forests to high mountains, and then the desert, the palm groves… It’s fantastic.

Where do we stay in Morocco?

Well originally in hotels, but little by little we are also having camps installed for us, with bathrooms, showers, sleeping haimas (tents) for every team… It’s like a small non-competitive VW Dakar.

I don’t know what else can I explain to you from the Challenge. It’s just an amazing project, a dream that came true!

I can tell you when I began this project, I could visualize it would get big. Knowing the passion for VW worldwide. I knew it would only be a matter of time until people would start to make off road preparations to join us. The thing is I never imagined is it would get so extremely international, so known worldwide… Now I can’t see the limit. Actually with my business partner (who of course also owns Golfs) we are working hard to plan better and better each year to be able to get more cars coming. Time will show where do we get. But one thing I can guarantee. We are enjoying so much this journey. It’s a f¨¨¨¨¨dream. Honestly.

Anyways. I’ll be very pleased to share more information or details with you, just ask! And of course, I can also tell you about Cayenne Challenge. Another project we started last year that is getting big already! I will prepare some photo files from the all VWGC story.

A couple finish line photos to give a proper ending!


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