If you’ve been dreaming of exploring Mexico’s Gran Desierto Altar—and the pandemic has you pining for a south-of-the-border experience—the Sonora Rally Adventure Raid might be your escape to a world of missions, sand dunes, and tacos.
As a Dakar-style venue, the Yokohama Sonora Rally has emerged as North America’s premier rally raid—a multi-day event that challenges competitor, machine, and terrain. But for those who want to experience the vast reaches of Northern Mexico at a more leisurely pace, organizers have added the Adventure Raid. This guided tour, which traces many of the competition routes, will provide participants with an up-close and personal experience of the flora and fauna, natural beauty, and cultural narration that is Sonora.
The 2021 event will begin just yards across la frontera (the US border) in the riverside town of San Luis Rio Colorado. Heading south, participants will find themselves threading a track through the 1,000-square-mile dune field of the Altar, running endless sand beaches along the Sea of Cortez, spotting centuries-old missions from the epoch of Spanish Jesuit missionaries along the way.
With the pandemic in mind, most bivouacs will be remote and desert-based rather than in towns. Each night, Adventure Raid participants will head to the bivouac where they can mix with teams and experience the camaraderie of international competition. Catering will be provided by renowned celebrity chef Eloy Aluri, and the selection of regional wines and local craft beers is not to be missed.
A special treat this year will be a private night in the dunes. Somewhere along the route, your guide will turn off the motor, set up camp, and fire up the grill for a feast of traditional carne asada with all the trimmings. Many miles from the nearest urban hub, when the sun goes down guests will witness a celestial light show reserved for the gods…or adventurous souls in the Altar. The following day, participants can ditch the GPS and practice their navigation skills utilizing the official tulip-chart road book. The last night will be back in San Luis Rio Colorado for a gala fiesta and awards ceremony.
This year’s Adventure Raid will be led by Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Chris Collard, an internationally recognized journalist and adventurer—you will be traveling in good company. The trip is open to street-legal four-wheel drive vehicles such as Jeeps, Raptors, Land Cruisers, and Tacomas, and includes most meals, hotel stays, and access to all rally activities. Dates are May 9-14, and Adventure Raid registration is limited to 12 vehicles.
For more information go to sonorarally.com.