Meet Michelle and Tasha of Team Gritty Up. No strangers to the infamous Rebelle Rally, this year they are taking it on with Michelle's daily driver, a 2019 Lexus GX460 appropriately named "Betty White". RUX is honoured to support these women in their preparation and training for the event, held this year October 7-15th.
Read on to learn more about this inspiring team, their prep for the race, and their thoughts on the event.
RUX: Who are you? What do you do? Where do you live?
Michelle Kerby - Age 57, Married 29 years with 3 dogs. Currently residing in Park City, Utah because of my love of the outdoors, skiing, biking and everything in between. I am a professional Fitness Trainer and have been for 26 years. 2022 was my first year competing in the Rebelle Rally with Tasha, thanks to the support from friends, family, and sponsors who helped us pursue this huge, costly, and timely challenge.
Tasha Krug - Age 27. Currently residing in Seattle, WA with my partner of 3 years and my 2 cats. I'm an automotive engineer and currently work for Canoo, an electric vehicle start-up company. I've competed in the Rebelle Rally 3 times, with last year being the first time competing with Michelle and first time in 4x4 Class. My first year competing, in 2019, my teammate and I took home Rookies of the Year and 3rd Place podium in X-Over class.
Explain the Rebelle Rally to us in your words.
Tasha: "The Rebelle Rally is an 8-day women's off-road navigation competition that not only challenges each competitor mentally and physically, but it also puts your relationship with your teammate to the test. It's the ultimate proving ground for ourselves, our vehicle, and our gear. No GPS, no phones, and no outside assistance for 8 days. All manual navigation with analog tools- maps, compass, plotter, rulers, and roadbooks. It's the most challenging competition I've ever competed in. Each year you compete, you learn something new about yourself and make lifelong friends with competitors and staff along the way."
Michelle: "The Rebelle Rally had been a goal of mine for 7 years. In October of 2022, my dream became a reality. The Rebelle forces you to be at your BEST every day, you have to show up. It tests your determination and the will of each competitor using only maps, compass, and common sense. All electronics are surrendered pre-rally, even the vehicle GPS is disengaged. It requires 100% focus and commitment for the entire Rally. The Rebelle Rally brings together great people, driving great machines and backed by fantastic products that are put through the ringer in the ultimate playground.”
Any goals for the event this year? Challenges you expect to encounter?
Both: This year, our goals are to improve upon our ranking from last year's competition. We've proven our teamwork and capability by ranking 11th overall, out of 52. There are highly competitive and trained professionals competing as well, so ranking in the top 5 is its own badge of honor. In addition to the top-ranked veteran competitors, mental and physical challenges are expected. Terrains are drastically changing from storms and floods in NV and CA, which create additional route planning and off-road challenges.
Describe your vehicle: make, model, etc.
Our competition vehicle is Michelle's daily driver, a 2019 Lexus GX460 appropriately named "Betty White".
Our focus for vehicle prep this year is the interior space, focusing on light, durable, efficient, and easy-to-carry/move equipment, since we're required to carry a spare tire/wheel, tools, recovery gear, camping equipment, and personal clothes/items. We're excited and PROUD to have RUX as a partner to assist with our all-weather storage needs!
In preparing for the 2022 Rebelle Rally, Michelle added the following to assist with ground clearance, vehicle durability, and off-road capability:
- Icon 10-UP GX460 0-3.5" Stage 1 Suspension System
- Falken 33" Wildpeak A/T Tires
- Black Rhino wheels
- dual ARB air compression system
- Expedition One rockers
- MULE roof rack system
- APEX quick release valve stems
- CBI full steel skid plate
- CBI custom Lexus front bumper system
- Warn VR EVO 12-S wench
Describe your favorite feature of your vehicle.
Our favorite part of "Betty" is her "Rugged Luxury", which we've paid tribute to on our vehicle wrap and social media posts as #notyermamaslexus. Creature comforts on the inside while being extremely off-road capable, she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothes.
Best location/adventure you've ever had with your vehicle?
The entirety of the 2022 Rebelle Rally is the best adventure "Betty" has been on. "Out of the 1,600 miles of terrain, one area in particular really stands out. The Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis, CA. For two days, we experienced and tested the capability and confidence of the vehicle, and my driving" - Michelle
Most epic stuck/breakdown/wrong turn?
We're proud to be members of the “NO SHOVEL CLUB" in the dunes and even though we have taken wrong turns, we find our way back with precision navigation and mapping skills.
The most epic breakdown would be during the 2022 Rebelle Rally, when we had a flat tire overnight and didn't realize it until sunrise when we could fully see the vehicle (as it turns out, at 5am, it's hard to see everything with only a headlamp and flashlight!) We've taken this specific morning as a "lesson learned" for this year's Rebelle. By the time we caught the flat tire, it was 10 minutes before we needed to be at the start line and we had some fast decisions to make. On this specific morning, the day started off with a timed “enduro” worth a lot of points (a time-speed-distance "enduro" must be completed within 3 seconds of the calculated time in order to get full points) that would be ~15km. We made the decision that we would air up the tire to see how bad the puncture was. It was a relatively slow leak, so we topped off the air and headed to the start line. We completed the timed "enduro” successfully. At the finish, we pulled over to assess the tire and it was nearly flat again. We needed to change it and FAST! We proceeded to change the 70+lb tire with the spare that we had and completed it within 10 minutes. We had to skip a couple checkpoints to make up for the delay, but we made it back on track and didn't let it shake our confidence for the remaining days of competition.
Any other shout outs? Who else is supporting you this year?
Shout out to Mike Kerby (Michelle's husband), Kevin Sheldon (Tasha's partner), our friends, and family who supported us last year and continue to do so. We are still securing sponsorships for 2023, but so far we have partnerships with RUX, Big-D Construction, and Larry H Miller - Lexus Murray.
We want to thank our sponsors who supported us in 2022 and we're excited to see what 2023 holds for sponsorships. Like other motorsports and off-road activities, the Rebelle Rally requires sponsors to plan and hold the event, while teams obtain sponsors to assist with gear and monetary support to pay for registration, safety equipment, fuel costs, vehicle maintenance costs, camping gear, and other mandatory equipment, as well as post rally repairs if any (tires included).
If you would like to follow or support Team 137 Gritty Up on the Rebelle Rally, or have questions for Michelle and Tasha, you can follow them on Instagram , send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website (www.grittyupoffroad.com).