Picture this: You’re handed a map, a compass and given nine days to drive 1,000 miles across rugged desert terrain? Would you do it?
Longtime four-wheeling enthusiast Nena Barlow didn’t have to think twice. When Ram Truck offered up a stock 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel for Nena and her teammate Kande Jacobsen to compete in the country’s first women-only Rebelle Rally, they jumped at the chance.
The Rebelle Rally is modeled on Morocco’s famous all-female Gazelle Rally. Founder Emily Miller, veteran off-road racer and the first U.S. woman to compete in the Gazelle Rally, used the Gazelle Rally as a template for the Rebelle Rally.
“We wanted a platform for women to shine driving their own vehicles,” Miller said. What separates the Rebelle Rally from a typical road race, she added, is that it’s “not a mind game. It’s more like a brain teaser.”
Rebelle Rally rules are few … but firm.
Beginning Oct. 15 at 8 a.m. PDT, the 36 competing teams will hit the trail somewhere in Nevada, their phones and all other forms of digital navigation totally disabled. A map and compass will be their only navigational tools for 10 hours each day until they finish somewhere in California on October 23. As you may have already guessed, the entire route is a secret to the drivers.
No matter, Barlow says. She’s well prepared to roll to the finish. “I’m no stranger to adventure” and have “always been blessed with a good sense of direction.” Barlow’s impressive off-roading credentials reach all the way back to her childhood growing up on a farm where she also learned how to tear down and reassemble vehicles. She currently owns and operates Barlow Adventures and tutors other women on the ‘ins and outs’ of four-wheeling. Barlow is currently the only woman certified by the International 4-wheel Drive Trainers Association.
She’s looking forward to putting Ram 1500 Rebel’s off-roading power to work in the desert. Like she and her teammate, Barlow says, the Ram 1500 Rebel is the real thing … truly off-road ready, not just another appearance package.
Meanwhile, Barlow’s husband David Meek will ‘man’ Twitter for Nena, and the team’s Facebook page. And you can follow the Rally progress with live tracking via Google Maps. We also hope to Skype with Barlow mid-way through the Rally, from their campsite to see how they and the Rebel are performing.
From 90-degree days to 30-degree nights, extremes are pretty much guaranteed at every turn for both driver and vehicle. And, contrary to popular belief, that’s nothing new to Barlow and the other women competitors who have long chosen to put their skills and resilience to work tackling the challenges offered by extreme off-roading.
Seeking Adventure: 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel
A map, a compass and decades of off-road experience … what more can Rebelle Rally teammates Nena Barlow and Kande Jacobsen rely on to pull off a possible win? Their stock 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel comes “ready to go right off the factory floor,” says Barlow.
First off, Ram 1500 Rebel boasts a factory-equipped off-road package that includes a factory lift for increased ride height.
The big 33-inch tires, standard air suspension, Bilstein shocks and skid plates will take this veteran off-road duo through any tough terrain this 1,000-mile trek can offer.
Powering this once-in-a-lifetime adventure is the big 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with variable-valve timing delivering 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.
And, just think how useful the Rebel’s class-exclusive RamBox cargo system will be in helping to organize all of the equipment required for this long journey.
All this – right off the showroom floor. How can Ram 1500 Rebel turn your next off-road trip into a real adventure?