Any Rebelle can tell you, you never know how you’ll meet your first Rebelle teammate. Case in point: Erin Vogel and Sara Swenson. Both gave the Rebelle teammate questionnaire form a shot, reached out to each other, and went on to attend a dunes driving course together. With similar goals and interests (and Erin’s exceptional driving skills!) it was a no-brainer to team up. Team Ponderosa was soon formed! This dynamic duo also happen to be working to being able to help motivate and educate the next generation of women in motorsports – a cause we can definitely stand behind. And, they just won a Rebelle Rally scholarship! Please welcome Team #146 Erin Vogel and Sara Swenson!
Erin: Yorba Linda, CA
Sara: Marcellus, NY/San Diego, CA
Erin: Partner & Vice President, Vogel Properties, Inc.
Sara: Vice President of Product & Partnerships, PetDesk
What made you compete in the Rebelle Rally this year?
Erin: I read about the Rebelle Rally its first year, and just thought, “Wow. That’s so inspiring. I want to do that! I want that experience! I want to inspire others too!” Even though I was already racing, I didn’t think I had the necessary skills for off-road competition. Fast forward a few years, and I have grown so much and gained so much confidence in my racing career, so when I read about the Rebelle again last fall I knew that 2020 was finally the year!
Sara: When I first read about the Rebelle Rally last year I was immediately inspired by the amazing women competitors. It aligned with my love of maps, navigation challenges, and exploring new areas so seemed like a perfect goal for the year. I am always looking for new adventures and was ready to sign up the second I found a teammate.
How did you and your teammate meet?
We meet through the Rebelle teammate form and tried out the partnership at the Advanced Dune driving course with Nena from Barlow Adventures. Right off Erin’s exceptional driving skills made the weekend thrilling and an excellent start to building trust as Sara worked to pick lines and leverage her map reading and navigation skills in the Dunes. We also learned that we both love dogs, horses, hiking, and books, along with our goals for the race being very much aligned – so what more could we want in a partnership!?
Tell us about your competition vehicle. Why did you choose it to compete in?
After Erin attended the Beginner Dune driving course in December with her 2012 Tacoma (complete with camper shell), she couldn’t help but envy the capabilities of her classmates’ Jeep Wranglers. With the shorter wheel-base, extra ground clearance, larger diameter tires, and highly developed low-range torque capabilities, the Jeep was clearly the exceptional vehicle – at least in the Dunes. With that in mind, and a lot of demand for the second-hand Toyota to boot, Erin acquired Betty the black Jeep Rubicon in January.
Any other fun facts you’d like to add in?
Sara: My geeky obsession is trip planning, and not just simple day trips: 4K+ miles overland adventures that optimize fun to drive (Miata or Lexus GX), nature seeking (parks for hikes), and seeing family! I have even been overland to Timbuktu and back on an amazing adventure with my grandmother in her 80s to meet Toureg traders on camels on the Sahara.
Erin: Not only am I a speed nut, but I also love interior design and architecture – I used to work in the design industry before making the decision to help run the family business. So, even though they’re at odds with each other, my two favorite things are pretty spaces and dirty cars!!
We are super excited about mentors for the Athena Racing STEM program, and being able to help motivate and educate the next generation of women in motorsports. We are trying to use the Rebelle Rally to fundraise $10,000 towards their programs.