The Rebelle Rally, which took place October 13-22, 2016,  is "the first women's off-road navigation rally raid in the United States". Using only a compass, maps, and a roadbook, competitors find their way down the preconfigured course from Lake Tahoe through the mountains and down to the desert floor with the Glamis sand dunes being their final destination.  During the 7 day competition, the Rebelles seek to navigate the proper heading, collecting points along the way for finding hidden or difficult to reach flagged checkpoints.

Off Road Warehouse was invited to assist in the operations of the event. Our team of two, each equipped with the two highly capable ORW vehicles, arrived to Johnson Valley during the Marathon Stage where we helped setup Base Camp 3. As the sun began to set, the competitors started arriving to the bivouac, thus concluding day 4 of competition, for some much needed rest and recuperation. After an outstanding dinner from celebrity chef and off road racer Drew Deckman, Rebelle staff met to discuss the following days course and activities and to hand assignments out.  One of the ORW vehicles was designated for driving official media personnel throughout the desert floor while the other was sent to occupy and officiate one of the hidden checkpoints. 

At the end of the meeting, staff members were given coordinates but unlike the competitors, they were allowed to use GPS devices. This ensured accuracy on finding and placing the required people and checkpoints at their respective locations the following morning.

Day 5, the day the ORW crew worked the course, ran flawlessly.  Unlike the usual 2 minute gap start between each competitor the Rebelles were used to, this time they were all lined up back to back on a great big dry lake and allowed to start as soon as they plotted their first point and felt ready to commence the day's stage.  Some of the competitor's vehicles encountered some normal wear and tear issues given the environment and use they were receiving, but all managed to make it to the finish line under their own power before the end of the stage.

One thing that was quite evident was the camaraderie amongst all the competitors. Their spirit of adventure was complementary to their perseverance and willingness to help each other and ensure they would all complete the day's stage. This was illustrated when one of the teams towed another's vehicle across the desert and to the mechanics area for a quick repair.  On another occasion two teams became stuck on a silt bed. They ended up working together to get unstuck and continue their run.

The day ended on a high note as everyone was happy and relieved to have finished and have a hot meal waiting for them upon arrival.  Not a sad face was seen but instead plenty of smiles, laughs, and even singing were abound. A few hours later as all the competitors were fast asleep, the only sound to be heard was that of the generator that would keep the lights on as staff hurried to prepare the following day's adventure.

Click here to see the entire Rebelle Rally image gallery.