The Cactusball Rally; a fast-paced dream come true for 20 teams, and just as many cars. It all began in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Twenty teams gathered at Detail Boss in Scottsdale the night before the rally was to be kicked off to get their car’s racing livery applied. The racing livery for each car included the team name, number, Cactusball Rally logo, and also a short info blurb for a missing Arizona child. Don’t forget, this challenging high-speed race to Las Vegas also doubles as a charity event for the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children.
Livery for the StreetFiends team, however, was not applied to the StreetFiends ’74 Javelin AMX. Due to complications, it was instead applied to our backup vehicle–a BMW Z4. Yes, we were definitely bummed about the absence of the Javelin in the rally, and very nearly caused us to drop out all together, but at the last moment an opportunity arose to use the Z4, so we jumped on it.
Together with my brother Randy, we prepared for the weekend jaunt through the desert. Gopro, camera mounts, DSLR camera, water, radar detector, clothes–we had everything we needed for the trip and then some. At 9:00 AM Saturday morning (1/13/17), we had already arrived at Valley Ho hotel after stopping to get a hearty breakfast on our way to the rally kick off. 9:30 AM marked the beginning of the rally, and all the drivers raced to their cars where their navigators awaited them.
The challenges were interesting, varied, and even sometimes a little goofy. We don’t want to give too many secrets away, but in some cases you’ll find yourself in a pinch for time, running low on gas, or maybe even just running low on energy. This rally isn’t for the feint of heart if you’re in it to win it. Our first day was pretty tough. We did every challenge that was thrown at us, and logged in over 600 miles in one day. A good portion of these miles were up and down challenging mountain curves and through the narrow, winding streets of Jerome, AZ.
Ending in Sedona Saturday night, we drove in as the sun was setting. If you’ve never seen the red rocks of Sedona in the sunset, it comes very highly recommended from us! Later that same night, we had a group dinner with all the teams and organizers of the event. Friends were made, and lessons were learned from our combined experiences on the road that day.
Sunday was all “GO! GO! GO!” Not to be outdone by the previous day, we saw some amazing historic roads and establishments along the old Route 66 in towns like Williams, AZ, where we stopped off for breakfast.
We took a few liberties with the challenges for the day, but ended up stopping at Hoover Dam along the way to Las Vegas for some pictures and an unsettling sense of vertigo. Despite our unscheduled stop at the Hoover Dam and our scheduled stop at Shelby Performance, we still managed to arrive in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in 2nd place!
Final scores however, would be tallied later that night after another dinner; this time at the amazing Wicked Spoon buffet, located inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel. With our challenges completed, and 2nd place finish points tallied, we earned a respectable 3rd place finish! Needless to say, Randy and I were a little surprised with what we had accomplished–especially considering it was our first rally ever.
At the end of the day, we would both love to participate again. Hopefully next time, with a classic American muscle car.