|No matter if you’re one of the most-experienced female four-wheel drivers in the country, or an enthusiast team doing something like this for the first time—the course can bite you equally. Both Team Sugar High (#126) of Michelle Davis and Andrea Shaffer; and the Squirrel Girls (#129) of Nena Barlow and Kande Jacobsen experienced a wreck in the sand dunes that resulted in damage to the vehicles.
Sugar High lost control over the vehicle over a dune, resulting in a minor case of whiplash, attended to by the Team 5 Foundation, and a bent front axle. The Squirrel Girls were able to repair their vehicle on-course, and continue for the rest of the day—finishing the day and still in the running at the top of the leaderboard.
Nena got to work at the closest checkpoint, repairing the Rebel and finishing the day’s course which ended in Johnson Valley. Team Sugar High and their Jeep Wrangler TJ needed to be trailered to a local town, where a body shop was able to straighten the Dana 30 front axle—allowing the vehicle to be driven to the next basecamp afterwards.
Emily Miller was quoted as saying “The course was designed to offer a sliding scale of difficulty to keep things challenging for everyone, including seasoned competitors and drivers in a modified four-wheel drive, to women new to the sport.” It goes to show that the Rebelle Rally is no walk-in-the-park, and that it’s bringing a new level of difficulty to the sport in America.
The Mojave Road is an iconic, rugged, four-wheel drive trail in Mojave Desert, and teams were lucky enough to travel the last section of it on their route before arriving at Rasor Dunes OHV Area. It’s known for soft washes, and dunes with steep, sharp razor backs that can be a game-changer for teams that end up on the wrong end. This lead to a few difficult-to-acquire checkpoints. Once teams entered this region, extra care had to be given due to the desert tortoise a threatened species native to the area. The Rebelle Rally has two on-staff biologists roaming the course to ensure there are no negative impacts with the desert tortoises which can live to 50 to 80 years.
After a thirty mile drive down a rutted powerline road that left some teams feeling exhausted after an already long day with plenty of activity, teams were thrown into the backside of Johnson Valley OHV Area. From here Rebelles had to navigate through open areas which had presented plenty of opportunities for mistakes due to the plethora of routes that could potentially lead to a insane obstacle—including those used in Johnson Valley’s famous King Of The Hammers event. Precision navigation will become paramount in this section of the event, which is expected to put a larger points spread between the competitors.