BOURNEMOUTH University graduate Vanessa Ruck became the first British female to complete the African Eco Race, a 6,300km long endurance race that covers much of the original route of the Dakar Rally.

The motorcyclist finished 27th overall, with just over half of the motorcycle entries completing all stages across the 13-day event.

After the Dakar Rally moved to be staged in South America and now Saudi Arabia, the African Eco Race was launched with a focus on security issues and sustainable development.

Following technical checks in Monaco, competitors raced from the Moroccan coast, through Mauritania, before finishing in the Senegalese capital of Dakar.

Nicknamed the Girl on a Bike, Ruck successfully completed the extreme endurance event on her KTM 450 Rally Replica motorbike, claiming first place in the women’s motorcycle category after 103 hours in the saddle.

Ruck shared: "I'm absolutely shattered. I don't think every single muscle in my body, and my brain, have ever been this tired."

"You have to be so focused. A second of lapse on your focus can mean you get lost, or the rock you don't see can take you off your bike."

After recovering from serious injuries sustained after being hit by a car whilst riding her bicycle, Ruck has gone on to became a motivational speaker, sharing her story.

Now, she is giving back by supporting charity Two Wheels for Life, a motorcycle-based charity that aims to ensure life-saving healthcare is available for rural African communities.

“I feel so fortunate to be able to explore the wonders of many parts of Africa while racing,” she continued.

“These countries are incredible places to visit, but sadly the health care and transport infrastructure is far from ideal.

“By working with Two Wheels for Life I have the opportunity to give something back to the people in a part of the world where motorcycles and their effective use literally saves lives.”

Ruck will remain in Africa for a week after completing the rally, working in the Gambia with Two Wheels for Life.