Team Feature: High Mile Club - Emma & Nicole

May 30th, 2024

Meet Team High Mile Club: Emma Debany and Nicole McCammon, rookies in the 2024 Rebelle Rally. Despite being newcomers, they’re anything but unprepared. It all started with a text between the two good friends after seeing stories from the 2023 Rebelle. Without hesitation,  they dove head first into planning and training. They started by reading the official Rebelle Rally regulations (music to our ears!) and watching countless rally videos posted on YouTube and other platforms. Their commitment was cemented during a road trip to Seattle, where they bonded over long hours on the road.

“After Emma and I did a whirlwind trip to Seattle and back, I was desperate for more,” said Nicole. “The text from her was so serendipitous; it piqued my love for a new adventure and gave me the opportunity to get my hands dirty, both learning the ins and outs of the truck and analog navigation. Plus, doing a crazy 10-day road trip with your best friend sounds like a hell of a trip — I’m in!”

And we have a feeling the team’s third teammate might just be in the running for a fan favorite – a 1986 first-generation Toyota 4Runner which Emma found through a Facebook group and knew it was meant to be the second she laid eyes on it. “I’ve always wanted an old car,” said Emma. “When I was in high school, I dreamed of having a Jeep Wagoneer, then a 90s Cherokee. I moved to L.A. eight years ago, and since then, So Cal’s love for Toyotas has wormed its way into my heart. So, two years ago I finally decided to get a 1st gen 4Runner after learning that the shell comes off, basically making it half truck, half SUV. It’s perfectly weird!”

Learning how to drive a manual transmission on a rental car en route to pick up the 4Runner from Northern California was just the beginning of Emma’s classic car journey. Partnering with Squirrel Concepts, their first sponsor, they’ve focused on making the 36-year-old vehicle rally-ready by focusing on preventative maintenance before making some with upgrades like a trailing swing for a spare tire, a skid plate, a better gauge cluster (taken from a nicer SR5 truck), off-road lights, and sized up to 31-inch tires.

With hands-on mechanical training in place, Emma and Nicole are now gearing up for their field training, honing their navigating and driving skills out on the dirt. So far, the team has already received plenty of advice from the practical to the absurd, with a favorite being “always go the distance.” This advice encourages them to trust their measurements and calculations, going beyond self-doubt and stopping too early. The team is ready to challenge themselves and push to a higher level than they may realize they can go. Both competitors are shooting for the stars and have their eyes on winning a Rebelle Rally.  

Seems like the team already has a strong start, taking on recommendations to read everything, train and practice relentlessly – and read some more. And we’re already hoping to see the duo (or should we say trio) back in four years when their trusty 4Runner qualifies for the 4030 designation for vehicles 40+, and they earn the bragging rights of piloting a vintage vehicle across the desert for thousands of miles. Here’s to the adventures ahead, Team #193!