Team ClearWater Design takes the Cup to Canada.
The Rebelle Rally presented by Hoehn Adventures was designed to give women in the United States the opportunity to experience an off-road navigation rallies on par with the world’s most notable events. What the organizers didn’t expect however, was how quickly the international community would so strongly embrace the Rebelle Rally. The addition of passports, language barriers, and overseas logistics makes an already challenging rally even more so. To acknowledge and honor these teams, the International Cup was born. In 2017, five different teams from four foreign countries vied for the International Cup, with a donation made to the winners’ charity of choice. The International Cup requires that both teammates be non-US citizens (or hold dual citizenship) with at least one team member living abroad full time.
Michelle Laframboise of Team ClearWater Design (#115) returned from Toronto again in 2017, introducing her longtime rally navigator Elise Racette of Quebec to the Rebelle Rally. On Day 4, Team ClearWater Design put up the highest score in the Dumont Dunes. The women finished fifth overall in the 4×4 Class in their Jeep Wrangler, putting them at the front of the field for the International Cup. Their efforts were rewarded with a donation of $2,500 to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, one of the world’s largest non-governmental granting agencies in the field of cystic fibrosis research. “We picked Cystic Fibrosis Canada because my niece was diagnosed when she was three months old, so it hits home for us,” Elise Racette explained. “The development over the last 15 years has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to organizations like Cystic Fibrosis Canada, greatly extended the lifespan and quality of life of people with cystic fibrosis.” Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s mandate is to help individuals with cystic fibrosis by funding cystic fibrosis research and care. The organization also provides educational materials for the cystic fibrosis community and the general public; undertakes advocacy initiatives with, and on behalf of Canadians with cystic fibrosis, and raises funds to supports its programs.
The French team of Florence Pham and Karen Rayrolles of Team Flowkey (#123) finished 6th overall; the highest finishers where both teammates were new to the Rebelle Rally. Florence and Karen work for Nissan France, who not only backed the women’s entry into the Rebelle Rally but shipped a French-spec Nissan Navara pickup to California to contest the International Cup and Bone Stock Award, where vehicles must be as delivered from the manufacturer.
Kiwis Katy Kunkel and Frances Spencer of Team JUCY (#152) were also newcomers to the Rebelle Rally. Katy lives in Virginia and Frances lives in Auckland, making training and preparation a challenge, but it didn’t seem to hurt the two women in the overall standings, where they finished 9th in the 4×4 Class in a Jeep Wrangler. They represented Team Rubicon Global, an organization that provides veterans around the world with opportunities to serve others in the wake of disasters.
Syndiely Wade of Senegal is a longtime rally competitor, while her French teammate Melanie Baudin was new to off-road driving and navigation. Team Rebelle Angels (#155) finished 12th in the 4×4 Class in their Jeep Wrangler. They also won the Team Spirit Award for consistently helping their fellow competitors; most notably sacrificing their own score to tow the incapacitated Honda Ridgleline of Team Hoehn Adventures back to Base Camp. For winning the Team Spirit Award, a donation was made to Make-A-Wish France in the name of the Rebelle Angels to help grant the wishes of terminally ill children.
The French team of Helene Becour and Armelle Medard Lang of Team NICE France (#131) were competing for both the International Cup and the Bone Stock Award in their Ford Raptor. A faulty jack turned a routine tire change into an hour-long process for the women, pushing them back to 16th place at the end of the event. Helene and Armelle represented Fondation Lenval, a children’s hospital in Helene’s hometown of Nice.
Since registration for the 2018 Rebelle Rally opened on November 13th, competitors from Japan, Canada, and France have already committed to the event, with several more international entries expected.
International Cup Results
Rank Team# Driver / Co-Driver Vehicle
6 123 Florence Pham / Karen Rayrolles 2017 Nissan Navara
9 152 Katy Kunkel/ Frances Spencer 2017 Jeep Wrangler
12 155 Syndiely Wade / Melanie Baudin 2017 Jeep Wrangler
16 131 Helene Becour / Armelle Medard Lang 2017 Ford Raptor