Try as we might, we couldn’t get Mazda to give us any clues about the 2014 Mazda Adventure Rally; where we were going, what we’d be driving—the best we got was a weather report so we could pack properly for the trip.
Well, if there’s ever been a better use of the “good things come to those who wait” adage, I can’t think of it now, as I sit typing in my hub for the rally, the Brasstown Valley Resort, amongst the Appalachian Mountrains, in Young Harris, GA.
As we touched down in Chattanooga, TN at the beginning of day one, there they were, glistening in the Tennessee sun: 10 Mazda MX-5s, or as they’re still called down here, Miatas.
It’s fitting, this being the 25th anniversary of the car, but both my drive partner, Vincent Aubé, and I thought it too good to be true when we first began considering what we may be driving. We had a feeling it wouldn’t be an SUV—we competed in those last year. Maybe the Mazda6? Or a Mazda3, perhaps? We knew we had to drive manual, but that only eliminates one car from Mazda’s entire line-up.
Nevertheless, there it was; a 2014 MX-5, finished in Dazzling Crystal White Metallic paint. We knew it was ours because our names were literally plastered right on it. This was no dream. This was it.
The serpentine roads of the Appalachians are our playground for three days; we’ll drive them and face numerous challenges thrown our way by Mazda and the good folks at Vehicle Dynamics Group, all in the name of winning the grand prize: $10,000 for the Kids Help Phone and Jeunesse, J’écoute charities.
We’ve already endured daunting downpours, navigated around a fallen tree and had some rear-wheel drive fun on a loose gravel road—and that was just on the way from the airport to our hotel.
We’ve been assured that it only gets crazier from here, and to back it up, Mazda has provided us with a survival kit that includes expected stuff like granola bars and sunscreen, but adds motion-sickness tablets and a sick bag, for good measure.