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Bronco Brand Earns Rebelle Rally's First-Ever Three-Peat In The X-Cross Class

Taking part in this year's 2022 Rebelle Rally, Ford Motor scored the rally's first ever three-peat in the X-Cross class. Ford fielded three factory teams and there were other independents, as well, in the all-women's desert rally that covered 1,600 miles out west. This was the seventh edition.

For the last seven years, an event that is unlike any other has been held. The Rebelle Rally is an event that pits two-women teams against each other as they run over 1,600 miles of desert and outback trails as each two-person team tries to win.

Various Rallies Test Teams’ Mettle

Indeed, many rallies around the globe challenge the mettle of driving teams in various regions, from desert to northern forest. Indeed, rallies run in and around major metropolitan areas, with vehicles cutting through parts of cities as they dart out of the city and back into the country as they make their way to each finish. Today, these rallies rely on tech to assist the driving teams in reaching their goals.

The Rebelle Rally is somewhat of a throwback event. Instead of using Satellites and Nav to keep each vehicle on course, the Rebelle Rally relies on old-fashioned maps, pencils, and paper, which means that each vehicle navigator had better know how to use and read maps than just entering coordinates into a GPS of Sat/Nav system. It is far more challenging, though. There is a rally computer onboard each vehicle into which rally information is entered, much as it was 20 or 30 years ago by hand. Old tech does work, as the competitors made their way across 1,600 miles of the western desert last week. Torque News wrote about the Rally at that time. Ford fields teams in the Rebelle Rally

Ford fielded three teams in the Rally. The automaker earned a three-peat in the Rally's X-Cross class. Bronco Sport once again proved that Bronco, Ford's outdoor brand of only 4x4 vehicles, is furthering adventure for novice and off-road pros through its Built Wild innovative design, capability, and durability.

Earning the three-peat win across the seven-day Rally was Melissa Clark, a Bronco Off-Roadeo Moab Trail Guide and 2021 X-Cross winner, and partner Chris Benzie, a veteran Rebelle Rally navigator and semi-retired aerospace engineering executive. The Bronco Sport Badlands duo lead five out of seven rally days in the X-Cross class, which features two-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles.

Proud Of All The Bronco Teams Competing

"We're proud of all the Bronco teams competing in this year's Rebelle Rally as these ladies exemplify how each Bronco SUV is designed from the factory to elevate all skill levels of off-roader confidently through the most extreme environments," said Dave Bozeman, vice president, Ford Customer Service Division, and vice president, Enthusiast Vehicles, Ford Blue. "We congratulate all the Bronco teams, including Melissa Clark and Chris Benzie, who gave Bronco Sport a never-been-done three-peat win in the X-Cross Class."

In addition to showcasing the off-road ability of the vehicle entries, the Rebelle Rally is designed to challenge the navigation skills of the participants. The event started in Incline Village, Nevada, on October 6 and wound its way across rugged terrain in Nevada and California, finishing on October 15 in the Imperial Sand Dunes in southern California. Each team consists of a driver, navigator, and vehicle, with no personal support crews allowed. Participants spent their nights camping along the way. 

Bronco brand also saw both of its Bronco SUVs finish the Rebelle Rally in the 4x4 class, which features four-wheel drive vehicles.

Navigating the 1,500-plus mile terrain in a Bronco two-door Wildtrak with a HOSS 3.0 System Package upgrade, professional driver, and Bronco Brand Ambassador Shelby Hall and Penny Hall, an experienced navigator, took sixth place.

Some Interesting Hardware Described

The HOSS 3.0 System Package includes FOX 2.5-inch Internal Bypass Dampers, Ford Performance severe-duty steering rack and tie rod ends, a front steel bumper, and a front steel bash plate. Hall and Dale previously won the X-Cross class in 2020 with Bronco Sport and finished fourth in the 4x4 class last year.

In 15th place, Kathryn Reinhardt (driver), director of marketing at off-road accessory supplier 4 Wheel Parts, and Victoria Bundrant (navigator), marketing coordinator at 4 Wheel Parts, took on their second appearance at the Rebelle Rally in their customized Bronco four-door Badlands upfitted by 4 Wheel Parts. The duo improved six spots from their rookie year.

Outside the Bronco brand-sponsored teams, five other Broncos, including a first-generation 1969 Bronco and a 2021 Bronco Sport First Edition, took on and finished this year's Rebelle Rally.

Ford Motor Photo

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.