Julie Dufour - Geneviève MacEachern 

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Julie Dufour - Driver

My name is Julie Dufour.  I was born on April 19, 1976 and I grew up in Aylmer, now part of Gatineau, QC.  I was part of a family where the women always had the same opportunities as the men. We can achieve whatever we want so long as we have the will and put in the effort. My philosophy of life is simple – if you want, you can and, if you start something, finish it.

I am an accomplished athlete; I have competed in swimming, sailing, team handball, dragon boat racing, ultimate frisbee and a few triathlons.  I look forward to the day when I can add rally racing to that list. I also participate in many other sports and activities for my own pleasure like downhill skiing, cycling, and walking.  The important thing is to participate as Pierre de Coubertin said.

I like to think that I have been preparing for off track driving during those winters when we used to go to the parking lot of my old high school to practice skidding and 360s with my old car. I hope that sand will be as forgiving as was the snow.

I think I am courageous, that I am not inclined to be fearful.  I think things through and am well organized. I look before jumping, knowing that, even in fear, it is crucial to foresee and prepare the landing.

A few years ago, I decided to mix business and pleasure and became involved with the humanitarian aid organization Habitat for Humanity, which is dedicated to offering adequate and permanent housing to families who are without. My first trip was to Uganda in Africa where, side by side with the villagers of Mpongy, my team helped to build two brick houses. We were happy to leave two more families with a proper shelter and a secure dwelling for their children and future generations.

Since that experience, my perspectives have changed and my views on life will never be the same. The people of Mpongy inspired me. I will never forget their smiles, their songs and their desire for a better future for themselves and those who will follow. I am now far more conscious of the difficulties faced by others.  I have also understood that to change the world, one cannot only deal with the immediate needs. People need to be taught how to help themselves. One Habitat for Humanity slogan captures it well – we do not offer a hand out, we offer a hand up.

My second Habitat project was in Honduras where we helped build a cluster of homes beside a primary school. In May of 2008, I am headed to Vietnam for a similar building project.

I am very attracted to the humanitarian features of the Rallye des Gazelles.  But I must also admit my weakness for cars and that the opportunity to drive a 4x4 in the desert dunes goes to the adventurer in me. Just thinking about the experience makes me smile.

Genevieve and I share this passion for auto racing, so she invited me to join her group of volunteers working in the pits of the Formula 1 Race in Montreal.  I am a “kamikaze”. My team’s job is to push F1 cars out of harm’s way should they become immobilized on the starting grid or in the pit lanes.  There is nothing in the world like the sound of the F1 engines at the start of a race!

There are not many people with whom I would do the Rallye des Gazelles.  I will be the Driver and I need to have complete confidence in the person who will guide me in the desert.  When I will be at the wheel of our 4x4, I know that Genevieve will get us to the finish line.  She is very is passionate, smart and funny. I have no doubt that with her we will finish the rally with smiles on our faces. Genevieve is also a morning person and I am not, which will be an asset for our early dawn departures.  I think we complement each other quite well and I am pleased to plan and drive this rally with someone as exceptional as she is.

For me, the Rallye des Gazelles is a means to push my physical and mental limits.  This is not just about driving; it is also about staying on course.

We have much to learn and to prepare before we make it to the starting line.  I hope that you will want to follow us throughout this adventure and to support us from now to the finish line.

Genevieve MacEachern - Navigator

I have always loved anything that is out of the ordinary, trying new things and meeting new people.  I am an avid downhill skier; I enjoy rollerblading, biking, hiking, sailing, dragon boat racing, yoga and Tai chi.  But, most of all, I am passionate about car racing.  I grew up in Montreal as a fan of Gilles Villeneuve and Ferrari.  I have been officially involved in F1 racing since 2003, first as a scrutineer ensuring the teams follow the technical regulations and now I volunteer in the control tower, assisting the FIA.

In my career as an insurance adjuster for the past 16 years I have been lucky to work in a job that absolutely fits my personality.   Everyday is a new adventure that I find both engaging and challenging as I investigate everything from the expected to the bizarre.  

I am married and a mother of two fantastic kids.  My husband and I had an unusual wedding ceremony when we got married on the beach in Hawaii in 2002 and it has been 5 years since we became a family by adopting two children from the Ottawa Children's Aid Society.  We initially considered adopting internationally, but when we discovered there were children in need of families in our own backyard, the decision to adopt locally was quite easy.   It has been a roller coaster ride ever since and definitely my most challenging and rewarding adventure to date.  As any parent knows, raising kids can test your limits, but there is a special passion I feel for these kids who have to deal with many issues that no child should ever have to bear.  This motivated me to support them in getting all the services needed to help them overcome the profound effects of their experiences.

I heard about the Rallye about 5 years ago and thought at the time this was something I would want to do.  The Rallye's format of a traditional navigational race and its humanitarian objective is in line with my adventurous interests and appeals to my spirit of helping others.  An opportunity of a lifetime for me!  Of course, with kids and work and life in general my time has been limited.  But now, things are different.  It is something I need to do, for many reasons.  Although I did not adopt a child internationally there are tons of children out there in need of help.  The Rallye's objective is to provide assistance to women and children in Morocco and this would be my way of contributing to the welfare of these children.  I want to show my children, especially my son, that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.  And finally, I want to prove to myself that I am strong enough to do this, and to face anything life will throw at me.  

As fate would have it, through my employment at ING Canada, I was lucky enough to meet Julie, the ideal partner for this expedition.  She is exceptionally smart and very practical.  She is not afraid to rough it and she pushes her limits.  In the face of adversity, she always keeps her cool.  She is a rock and I trust her with my life.