A Canadian pair has pulled off a thrilling, come-from-behind finish to place first in an international off-road rally and raise $2,500 for Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Representing ClearWater Design Canoes and Kayaks, the driver/co-driver team of Michelle Laframboise from Ontario's Prince Edward County and Elise Racette of Mirabel, QC drove a Jeep Wrangler across the mountains and desert of California and Nevada to finish the 2018 Rebelle Rally tied for first with a team based in California.
Laframboise and Racette found themselves in fourth place and 36 points behind the leaders on the second-to-last day of racing only to post a flawless final day to make up that difference and wind up tied for first.
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"We knew our day was going well but we were thrilled when we found out we tied for first place," said Laframboise. Racette described the feeling of "navigating and driving perfectly through the massive dunes" as "incredible."
The Rebelle Rally describes itself as the longest competitive off-road rally in the U.S., with a 1,600-mile (nearly 2,600 km) route covered in eight days of driving. Ten-hour days of map-and-compass navigating (no smartphones or GPS units are allowed) are followed by nights spent in tents, sometimes without the support of a race crew.
Fresh off their podium finish, Laframboise and Racette are already registered for next year's race.
"We know we left a lot of points on the table this year," said Laframboise. "We want to come back and finish with a clear and distinctive win."