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Off-road rally in Nevada, California a ‘real-deal’ adventure for two B.C. women

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After two weeks of quarantine, Liza Tough and Sue Chapin are itching to get back on the road.

The two Okanagan residents recently returned from competing in a lengthy off-road and women’s only rally in the United States.

Covering more than 2,000 kilometres, the Rebelle Rally stretches across desert terrain from Nevada to California.

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“The focus is on navigation and not on racing,” Tough, from West Kelowna, told Global News.

Tough drove while Chapin, from Peachland, navigated.

Chapin noted that she’s an experienced navigator from telling her husband where to go.

“I don’t tell him how to drive; I just tell him where to drive,” Chapin explained.

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At the Rebelle Rally, GPS isn’t allowed and navigation is done by using a compass and a map.

“It’s not a puff rally even though it’s for women,” said Chapin. “This is the real deal,” Chapin said.

That’s exactly what the two were looking for when they started planning to compete three years ago.

Even a global pandemic and the closed border between Canada and the U.S. couldn’t stop the duo from reaching the rally’s starting line in Lake Tahoe, along with 36 other teams.

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Tough says that COVID-19 regulations during the eight-day event were extremely stringent.

“We had to have a negative COVID test with us when we checked in at tech inspection,” Tough said.

In fact, because of the pandemic, one of the hardest parts for the duo was just getting across the closed border.

“That was definitely a challenge,” Chapin said. “Basically, we had to ship the truck and fly to Wenatchee.”

From there, they drove their 2017 Toyota Tacoma straight to Nevada to run the race.

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The pair describe their first year participating in the rally as a learning experience.

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Statistically, the two finished 29th out of 30 teams in the 4×4 class.

Tough, though, says statistics don’t always tell the whole story.

“I think we did really well. We crossed the finish line, we didn’t roll the truck, we didn’t break the truck,” Tough said.

“We’re still friends. So you know what? We came out winners.”

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So, will the Rebelle Rally see the return of Tough and Chapin?

“I really didn’t know if I wanted to put myself through it again. And now with two weeks of quarantine to ruminate a bit, yeah, we need a redemption round,” Chapin said.

For Tough, the decision to return is an easy one.

“We are definitely competing again,” she said.

Despite coming second to last in their class, the CanToy Divas Team did manage to drive away with the Rebelle Rally’s International Cup title and its $2,500 US prize.

The two say the money will be donated to the B.C. Cancer Foundation for breast cancer research.

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