The Rebelle Rally began on Wednesday 11 October in Mammoth Lakes, California, and ended, after 2120 kilometres, on Friday 20 October in the dunes of Glamis, on the border with Mexico. The 65 participating teams crossed the most iconic places of the American West navigating only with maps and compasses. For the first time in the history of the Rebelle Rally, a 100% electric vehicle won the 4x4 class. On board the Rivian R1T Team #187 Limestone Legends composed of Lilly Macaruso and Alex Anderson finished at the top of the podium for the 4x4 class. The top finisher of the X-Cross class was Team #200 Built Wild Melissa Clark and Jessica Moore on aboard the Ford Bronco Sport.
Photography Paolo Baraldi, Story Rebelle Rally
The Rebelle Rally is the longest competitive off-road rally in the United States and is an all-female competition. The rally takes place over ten days with eight days of competition covering 2,120 kilometers (1,317 miles) of the most iconic off-road terrain in the American West. While not a speed race, it is an extremely challenging endurance event based on precision driving and traditional navigation. Competitors use maps, compasses and roadbooks, known as the Rebelle format, with the use of GPS, cell phones and electronics strictly prohibited.
Rebelle Rally: If it were easy, everyone would do it!
The Rebelle Rally is known for its stunning course locations across California and Nevada. The route and stages are kept confidential to competitors and the public prior to the start, however this year’s rally will consist of three basecamps and two Marathon Legs where competitors camp away from basecamp amenities and mechanical assistance. The rally will conclude on Friday, October 20th with the final competition day set in the iconic Imperial Sand Dunes (Glamis) - the largest sand dune complex in the U.S. The stage is the most anticipated of the competition with the final ranking dependent upon the results of this challenging day and terrain.
This year, there will be 130 women from 100 cities, 27 states and provinces and three countries on the starting line. Each team is made up of a pilot, a navigator and the relevant vehicle, external personal support crews are not permitted. The age of participants ranges from 23 to 75 years old and a wide range of professions with a high number of women in STEM disciplines. Of the total, 27 are rookie teams, competing in the rally for the first time and automatically competing for the coveted Rookie of the Year award.
By design, Rebelle Rally competition vehicles are production trucks, SUVs and crossovers, not tube-frame race cars. It is considered a testbed for capable, everyday vehicles. There are two classes: 4x4 and X-Cross. This year there are 55 entries in the 4x4 class, defined as all-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case, and 10 entries in the X-Cross class of the popular AWD segment. Among the 65 entries, 25 teams come directly from ten automakers, the largest to date. An exciting development with OEMs showing a genuine commitment to the women's market.
Now in its fourth year, the Electrified Program continues to evolve and grow. The program's foundations began six years ago with the mission to rigorously test vehicles with electric and alternative power sources. The goal was not to place these vehicles in separate classes or cut short stages, but to compete head-to-head against 4x4 and X-Cross vehicles. With the rally covering remote and long distances, the Electrified Program is a rigorous test for competing electric, hybrid and hybrid vehicles. The program would not be possible without renewable energy leader Renewable Innovations (RI), which not only powers the program during the eight-day remote course but also provides solar power for the base camps. Rally and RI are leaders in these efforts globally. With the introduction of the program in 2020, the commitment has become even stronger and this year is no exception with the largest number of electrified entries to date. Electric vehicles in this year's Electrified designation include four Rivian R1Ts and the all-new Mustang Mach-E® Rally. Toyota unveiled two Sequoia hybrids and a Tundra TRD Pro hybrid. Jeep also returns with a strong presence by fielding four Wrangler Rubicon 4xe vehicles. The Jeep 4xe has made a memorable mark in the previous two rallies, securing first place in 2021 and 2022.
Rebelle Rally, PROLOGUE
With the first day of competition under their belt, the Rebelle Rally competitors made their way back to Basecamp 1 after an unscored Prologue Day that brought them to an on-time enduro right out the gate that would determine the start order for Day 1. Deemed as an easy and scenic stage for the competitors the afternoon brought panoramic views of the Eastern Sierra Mountain range and skirted them along the edge of Bishop, California to Chidago Canyon and the White Mountains. The highlight of the drive was the climb through a tight red rock canyon to Benton Crossing Road.
The Prologue gave the competitors the chance to practice each type of map and compass checkpoints (green, blue, black diamond and X options) as well as their on-time enduros.
After the scoring for the enduro was complete, it was determined that the team that will be the first off of the line for Day 1 will be Team #150 Desert Roots (Shelby Hall/Rori Lewis). Their incredible performance on the enduro gave them the top score of the day and will be departing the line bright and early at 7:00 am. Rounding out the top three scores for the Prologue enduro were two Rivian teams. Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lillian Macaruso/Alexandra Anderson) will be second off the line and Team #139 Headings United (Mandy Brezina/Alexandra Gilman) will be starting third. Many competitors look forward to the starting line every year and Alex Gilman from Team Headings United was no exception, “Mandy was a big reason I decided to go for it again this year. Getting to go out to Glamis earlier in September was a breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to be back on the start line.”
Rebelle Rally, DAY 1
Competition at the Rebelle Rally never fails to excite and Day 1 at the eighth annual Rebelle Rally didn’t disappoint. The first day of the official scored competition began with another on-time enduro that took the teams to diverse, iconic locations along the Upper Owens River. The terrain on today’s stage led teams from the Bristlecone Pine forests out to spectacular views of Obsidian Dome. The key to today’s competition was all about making smart decisions, where we saw only a handful of teams opt for the scenic Obsidian Dome loop.
One team managed to obtain a perfect score for the day, Team #129 4xEventure (Nena Barlow/Teralin Petereit) made their way through the course in their 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe to not only cross the finish line first but capture all available points from the day. Rounding out the top three for the 4x4 class was Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass/Maria Guitar) in second with their 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor and Team #150 Desert Roots (Shelby Hall/Rori Lewis) in third with their 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor.
Interestingly, the top four finishers for the day in the 4x4 class were all within six points of each other and all have the Bone Stock designation, showing that the vehicle in your driveway is more capable than you think. The special Bone Stock designation is for vehicles that don’t have any modifications beyond off-road tires. The award is given to both the individual team as well as the manufacturer.
Landing the top spot for a rookie team on Day 1 of this year’s rally was Team #118 Dirt Dames and Games (Elizabeth Siegel/Natalie Muscat). “Emily suggested to plot everything and see how the course reveals itself," said Team #118 Dirt Dames and Games, Elizabeth Siegel. “In the morning, we had a couple of different ideas. We were trying to save as much time as possible in places. That allowed us a little more time once we got to the X checkpoints, which we were pretty sure we were going to do but we weren't 100% sure because it sounded a little scarier. But once we got into it, we really had a blast.”
Leading Day 1 of the X-Cross Class was Team #200 Built Wild (Melissa Clark/Jessica Moore) who have just three points over their fellow Ford teammates in the 2023 Ford Mach-E Rally, Team #202 Mach-E Rally (Bailey Campbell/Kaleigh Miller). Rounding out the top three for the class was Team #205 Wild Grace 8.0 (Sedona Blinson/Rebecca Donaghe) in the brand new 2024 BMW X2 M35i in a stunning Frozen Portimao Blue.
Rebelle Rally, DAY 2
It’s the first marathon day and according to Rebelle Rally Founder Emily Miller, “Today required dead reckoning,” Teams rolled into their marathon camp and won’t see their scores tonight but we can share provisional results with you. Today's course went 290km, a long day of competition but a great day for drivers. Checkpoints were spaced further away, and Emily selected some smooth, fun roads so the teams could enjoy their journey. Tonight teams will enjoy some warmer temperatures in an iconic western ghost town.
Keeping it interesting as always, the scores reflected a shake-up in the top three for both the 4x4 class and the X-Cross. Finishing on top of the 4x4 class on Day 2 was Team #152 Toyota Way-Finders (Becky Brophy/Samantha Barber) and on top for the X-Cross™ class was Team #205 Wild Grace 8.0 (Rebecca Donaghe/Sedona Blinson). The remaining 4x4 competitors on Day 2’s podium was Team #139 Headings United (Mandy Brezina/Alex Gilman) in 2nd and Team #129 4xEventures (Nina Barlow/Teralin Petereit). Rounding out the podium for the X-Cross™ was Team #200 Built Wild (Melissa Clark/Jessica Moore) in second place and Team #202 Mach-E Rally (Bailey Campbell/Kaleigh Miller) in third.
Proving that Rebelle teams are tough competitors, the Rebelle media team captured the pure grit of Team #115 Dirty Tires (Fonda Matthews/Macie Matthews) who proved that no terrain is too extreme for a tire change. “We were lucky that it was less than a kilometer to the top. We got there and it was flat, and we could kind of work together [to fix the flat]” said Fonda Matthews of Team Dirty Tires. She and her teammate and daughter Macie Matthews look forward to putting Day two behind them and moving on to happier trails.
Rebelle Rally, DAY 3
For the Rebelle Rally competitors, it’s a relief to make it through their marathon leg and move on to one of the Rally’s favorite basecamp locations, Ridgecrest. Warmer temperatures and rocky trails greeted the teams as they looped through Gold Point and the beautiful Joshua Trees before heading down to basecamp. Described as a fun and flowing day of driving, teams collected checkpoints for 6.5 hours and then headed to a longer transit along the eastern slope of the Sierra Mountains to their evening Ridgecrest camp.
At the end of Day 3, teams could see their scores from the marathon leg. Back up on top today were Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow/Teralin Peterit) for the 4x4 class. This is proving to be a very competitive class again this year with the top three finishers today all within nine points. Second place today went to Team #187 Limestone Legends (Alex Anderson/Lilly Macaruso) who climbed up two places from their finish yesterday. Third for the day was Team #152 Toyota Way-Finders (Becky Brophy/Samantha Barber). Navigator for Team #152 had the following analysis of their marathon leg and strategy for the two days, “On the marathon leg we just went for it all and went for the X's we knew. On both days, we knew that we had to really focus on time because it was tight closing times on everything. We really focused on keeping to our closing times and watching those and trying to make quicker decisions than what we had last year.”
All the teams today fought for each and every point, keeping the other teams chasing them on their toes.
For the X-Cross™ class, the team who came out on top on Day 3 after the marathon leg was Team #202 Mach-E Rally (Bailey Campbell/Kaleigh Miller) in their all-new Mustang Mach-E Rally. They were one of only two X-Cross™ teams who didn’t receive a penalty today. Following closely on their heels was #200 Built Wild (Melissa Clark/Jessica Moore) in the Ford Bronco Sport Badlands and finally breaking into the top three was Team #206 KiAloha (Susie Saxten/Verena Mei) in their 2024 KIA Telluride X-Pro as the third-place finisher.
Rebelle Rally, DAY 4
Competition Day 4 was a stage filled with twists and turns reminding even the most seasoned Rebelles that you can’t get too comfortable. Today took the teams on an on-time enduro out to the famed and haunting Trona Pinnacles. From there they hunted checkpoints continuing southward to the Red Mountain area and a completely new challenge. At a mid-day green checkpoint, teams were given the option to choose the regular or X checkpoints. If the team selected the X checkpoints, they had to hand over their 1:50,000 and 1:100,000 maps where they were sealed away. Competitors were then given a small map with a 1:60,000 scale, forcing teams to construct a handmade minute ruler or use a standard cm ruler and math equations to plot the accurate coordinates. While sounding simple, it is an advanced navigation skill that requires an understanding of how dividing space on a map works. Thirty-three of the 65 competitors opted to take on this challenge and see if they could improve their score with extra points.
After a long day of competition, teams returned to the Ridgecrest basecamp which saw some familiar teams on top. Ford teams were once again in the first two positions for the X-Cross™ class with Team #200 Built Wild (Melissa Clark/Jessica Moore) on top and Team #202 Mach-E Rally (Bailey Campbell/Kaleigh Miller) in second. Rounding out the top three of the class was Team #206 KiAloha (Susie Saxten/Verena Mei). The smaller but extremely competitive class currently has an overall tie for third place as Team #206 and Team #205 Wild Grace 8.0 (Sedona Blinson/Rebecca Donaghe) both have 706 points so far in the competition.
In the 4x4 class, Day 4 ended with Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow/Teralin Peterit) on top followed by Team #187 Limestone Legends (Alex Anderson/Lilly Macaruso) in second and Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass/Maria Guitar) in third. Competition is still heated as the top four teams, which all are in the bone stock designation, are fighting for each and every point.
This stage resulted in a busy evening for Chief Mechanic, Nick Cimmarusti, and the rest of the mechanics team as they had as many as 18 competitors at one point of the night. “The biggest things we're seeing is rocks taking out a sidewall, so tire failures, we are seeing a lot that are not repairable. And then the other big thing we're seeing is suspension or drive train issues from severe drop-offs with squared-off edges and big ruts that are through the roof. So that's what broke the Jeep axle in half. It's caused some other suspension problems tonight and some superficial problems with bumpers and front valences,” said Cimmarusti, “Any way to avoid it? Don't drive where you can't see.”
Rebelle Rally, DAY 5
Competitors were greeted today with another marathon leg as they departed Ridgecrest on their journey South. The day started with teams departing on a long unique marathon leg that took them through Cuddeback south of Red Mountain. Heading off the pavement onto the dirt, the teams headed east toward a massive dry lakebed and their first green checkpoint of the day to get them into Johnson Valley. Once they checked in, the teams were off on an on-route enduro for back-to-back enduros which led them to hunt out-of-order checkpoints for the afternoon. At the end of the first day of this marathon leg, competitors stopped to camp after 10 hours of their start time. Teams are spread out across three different zones where they will spend the night before starting their next leg, Day 6. This second to last stage will find teams arriving at their final basecamp in Glamis and get their scores tallied from the past two days.
Rebelle Rally, DAY 6
Competitors have finally made it to Glamis and have arrived at the final basecamp of the eighth Rebelle Rally. After their second marathon leg of the event, teams reached camp where they learned their scores from the past two days. Day 6 was a continuation of the previous day’s checkpoint hunting that kept teams in Johnson Valley for the morning before a precision enduro that was designed by Course Director, Jimmy Lewis. As a former Dakar Rally competitor, the enduro roadbooks he creates use internationally recognized symbols and notations to guide teams along their route. Once complete, teams had a long transit down to the Imperial Dunes, commonly referred to as Glamis. There were a few final points available for competitors to capture before heading into basecamp as teams prepared for their final day of competition.
At the end of the two days of scoring, the teams saw only a handful of points separating them for the stage. Ending the Day 5/Day 6 stage on top in the 4x4 class was Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lilly Macaruso/Alex Anderson) who were one of only three overall teams who scored more than 80% of the available points. Close on their heels was Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow/Teralin Peterit) and Team #131 Team Velocity (Karisa Haydon/Trista Smith).
As teams head into their final day, Team #129 leads the overall standings, “both of us are tired to our souls. That's one stole that from [fellow competitor] Liz Long actually. I'm tired and in my soul, we’re wiped. Emily Miller is wiping the floor with us. And we love it, but it's it's hard.” said Barlow about their competition so far. “We had to watch our time today. We’ve had to worry about fuel, which is not something I've ever had to worry about. I've always had plenty of range but now we’ve had to watch fuel and time all day long. We're not used to chasing the clock. We usually set a pace and are ahead of schedule. In the past we've had to worry about making sure we didn't click before an opening time but today we made it to our green with one minute and 38 seconds to spare.”
For the X-Cross class, Team #205 Wild Grace 8.0 (Rebecca Donaghe/Sedona Blinson) confidently led their BMW X2 M35i to the top of the scoreboard for the marathon stage. Following behind them was Team #200 Built Wild (Melissa Clark/Jessica Moore) in their 2022 Bronco Sport Badlands and Honda Engineering Team #208 The Co-Pilots (Hillary Tate/Liz Long). While Clark and Moore have the overall lead going into the final day, the competitors know that the dunes can often change the luck for teams chasing the final podium.
Rebelle Rally, DAY 7 Pesented by TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication
You never know what the dunes will bring and that is exactly what the final stage of the 2023 Rebelle Rally brought to the competition. Most teams know that their Day 7 will end with the Glamis sand dunes, but today’s final stage was a nail-biter for the top competitors vying for the podium. It was an extremely hot day with 100+ degree temperatures that softened the sand before the morning was even over. Many of the teams saw their vehicles getting stuck and, in a few cases, even overheating in the grueling heat.
Viewers watched the battle for the 4x4 title unfold throughout the day and in the end, the Rally saw its first ever electric vehicle at the top of the podium. Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lilly Macaruso/Alex Anderson) took their Rivian R1T to first place after a rollercoaster day of competition. Part of the Electrified Designation, this select group of competitors is powered by Renewable Innovations. They have worked with Rebelle Rally founder, Emily Miller to develop this unique program with the goal of rapid remote charging. Rounding out the podium was past champion Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow/Teralin Peterit) who came in second with the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe and Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass/Maria Guitar) who finished third with the Ford Bronco Raptor.
In the X-Cross class, the competition was just as heated when the first-place finisher Team #200 Built Wild (Melissa Fisher/Jessica Moore) won with their 2022 Ford Bronco Sport. This is a four-peat for the Bronco Sport, giving the marque a strong foothold in the crossover class. Rounding out the podium were two brand new vehicles that showed their prowess. The BMW X2 M35i piloted by veteran competitors on Team #205 Wild Grace 8.0 (Rebecca Donaghe/Sedona Blinson) finished second with Team #206 KiAloha (Verena Mei/Susie Saxten) in the 2024 Kia Telluride X-Pro not too far behind them in third.
Rebelle Rally, Rebellation
After arguably one of the most difficult Rebelle Rally courses, teams enjoyed a day off Saturday in the Imperial Sand Dunes (Glamis). Teams and partners were treated to massages, TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication Hot Laps, and competition demos before gathering together for Rebellation, an awards ceremony presented by Jeep, and Gala in the desert. Final Standings were posted earlier and are as follows:
In a nail-biting ending, Rivian R1T of Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lilly Macaruso/Alex Anderson) finished at the top of the podium for the 4x4 class, earning a custom trophy and $5,000 each toward next year’s Rebelle Rally as their prize. For the first time in Rebelle history, a fully electric vehicle won the top prize with the support of Renewable Innovations whose MEC-H truck provided the necessary charge throughout the event. The team was also the top finisher in both the Electrified and Bone Stock designations. The first-place team has held these honors for the past two years showing that the vehicles in your driveway are more capable than you think, and fuel preferences continue to trend green.
Second place for the 4x4s was Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow/Teralin Peterit) in their 2024 Jeep Rubicon 4xe who won multiple stages throughout the Rally but ultimately had to sacrifice some points on the final day, giving the lead to Rivian. In third place was Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass/Maria Guitar) in a 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor.
The top finisher of the X-Cross class was a repeat-winning driver with a new teammate and also ran one of only two Bone Stock vehicles in the competitive crossover class. The Ford Bronco Sport came in first place yet again with Team #200 Built Wild (Melissa Clark/Jessica Moore), who both are Bronco Off-Roadeo trail guides. The team also won for the X-Cross™ Bone Stock designation. The Ford Bronco Sport has been at the top of the X-Cross™ podium for the past four years, since its reintroduction into the American market. Rounding out the podium is the all-new BMW X2 M35i with Team #205 Wild Grace 8.0 (Rebecca Donaghe/Sedona Blinson) which is the first time Rebelle Rally has had a BMW on the podium which took second place and then the 2024 Kia Telluride X-Pro with Team 206 KiAloha (Verena Mei/Susie Saxten) in third.
Always a coveted award, the Rookies of the Year awards were a battle among a strong group of 27 rookie teams across 4x4 and X-Cross™ classes. Taking home the award for the X-Cross™ class was Team #212 Hells Bells Rally (Nicole Rotondo/Serena Halterman) running in a 2023 Honda Passport. The team had a strong support group of other crossover competitors who helped them win this title. In the 4x4 class, the team that ultimately took home the Rookie of the Year award was Team #182 Octane Adventures (Myra Padda/Sandra Li) in their 2023 Toyota Sequoia. The pair are engineers for Toyota PE and are one of six teams representing the popular brand in this year’s Rebelle Rally. The second place Rookies of the Year for the 4x4 class is another Toyota Sequoia Team #183 Go2Genba (Heather Eich/Allison McGowan) who met at work with Toyota R&D. Rounding out the top three rookies was Team #122 Team Rex Bronco (Toni Hlavnicka/Caralina Carlson) with a 2023 Ford Bronco Badlands Sasquatch.
In the 2023 competition, Official Rebelle Rally partner Pirelli sponsored a contingency competition for any vehicles that were running their tires during the competition. The top finisher who was running Pirellis was also the 4x4 who won the overall competition, Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lilly Macaruso/Alex Anderson). Their 2023 Rivian R1T has sported Pirelli tires since starting their journey in 2022 where the team was the top Rookies of the Year.
Additional awards were given for the International Cup, the international team that finished with the most points which was once again Team #144 CanToy Divas (Liza Tough/Sue Chapin) who hails from British Columbia, Canada as well as the Team Spirit Award which is designed to promote and encourage a positive spirit in the midst of focused competition. Winners of the Team Spirit award are voted on by their fellow competitors and the team that showed this in abundance in 2023 was Team #204 Mountain Subie (Carey Lando/Dorothy Rake) with their 2014 Subaru Outback.
To close out the night, a special award for Perseverance was given to Team #117 Brouck Sisters (Maureen Brouck/Hortense Brouck) who were so driven to compete in the Rebelle Rally they moved to the United States from France for a year to prepare for the event. Their savings from working went toward the 1998 Jeep TJ that carried them through the rally and across the finish line.
Teams will now reflect on the journey they have just completed and already start their preparation for 2024. Competition. Registration for the 2024 Rebelle Rally is now open. A limited number of spots will be reserved for rookie teams.