Sunday 12 December 2021

Valkyrie Racing Team Arrives In Antarctica

Renee Brinkerhoff, Her Team and Her Vintage Porsche Taking on Final Frontier and 356-Mile Mission, Spotlighting Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation on Global Levels

After two long years of anticipation, 65-year-old woman racer and philanthropist Renee Brinkerhoff and her Valkyrie Racing team have finally landed in Union Glacier, Antarctica to begin their 356-mile ice trek as a finale to their near-20,000-mile journey which can now boast a 7-continent endurance effort to help stop human trafficking.

For those who have yet to follow the adventure story of one woman, one car and one mission – the ‘why’ for her ‘Project 356 Worldwide Rally’ has become a universal visual for her voice to spread awareness and raise funds to aid less fortunate women and child victims who have been trafficked worldwide – AND, to help end the travesty of the world’s second-largest illegal business -- an unlawful $150 billion business of human trafficking. But it goes much deeper than just a vision, for Brinkerhoff it’s become a humanitarian effort.

Brinkerhoff began racing nearly a decade ago, utilizing famed endurance rallies including Peking-to-Paris, La Carrera Panamericana and the East African Safari Rally to gain credibility – all globally recognized events where she became more than an anomaly by winning podium finishes and taking her vintage car on every terrain possible to showcase her extreme effort for the cause. She has become an inspiration to raise much-needed dollars and to provide resources to fight child trafficking around the globe.

Within her charitable organization, Valkyrie Gives, Brinkerhoff has created a national 501(c)3 foundation that is committed to providing 100 percent of dollars contributed to pre-vetted shelters and NGOs within remote areas including Mongolia, Peru, Thailand, India, and Kenya. All include approved projects that will positively impact the lives of children at risk. Since the Foundation’s inception in 2017, they have raised nearly $500,000 and though they speak of a $1mm mission, their goal is to far exceed those numbers.

“You can’t put a price on the life of one child,” said Brinkerhoff. “These are the world’s children and as we look deep inside ourselves, we know they too are our children. Child trafficking is a pandemic of its own with another name, and the more education we can provide and the more support we can offer, we can help to end something that should have never begun.”

In addition to racing, Brinkerhoff has placed herself on the threshold of direct involvement to call out child traffickers. At first, after she and her daughter Christina, who is also the Operations Manager for Valkyrie Racing/Valkyrie Gives, visited with shelters in third-world countries and contributed by providing education, supplies and other support – but in 2019, Renee was selected by a U.S. NGO to be part of a carefully vetted and select group of volunteer operatives to work on anti-trafficking efforts to rescue and restore victims of sex trafficking including children. 

 According to Renee, these evidence gathering efforts help to build strong cases for local law enforcement around the globe, while placing one in the throes of a very dark and ugly world not many get or want to see.

After two missions in as many years, Renee performed undercover operations alongside law enforcement in both Southeast Asia and South America. And since then, Christina too has been vetted and approved to take on similar roles.

The mother/daughter duo are together once more on the Antarctica expedition, where Christina’s role will be within the support vehicle, along with their videographer Neil Carey and service/technical support leader Simon Redhead, who has been on each Valkyrie Racing endeavor since the team began their worldwide endurance racing venture. Christina, who helps steer the Foundation and is a graduate of the University of Southern California famed film school and a former talent agent, plays a myriad of roles including the team’s photographer and historian, is creating a documentary of the world-record seven continent initiative.

Alongside Renee, in the passenger seat, is her navigator and famed polar explorer Jason de Carteret, a world-record holder in Polar Exploration with more than 50 expeditions under his belt. 

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