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2017 Mazda Adventure Rally: Drop tops, challenges, and charity

They say giving is better than receiving and in my experience, few reactions provide us with more pleasure than seeing someone’s face light up when they receive a thoughtful gift. Mazda Canada decided back in 2013 that they wanted to give, and give back. Rather than simply making out cheques to charitable organizations, they chose to turn a generous gesture into a wild, fun-filled adventure where everyone wins.

2017 Mazda Adventure Rally

For three out of the last four years, Mazda has held Adventure Rallies in various parts of the US and Canada. They typically last over a four-day period, cover a thousand or more kilometers and are completed in one of Mazda’s latest cars. The event is reserved for Canadian Automotive Media and when the invitations to attend are sent out, the destination and car details are purposefully left out to enhance the suspense.

This year’s event was broken down into seven sections where the goal was and always is to accumulate the most points and take the big prize. The stakes are high, as Mazda will donate to charities of our choosing. The 1st place team gets $10,000, the 2nd $2,000 and 3rd, $1,000. Points are awarded for successfully completed challenges explained in our Road Books and they consist in spotting signs and filling in blanks, a fuel-economy trial, and identifying odd objects, to name a few.

The 2017 edition of the Mazda Adventure Rally brought us to the lovely Muskoka region north of Toronto and, as though this wasn’t good enough news, we would be driving Mazda’s new super-fantastic 2017 MX-5 RF. I recently attended the launch of the car in Southern California, in San Diego to more precise. The warm weather and beautiful roads fit the car perfectly, and I loved it. This time however, the ambient temperature barely hovered above freezing and all the cars were shod with winter tires. This was a very different backdrop for the car.

As you might expect, the MX-5 performed impressively well regardless. Charles and I agreed that the top was to remain stowed for the entirety of the drive, which it did. Unfortunately, this decision likely hurt our fuel consumption average but we have no regrets!

2017 Mazda Adventure Rally

As we are (or were) both rookies, our mid-pack placement after Day 1 was encouraging. Despite a few frustrations on Day 2, we got the highest score. Day 3 was intense, to say the least as the slightest mistake could easily upset the standings. Charles and I were too hasty at times and drove past a few markers, missing out on precious points. By the end of the day, we were once more mid-pack.

The final scores were extremely tight. Only 2 points separated 7th from 2nd and we ended up tied for 3rd. Because of our less-than-steady scores, Rallying rules were applied and we dropped to 4th. Even so, Mazda charitably agreed to award us with a $1,000 donation that will be handed to the Breakfast Club of Canada in NetMedia360’s name.

We could not be happier as our faces were beaming when we got the news. Thing is though, now we need to return to the event next year and claim the big prize.

Finally, we must say a humongous thank you to Mazda Canada for putting on such an incredible event and for their generosity.


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