First time off-road racers Abby Bassett and Beth Bowman have crossed the finish line in the Rebelle Rally.

The driver and navigator team – christened The Wanderettes – emerged from the experience in their dusty, orange and yellow wrapped Porsche Cayenne S — tired but exhilarated.

Although Ruby (name they gave the car) still rode on 20-inch road wheels and General Grabber A/T tyres, it emerged unscathed — without even getting a puncture.

“Together, Beth and I pushed more than 2500 km through cold, heat, snow, rain and sleet, survived a massive sandstorm and scorpions, and earned nearly 1000 points in our first rally.

“What a wild and amazing thing,⁠” Bassett, the driving half of The Wanderettes, said.

The all-female Rebelle Rally covers 2500km of stunning terrain across the Nevada and California desert.

It blends a love of driving with the challenge of precise navigation, testing skills over eight days of competition.

It is not a race for speed, but a unique and demanding event based on the elements of headings, hidden checkpoints, time, and distance using maps, compass, and roadbook.

“To say that the Rebelle Rally changes you is an understatement. To say it teaches you how to conquer things that you never thought you could is to shortchange the entire experience,” navigator Bowman said.

“In one word, my time competing in the rally has been downright epic.”

The X-Cross Class competitors navigated their way through checkpoints and endurance stages, relying on each other for support in the tough times, and connecting with other teams at the all-women event to swap tips and stories from the route.

Bassett and Bowman’s first foray into off-road rally racing saw them finish seventh.

The training sessions the team put in beforehand helped the Cayenne improve its points total each day and finish the rally unscathed, and for The Wanderettes, they leave the event with much more than bragging rights.

“For now, I’m grateful, exhausted and still a bit dusty and dirty,” Bassett said.

“I’m shot and still recovering from one of the most challenging things I’ve done in the last two years, both mentally and physcially. I can also say I am now officially a Rebelle.”


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Wanderettes find the finish line


Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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