Tierra del Fuego, Chile. With a co-driver named “Chicken Breast” and a Suzuki not found at home, US Rally Champion Wyatt Knox entered a race most Americans have never heard of, the Porvenir Rally in the southern tip of South America. The adventure began with a flight to Patagonia followed by a ferry ride across the straight of Magellan, but not before a tour of the some of the most beautiful land in the world.
This began with a feast of locally raised beef and lamb cooked in the classic Asado style – seasoned with sea salt and cooked over a variety of woods on an open grill. The next day Knox went to “The End of the World” which is the farthest south you can travel in the Americas without a boat. Very fitting as the team would actually travel farther south by boat, with the race cars, in the coming days.
That night the team dined on fresh seafood accompanied by Chilean wine and later Pisco while they tackled their language barrier. Wyatt spoke little Spanish and his co-driver, Chicken Breast or really Pechuga, spoke no English. But that was the easy part of the journey. Before the ferry ride to Tierra del Fuego for the race, the team spent a day in the garage re-prepping the cars. They changed the Suzuki engine to meet rules for this particular race, checked and re-checked both cars, and assembled spares and tools for the trip across the Strait of Magellan.
The race would be composed of six high speed Special Stages around the island of Tierra Del Fuego, connected with normal speed transit sections on the open road. Knox and Pechuga started the morning strong, with a 3rd place finish on the first stage despite neither of them speaking the same language.
The country is so beautiful it’s almost distracting to race there. “The coastline, the scenery… There’s wild flamingoes and loads of other birds and wildlife running around… it’s like racing through a National Geographic show, your eyes and brain want to check it all out and you really have to fight that instinct.”
Third place was unfortunately the best position that Knox and Pechuga would see at Rally Porvenir. “I came over a crest a little too hot, and the car jumped into the air in a way that I wasn’t really expecting. We landed hard on the nose, and broke an engine mount.” It was impossible to continue, as the radiator had also been damaged. “Sure, it’s disappointing after coming all this way, of course.” Knox says. “But at the end of the day, that’s rally.”
With seasons in Patagonia reversed, Knox hopes to return mid-August for a snow rally on Tierra del Fuego with a proper video crew to document the trip. “Everybody here was amazing. The hospitality, the food, the scenery… I’ll be coming back for sure.” Some call it an adventure of a lifetime, but these trips seem to happen a few
times a year for Wyatt Knox. You can stay current on Knox’s upcoming travel’s through his facebook page or personal website (links below)