How about the Rebelle Rally for the ultimate mother-daughter bonding? You’ll have to ask returning team The Benzies, a mother-daughter duo from San Diego who are back for their third Rally in 2020! And did we mention the team is comprised of an Aerospace engineering executive/business owner and Geneticist working in antibody research? Yes, that too.
Please welcome in today’s Team Tuesday, #177 Emily and Chris Benzie aka Team Jeep Thrills!

Hometown/Current Town:

Chris: Eugene, OR/ San Diego, CA
Emily: San Diego, CA/San Francisco, CA

Occupation:
Chris: Aerospace engineering executive and business owner
Emily: Geneticist working in antibody research

What made you compete in the Rebelle Rally this year?
Chris: The Kuhl jacket. I am a sucker for cool swag. And Emily Miller and Jimmy Lewis create the most amazing courses that we can’t resist! And how else can we hang out with the most badass women?
Emily: After the first rally, I was terrified to go for round two. I’d seen what the competition was like as a rookie, and knowing what grit it required was incredibly intimidating. After powering through the rally for the second time though, things felt much smoother, and we were able to really hone our teamwork and skills without being in a blind panic after every Enduro challenge! Knowing we won a Daily Stage last year also really solidified for me that two nerds with no driving background really can do it. For year three, I am so thrilled to see everybody again, and to really see if we can make the third time the charm! Not to mention, the sweet Kuhl jacket was an added motivation. 😉

How did you and your teammate meet?
Chris: I met Emily on a sunny Easter morning in 1996 in a labor and delivery room at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson. It was April 7, in room 7 at 17 minutes to 7 am. My birthday is June 7. Seven is a lucky number for both of us. You can imagine our delight when our randomly chosen Rebelle Rally team number was 177.
Emily: My teammate was always just kind of around, I can’t really recall the day we met. She was a great roommate – she always made me food and weirdly never charged me rent, which was pretty sweet. Sometimes she’d yell at me to take out the garbage or do my homework, but one day I guess she decided I’d be a decent partner for the rally. And here we are!

Tell us about your competition vehicle. Why did you choose it to compete in?

We drive Emily’s 2018 Jeep JK Willys. It was Emily’s first car after graduation from UC Davis and she bought it only 3 months before our first Rally with the intention of running it. We like to compete in the Bone Stock designation because Chris appreciates a well-engineered vehicle used as the designers intended it.
For Emily, she wanted a capable vehicle that wouldn’t break the bank of a recent graduate, so she chose a model heavy on the off-road details and light on the luxuries (because who needs those?) – and thus, we found Willy! Having a two-door has helped us learn to travel lightly in the Rally. Emily would love bigger tires and a lift, maybe next year.

Any other fun facts you would like to add?
Chris: I am a National Park junkie and try to find obscure activities in the parks – like backpacking to a remote cabin inside a Hawaiian volcano.
Emily: 1) My company is on the front line of COVID research extracting and replicating antibodies against coronavirus using blood donations from people previously infected. The antibodies will be used to make a therapeutic for immunocompromised patients who are unable to form their own protective response to COVID. 2) I lived on a boat for four months, and love anything boat or ocean related.