As competitors and even lucky bystanders grow and change, so does the Rebelle, with a different course every year. Near the end of my trip four years ago, I spent a day riding shotgun and chatting with Rebelle Rally founder and formidable international rally competitor Emily Miller. Talk about fearless.
Back then, Emily shared some of her secrets such as her thoughts planning each year’s course, an incredibly complex process that takes the full year leading up to the Rally. An insider tip to future competitors: take a moment at each checkpoint, as many of these spots are special, and Emily sent you there for a reason.
A quick explanation of Rally scoring: it’s not a race; it’s about skill and strategy. Three types of checkpoints are planted along the route, some with large flags, some with small markers, and some invisible, with the latter being by far the most valuable as they’re located only through precise navigation and driving. The goal, in a nutshell, is to use navigation and precision driving to find as many checkpoints as possible, as efficiently as possible.
That’s why the teams are rightfully the stars of the show, while the vehicles are means to an end. Yet another key part of the Rebelle’s evolution is its growing reputation as a proving grounds for auto manufacturers. The manufacturers, of course, have their own test tracks and facilities, favorite remote areas for putting new models through the wringer, and specialized procedures, but the tough conditions of the Rebelle have proven valuable for an increasing number of automakers — and have even resulted in some real-world changes to actual vehicles currently on sale. The Rebelle Rally changes people for the better, and it changes cars for the better, too.