Laura Csortan and Christophe Barriere-Varju in "Riding Morocco: Chasing the Dakar” on TV

Aussie model and Dakar rider in TV special

Australian fashion model Laura Csortan, an off-road novice, gets expert riding lessons on the Sahara dunes from four-time Dakar rider Christophe Barriere-Varju in a worldwide TV documentary.

Riding Morocco: Chasing the Dakar” features the Aussies riding the new and aptly named Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin in the toughest of conditions.

Christophe is a French-African immigrant who has competed in the Dakar Rally four times, making a feature-length movie of his 2010 exploits called Dream Racer which has won multiple film awards.Laura Csortan and Christophe Barriere-Varju in "Riding Morocco: Chasing the Dakar” on TV

Laura, who was crowned Miss World Australia and Miss Universe Australia and is now a TV reporter, grew up riding dirt bikes on her family’s farm and obtained her road licence in 2005.

“I’ve always been a bit of a petrol head,” she says. “I think I get that from all my cousins who grew up on a farm. We frequented there every holiday as kids.”

Laura Csortan and Christophe Barriere-Varju in "Riding Morocco: Chasing the Dakar” on TV

In the TV show, Christophe shares his vast riding knowledge with off-road novice Laura who rides the semi-automatic Dual-Clutch Transmission model that doesn’t require a clutch lever.

Their ride in February this year took them along part of the original Dakar Rally route before it moved to South America in 2009 after terrorist threats shut it down in 2008.

It includes the rugged Atlas Mountains, rocky valleys and gigantic Sahara Desert dunes.

Christophe says he hasn’t seen the TV show yet.

“It was obviously very different being part of an established and experienced team filming for National Geographic than what Simon and I did with Dream Racer,” he says.

“Definitely two opposing ends of the spectrum with the cameras and amount of people involved during the filming, and I can’t wait to see the end product NatGeo will broadcast worldwide.”

The broadcast begins on the National Geographic Channel on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in more than 170 countries, including Australia on June 17 at 10.30pm and June 18 at 8.30pm.

Click here for the full worldwide schedule.

  • We will publish Christophe’s road test of the Africa Twin on Monday morning.


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