West Kelowna  

Okanagan duo competes in women's off-road rally race

Pandemic can't stop racers

A global pandemic couldn't stop a pair of determined Okanagan rally drivers from competing in the only women’s off-road navigation race in the United States.

The Rebelle Rally is the first race of its type, described as "the ultimate road trip for the adventurous and competitive woman."

That is a description that fits West Kelowna's Liza Tough and Peachland's Sue Chapin perfectly.

"It took a lot of hours and a lot of frustration, and that was just to get our truck over the border."

"It was really inspiring to meet a whole bunch of ladies that have the same kind of passion which is awesome," Tough said, explaining she and Chapin planned to compete in the race well before COVID-19, so once the pandemic hit, they had to scramble to keep the dream alive.

Flights had to be changed, the truck they intended to race had to be shipped to California and held for them, plus they needed to raise money.

Tough estimates the whole adventure cost $20,000.

"We were the only international team that was able to make it to the start line."

The race started on October 8. After what Tough described as three good days of driving, things got complicated.

"We knew we weren't going to win. We hoped for rookie of the year, which didn't quite happen, but we're hoping the next time we compete we'll win most improved team."

Tough says she caught the off-road rally race bug after a meeting race creator Emily Miller a few years ago. "She inspired me and it became a dream."

The race lasts eight days and covers over 2,000 kilometres from Lake Tahoe to the Imperial Sand Dunes near the Mexican border. Participants must use only paper maps and a compass. No smartphones GPS or other electronic devices allowed.

"The Rebelle was so much more than how we placed each day or how we placed overall."

As the race's only international competitor this year, Tough's team won the "International Cup" and the $2,500 donation to the team's charity of choice — BC Cancer Foundation - Breast Cancer Kelowna.

Tough says her team is looking forward to racing again and she says she made friendships that will last a lifetime.

"It was inspiring to meet a bunch of ladies that have the same kind of passion which is awesome."

Tough says she now can't wait for the U.S. border to open so she can connect with some of the drivers she met who live in Washington State. "As soon as the border opens we are going to be getting together and driving the trails together."

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