October 18, 2023
Competition Day 4 was a stage filled with twists and turns reminding even the most seasoned Rebelles that you can’t get too comfortable. Today took the teams on an on-time enduro out to the famed and haunting Trona Pinnacles. From there they hunted checkpoints continuing southward to the Red Mountain area and a completely new challenge. At a mid-day green checkpoint, teams were given the option to choose the regular or X checkpoints. If the team selected the X checkpoints, they had to hand over their 1:50,000 and 1:100,000 maps where they were sealed away. Competitors were then given a small map with a 1:60,000 scale, forcing teams to construct a handmade minute ruler or use a standard cm ruler and math equations to plot the accurate coordinates. While sounding simple, it is an advanced navigation skill that requires an understanding of how dividing space on a map works. Thirty-three of the 65 competitors opted to take on this challenge and see if they could improve their score with extra points.
After a long day of competition, teams returned to the Ridgecrest basecamp which saw some familiar teams on top. Ford teams were once again in the first two positions for the X-Cross™ class with Team #200 Built Wild (Melissa Clark/Jessica Moore) on top and Team #202 Mach-E Rally (Bailey Campbell/Kaleigh Miller) in second. Rounding out the top three of the class was Team #206 KiAloha(Susie Saxten/Verena Mei). The smaller but extremely competitive class currently has an overall tie for third place as Team #206 and Team #205 Wild Grace 8.0 (Sedona Blinson/Rebecca Donaghe) both have 706 points so far in the competition.
In the 4×4 class, Day 4 ended with Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow/Teralin Peterit) on top followed by Team #187 Limestone Legends (Alex Anderson/Lilly Macaruso) in second and Team #188 Dirt Hustle(Laura Wanlass/Maria Guitar) in third. Competition is still heated as the top four teams, which all are in the bone stock designation, are fighting for each and every point.
This stage resulted in a busy evening for Chief Mechanic, Nick Cimmarusti, and the rest of the mechanics team as they had as many as 18 competitors at one point of the night. “The biggest things we’re seeing is rocks taking out a sidewall, so tire failures, we are seeing a lot that are not repairable. And then the other big thing we’re seeing is suspension or drive train issues from severe drop-offs with squared-off edges and big ruts that are through the roof. So that’s what broke the Jeep axle in half. It’s caused some other suspension problems tonight and some superficial problems with bumpers and front valences,” said Cimmarusti, “Any way to avoid it? Don’t drive where you can’t see.”