As the 2022 Rebelle Rally entered Stage Five on Wednesday, teams headed off the start from Base Camp 2 near Spangler OHV area, and staff began breaking base camp to continue to move further south towards Amboy, California, and spend the night camping nearby the iconic (and rumored to be haunted) Roy’s on Route 66.
The women of the Rebelle faced a 10.5-hour day of transit that includes both a challenging On-Time Enduro, an On-Route Enduro, and a number of optional black checkpoints littered along the way. Competitors only got a 1:200,000 map at the start, which mastermind and founder of the Rebelle Rally, Emily Miller, noted was entirely intentional during Wednesday morning’s Live Show interview with host Emme Hall.
Wednesday’s route took competitors through Jawbone Canyon, along LA Aquaduct roads to Cuddeback Dry Lake bed, where the Rebelles had to take cap headings to navigate across to Harvard Way. Once there, they refueled and headed down Route 66 to I-40, ending up at Roy’s, which was once home to a motel, cafe, gas station, and auto shop. The current owners are restoring the location and hope to eventually reopen it as a full-service stop on famed Route 66. It currently offers a gift shop and pretty great photo ops as the current owner, Albert Okura, works to restore the place.
Miller noted that there were no blue checkpoints on Wednesday’s trails — all were either green, required checkpoints, or more challenging, unmarked black checkpoints.
“This is traditional cross-country rally navigation,” Miller told Hall during the live show, explaining that she wants to push this year’s Rebelles to use classic navigation skills. “The competitors have gotten so used to reading the maps, and the problem with maps is that they are a tool. Heading and distance, however, never lie. I don’t want them overreading the map.”
Miller also joked that someday she might just take away the maps completely and make competitors simply use heading and distance to get to a location.
Since the Rebelle staff packed up Base Camp 2 to head to the third Base Camp near Roy’s, there was no midday livestream.
Live host Emme Hall noted during the morning broadcast that one Rivian team, Team 186 in the all-electric R1S, had a bit of a mishap on the trail earlier in the week when they left their YB tracker at a checkpoint. They realized only after they’d gone a bit further, and based on their remaining charge, decided to go back to base camp to pick up another one before continuing on their way.
By the evening livecast, there were still a few Rebelles making their way back to impound for the evening. Spirits were high, even though there were a handful of folks in the mechanics bay struggling with everything from tire changes to electrical issues. The battery in Team 188’s Jeep had come loose, too, which had confused the ECU. The mechanics and team worked overnight to repair it.
During Stage 5 on Wednesday, one team, the Ford-backed Team 150, with Shelby Hall and Penny Dale, misplotted a required green checkpoint and timed out of it. That meant that they could not collect any more points until they moved on to the following green checkpoint. As a result, they slid in the overall standings from third to eighth.
Sadly, during the Wednesday evening live show, the hosts passed along some difficult news. Team 207, Erin Mason and S. “Mason” Converse, who competed in 2021’s Rebelle, lost one of their teammates. Mason Converse’s PTSD dog, Sammy, who was a wonderful companion, passed away suddenly this week. Last year, team 207 and my team, paired up in Glamis, and when we’d find a checkpoint, all of us would hop out of the cars and play a quick game of fetch with Sammy. She was an amazing pup, and she’ll be sorely missed by Tribe Rebelle. Team 207 was backed by Mitsubishi and a nonprofit, Record the Journey, which is run by long-time Rebelle and Army Veteran Rachael Ridenour. Mason and Converse are also both Veterans.
As of the end of Stage 5, the 4x4 class was led by the Jeep-backed Team 129, once again, who scored 100 percent of the available points on the long route. The Toyota-backed team, Team 152, came in second on the day, scoring 96 percent of the available points, and privateer Team 188 came in third with the Rivian team in the R1T, Team 187, nipping at their heels.
In the X-Cross class, the Ford-backed team, Team 200, continued to maintain their strong lead, followed by the Nissan-supported Team 216. The privateer team, Team 204, came in third on the day, scoring 92 percent of the available points on the trail.
Thursday, I will be heading out to Glamis to catch up with this year’s Rebelle’s IRL, so stay tuned for dispatches from the back of a Rivian R1S I borrowed to cover the event.