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Ready to rally! PUTT editor to compete in Rebelle Rally with Hyundai Santa Cruz

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While spending 10 days in the middle of the desert with camping gear and a map hasn’t always been a dream of mine, the idea took root after hearing about the Rebelle Rally, a female-only off-road navigational challenge.

The whole thing looks really difficult, and as an 11-time marathoner, I’m cool with difficult.

The Rebelle Rally blends the love of off-road driving with the ultimate challenge of precise navigation skills. It’s not a race for speed, but a unique event based on the elements of headings, hidden checkpoints and time. Distances and directions are calculated using maps and a compass. No cellphones or GPS navigations systems are permitted. In fact, cellphones are collected at the start of the event to ensure no cheating.

Yeah, that means no TikTok or Instagram for me for 10 days. Gulp.

My partner will be Kristin Shaw of Drive Mode Show and The Drive, and we’ll be driving the Hyundai Santa Cruz, a compact pickup truck, to compete in the X-CROSS class.

Shaw and I specifically targeted the Santa Cruz as our rally vehicle because of its flexible cargo space, all-wheel-drive capability, unique styling and 8.6 inches of ground clearance. Plus, Hyundai is new to the Rebelle – just like we are.

Our specific Santa Cruz will be kitted out with extra skid plates and off-road tires – plus a few extra accessories that are TBD. But, then a lot about our upcoming adventure is TBD.

Both Shaw and I are well versed in off-road driving, but neither of us have any experience with orienteering. So, with the upcoming Rebelle U training, we’ll decide who drives and who navigates. Plus, we’ll also get a better understanding of the capabilities of the Hyundai Santa Cruz and what additional accessories we might need.

The Rebelle Rally takes place from Oct. 6 through Oct. 15 and covers more than 1,500 miles in the deserts of California and Nevada.

The bottom line on the Rebelle Rally

Our plan is to take you with us as we navigate (pun intended) this journey. So stay tuned for upcoming articles on how we kit out the Santa Cruz, training, lessons learned, etc. But, the bottom line is this: We’re super excited about tackling this challenge with the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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1 Comment

  1. Gene April 28, 2022

    This is going to be so cool.
    Good luck ladies.


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