SAN DIEGO, CA /JULY 31, 2020 – With four months to go until the Rebelle Rally, a 10-day women’s off-road navigation rally traversing the California and Nevada deserts Rebelle Rally Team #146, “Team Ponderosa,” is excited to announce the honorary sponsorship of Athena Racing to raise awareness of their STEM education nonprofit.

Team Ponderosa practicing for Rebelle Rally

Athena Racing just wrapped their inaugural e-learning summer fabrication FABcamp and is eager to announce the Drive-a-Thon fundraiser event that will assist in providing online programs for female students in middle and high school free of charge.

During this women-only off-road navigation rally, Team Ponderosa will lead a fundraising effort with the goal of raising $10,000 to directly benefit Athena Racing’s 501c3 non-profit mission, with proceeds earmarked for creating robust online programs offered completely free to participants. The Drive-a-Thon will raise money via commitments made per mile driven and checkpoint crossed that Team Ponderosa achieves during Rebelle Rally.

The seed for the partnership was planted in February of 2020 after Team Ponderosa navigator Sara Swenson met Athena Racing founder Loxley Brown at a networking event in San Diego. Coincidentally, it was at the CxO Forum hosted by Athena, a women’s STEM advocacy organization in San Diego – yes, two separate, local organizations — Athena and Athena Racing — that share the name Athena and the spirit of wisdom, courage, inspiration, strength, and skill! 

“We’re very thrilled to see Athena Racing, a local organization, doing so much for promoting young women in motorsports, and in all areas of STEM education and skill development,” said Team Ponderosa driver Erin Vogel. “It’s incredibly exciting to be able to partner with them and provide yet another aspect of technical education that I’m sure many women in our generation wish they’d been able to access.”

Athena Racing is ecstatic to be an honorary sponsoree at this year's Rebelle Rally

As the shadow of COVID-19 began to loom earlier this Spring, Athena Racing quickly pivoted from the inaugural race team of five young women to offering free training courses online. This included a free summer fabrication camp (FABcamp) that used a distance learning model to engage female students from across the United States.

FABcamp provided, and will provide going forward, interactive instruction through the lens of fabricating a drift trike, built from the ground up and made from spare parts and scrap metal. In addition, FABcamp featured prominent guest appearances by well-known men and women in motorsports and the automotive industry. As this was a program designed for students, fun competitions and networking were among the favorite topics covered by our girls. 

“The girls attending our camp are engaged, excited, and curious. Our instructors and guest speakers have watched them grow over the month from not knowing the names of tools and car parts to eagerly answering the questions. The assignments that they are completing makes learning fun and the parents are pleased to see their daughters taking such a keen interest in subjects that can expand their STEM knowledge and essential life skill set,” said Athena Racing Founder & CEO, Loxley Browne. To kick-off the partnership, Team Ponderosa announced the partnership on the camp’s last day and – a surprise that delighted this group of future engineers, drivers and technicians.

The two organizations will then be presenting a series of free online classes during August, September, and October to share in the Rebelle Rally prep and training.  Sara, Team Ponderosa’s navigator, is excited to share her love of maps and navigation with the Athena Racing students. “I personally and professionally benefited from learning how to read maps early in life and, combining that with college statistics, was able to land a dream job out of college that combined maps, math, and business for a national retailer.  Athena’s mission and students provide a great platform for us to share our experiences and knowledge to encourage the next generation of women.”   

Combining Sara’s extensive career as a female leader within the male-dominated tech industry and her background with geospatial analysis and navigation both on land and water sailing, along with Erin’s experience as a pro-level sportscar racing driver and female business owner, create a unique and very relevant connection with Athena Racing’s founder, Loxley, whose primary objective is to motivate and educate the next generation of women automotive superstars with career development and essential life skill training.

Based on this solid foundation and the shared love of competition, Team Ponderosa and Athena Racing hope to foster a continuing relationship above and beyond this year’s partnership that will inspire many young women to pursue their skills and dreams.

About Athena Racing
Athena Racing is a STEM Education extracurricular program for young ladies in high school and gap year who are pursuing careers in the Automotive, Motorsports and Transportation industries.

In April 2019, founder Loxley Brown began thinking of how she could turn a love of cars and racing into a team – a movement – a way of changing the status quo for young girls. Her first pitch at lunch with “the guys” resulted in heads nodding, more introductions being made, and a list of donors and sponsors being drafted. The race to the start line has been in full throttle ever since. Athena’s team of driving instructors and industry experts are paramount to the learning experience provided in this intensive online training program. They bring experience ranging from the racetrack to the board room to instill the necessary fundamentals for a strong, hands-on STEM curriculum.

Athena Racing is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization #84-2096687. Your donation is tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Visit to learn more. 

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About Rebelle Rally

About the Rebelle Rally
The Rebelle Rally is the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the United States. Blending the love of driving with the ultimate challenge of precise navigation, the Rebelle tests the skills of its drivers and navigators over 8 days of competition. It is not a race for speed, but a unique and demanding event based on the elements of headings, hidden checkpoints, time, and distance, using only maps, compass, and roadbook.

The Rally covers more than 2,000 kilometers of stunning terrain across the Nevada and California desert. Nearly 100 teams of women who share an adventurous and competitive spirit will drive and navigate their way to checkpoints across the American West. And best of all, they get to leave their cell phone, computer, GPS, & headaches behind.  It’s all about THEM. And their endless abilities.

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About Team Ponderosa
Sara and Erin first teamed up in January of 2020, after both expressing an ardent interest in competing in the 2020 Rebelle Rally. When introducing the idea, Sara stated it this way: “Well, I know how to find the most efficient route from Point A to Point B, and you know how to drive that route really, really fast.” Team Ponderosa’s vehicle will be a 2019 Jeep Rubicon, which they are working to outfit for the Rally in between fun and challenging training sessions.

Erin Vogel, the Driver, has been racing cars since childhood and is currently competing for the Flying Lizard Motorsports racing team. She is a fourth-generation owner and Vice President of Vogel Properties, Inc., a real estate firm that specializes in the management and development of industrial rental properties in Southern California.

Sara Swenson, the Navigator, currently is the VP of Product, working with top brands in technology and recreation. Her background includes geo-spatial analysis, complex optimization modeling, and combining process and technology to solve customer needs. When not working, she is mapping her next overland route to explore more of our National Lands.

If you are interested in sponsoring this powerful team, contact them at

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