Rally racing is a team sport. Christina Fate and Ryan Millen are Team Rally RAV4. They steer their two-wheel drive 2016 Toyota RAV4 SE – with no mechanical modifications – to podiums at rally events across the country. This weekend they head into the championships at Lake Superior Pro Rally in Michigan with 4 Wins and 3 Runner Up finishes total so far this year. They are currently tied for 1st place in the 2WD class and currently sitting in 4th place OVERALL.
We caught up with them in Oregon this summer for a day of mountain biking, race prep and checking out our favorite places to eat in Portland.
Like Yakima, they’re about going places, “It’s a fit,” says Christina. “Toyota reliability aligns with Yakima – durable, issue free, nothing to think about. We’re racing on dirt and logging roads. It’s a different place every single time, and it’s always new. Reliability is essential in the remote areas we race in. Ryan and I appreciate gear you can trust.”
Christina is the co-driver. It’s her job to call notes and let Ryan know what is about to happen moment to moment – a constant chatter delivering awareness of corners, conditions and distances –keep the RAV4 running as fast as possible across the twisting varied terrain (see what it’s like inside the car here).
So, is speed in her DNA? “I don’t think so. I’m more organized – very methodical – and that’s what you have to be to be a co-driver,” says Fate. “It’s about setting the pace. I would never want to drive. It scares me.” So Fate keeps the team on its line and gets them to the checkpoints on time.
And how did Team Rally RAV4 come to be? “I worked with Ryan at his company, Millen Adventures. He got the Toyota opportunity, needed someone he could trust and had good communication with,” says Christina. “We tried it out, and it worked. I guess it worked really well because we got engaged.”
What does she love to do when she’s not tearing down rural logging roads? “Besides riding horses? I love scenery and places, and thanks to the races we get to travel and see new ones – ones we probably wouldn’t see otherwise. I like the newness – seeing something different is really exciting. There’s something very real about it – unnamed roads, thick trees, old houses, local spectators – very exciting. And we take a lot of stuff with us everywhere we go. Ryan, he always brings his bike on his HoldUp. And we have a SkyBox. We carry a lot of stuff.”
The place they do live – near the beach in Southern California – gives Christina and Ryan the chance to chill out and stand-up paddleboard. “We load up our SUPDawg and hit the water,” she says. Adding, “Yakima allows us to take a break and do things we love doing. We’ve got the bike rack, SUP rack, SkyBox, but I have a feeling I’m going to have to wait awhile for a Yakima horse trailer.”