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Picton woman bests teams from around the world for Canadian win at Rebelle Rally

Driver Michelle Laframboise of Picton, and navigator Elise Racette of Mirabel, Quebec, representing ClearWater Design Racing, bested teams from around the world to win their class, as well as finishing fifth overall in the all-female off-road navigational rally that takes place in the wilds of California and Nevada.

A Canadian team raced to win International Cup honours at the second annual Rebelle Rally this fall.

Driver Michelle Laframboise of Picton, and navigator Elise Racette of Mirabel, Quebec, representing ClearWater Design Racing, bested teams from around the world to win their class, as well as finishing fifth overall in the all-female off-road navigational rally that takes place in the wilds of California and Nevada.

Over eight days of competition 36 teams, driving everything from fully prepared off-road Jeep Rubicons—like the one ClearWater Design rented from Barlow Adventures—to bone stock pickup trucks and small crossovers, traversed the desert and mountains seeking out navigational checkpoints to gain points.

The catch? It’s all done with map and compass and routebooks; teams are not permitted any electronic aids. That means no cellphones, no GPS, and no GPS-equipped cameras.

Laframboise, who earned the title of ‘Original Rebelle’ thanks to competing last year in the inaugural Rebelle Rally, was delighted with the result.

“Having driven performance rally together, Elise and I work well as a team, but this takes the teamwork to a new level. We worked hard and got a great system going.”

“On top of being an amazing navigational challenge, the Rebelle teaches great life lessons,” said Racette. “This is the most challenging event I have ever done!”

Most evenings the teams would convene at a base camp location, with amenities and a hot meal, although they did self-camp in the desert one night. The weather was always a factor with the temperatures more in keeping with Canadian winters than California a couple nights, and a windstorm in the sand dunes that reduced visibility to zero.

As winners of the International Cup the ClearWater Design team’s designated charity, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, will receive a donation of US$2,500.

“Our hearts go out to the kids that will get to live longer and better from Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s research,” Racette said.

The duo enjoyed the challenge so much that they have already registered for the 2018 edition of the Rebelle, which takes place from October 11 to 19.

“On our drive back from the event we started talking about what we could have done better, and suddenly it was apparent that we had to make it happen. We want to be on top of the podium next year,” Laframboise said.

ClearWater Design is a family-owned company run by husband and wife team, Ian Crerar and Michelle Laframboise, who both compete in road racing, performance rally and other motorsports as ClearWater Design Racing. Since 1995 they have produced rotationally molded polyethylene boats manufactured in their 40,000 square foot factory in Prince Edward County

 

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