Mohamed Fezzani, a motor mechanic from the northern coastal town of Surman, is just one of the Libyan drivers and motorsport fans who are gathering for a rally in the desert in a still bitterly divided country.

For Fezzani and the hundreds of drivers and fans, this is not just an escape from the endless factional violence, it is an opportunity to share their favourite sport with kindred spirits from all over Libya.

Before the revolution, the highlight of the sporting year for Libyans like Mohamed was the international desert car and motorbike rally. The rally stopped in 2011 when the event moved abroad. It is now known as the Moroccan Desert Challenge.

A couple of years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, smaller rallies started up again in Libya, despite the obvious challenges. One fan says that many Libyans could not take part in the 2016 rally because they "were fighting a war against ISIL [(ISIL) armed group] in Sirte", a coastal city in Libya.

In 2018, however, Fezzani and his team decided to brave the 600-kilometre (372-mile) journey to the southern desert city of Waddan for three days of intensive four-wheeled action. But hardly anything went according to plan during the trip.

Mohamed's journey to Waddan highlights the effect of years of conflict on the people of Libya. Even finding enough fuel to leave town is tricky, despite the country ranking as one of the top 20 oil-producing countries in the world.

Despite the many challenges, fans are proud that the rally unites a diverse range of Libyans from across the country.

"Here we don't ask the participants about their cities of origin, we don't care about politics. Libya is one family and we consider each other as brothers."

Source: Al Jazeera