The Rebelle Rally is epic. It's a long beat down of an endurance competition that spans eight days of driving and navigating off-road, with no GPS, cell phones, or connected devices allowed. Just a team of three – driver, navigator, and vehicle – armed with only paper maps, a compass, and a road book. This is an old-school navigation challenge, and a badge of honor to get to the finish line. And…it's for women.
The rally isn't a race for speed, but for driving and navigation precision. By design, the Rebelle is a showcase for stock OEM vehicles, not racecars. In fact, all vehicles must be street legal and the stock 4x4 or CUV (crossover utility vehicle) in your driveway is more capable than you know. We call the Rebelle Rally the ultimate proving ground, because it truly is a test of the products that manufacturers build for their customers. It is 1,600 miles of every type of terrain, temperature, and altitude.
This year, the Rebelle started at Squaw Valley Ski Resort near the shores of Lake Tahoe, transited across dry lakebeds and dirt roads into the heart of Nevada. The teams then turned south and began the trek to the final stages in California. This year, the competition traveled through iconic locations including the Mojave Preserve, Johnson Valley, with the final days of competition in the Imperial Sand Dunes, better known as "Glamis."
Winning the rally also requires more than sheer speed – there is strategy and mental prowess required. The Rebelles prove their ability to stay on route and on time, while following specific instructions and relying on a roadbook in the Rebelle Enduro Challenges (REC). These are precision driving sections that involve a set route with an assigned start time and a designated target average speed throughout the route. Points are awarded based on how well teams follow the given instructions. Reaching all check-points is not always feasible, which forces teams to make tough decisions about the best methodology for time utilization.
Starting in Nevada and hitting temperatures as low as 17°F to ending in the Glamis Sand Dunes, the Rebelles are a force to be reckoned with – and not just behind the wheel. The Rebelles are required to carry all their own camping gear and be ready to cook for themselves as they face the marathon stage of the Rally: a two-day run with minimal support and only fueling allowed. Base camp includes luxurious amenities but throughout this rigorous undertaking, the ladies survive on freeze-dried meals and MREs. The women are as tough as their trucks.
I am fortunate to own, design, and plan the rally and the course, which means I spend a serious amount of time off-road. I drive a TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication® suspension-equipped Lexus GX470.1 Seven of our key support vehicles are Toyota's, and they are all TRD and TOTAL CHAOS equipped, because reliability and performance counts. We started pre-running the course in February in the snow up north, and finally wrapped up our work in September in 120°F temps along the Mexico border. Then we drove back up to the start to do it all over again in the rally. Just as the dust settled on October 19th, I was already dreaming of the next rally and logging the miles of a new course. This TRD and TC equipped Lexus has one helluva job.
"TOTAL CHAOS chooses TRD USA wheels for our project vehicles because they are forged aluminum wheels and are more durable than a cast wheel. They provide a hub centric fit with the factory Toyota hubs and are the narrowest aftermarket wheel available. We want maximum performance and prefer to have more sidewall protection for our tires by running the narrower wheel. The back spacing is close to the factory off-set, and, long term, that reduces wear and tear on steering components." Nicole Pitell-Vaughan, Owner TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication.
1. Vehicle shown is a special project car, modified with non-Genuine Lexus parts and accessories. Modification with these non-Genuine parts or accessories will void the factory warranty, may negatively impact vehicle performance and safety, and may not be street legal.
Rebelle Rally is a registered trademark of Soulside Network, Inc.
Total Chaos Fabrication is a registered trademark of Total Chaos Fabrication, Inc.