Meet the Rebelle U Instructors

Our instructors are not just competitors, and they aren’t just coaches, they are both. They have experience in both competition and instruction which gives them a well-rounded approach to your learning.

Emily Miller | Chrissie Beavis | Matthew Johnson | Christopher Walker | Chris Benzie | Laura Wanlass

The 2024 Instructors

Emily Miller

Miller is the founder of the Rebelle Rally and Rebelle U training programs. She began her automotive career under the guidance of legendary off-road racer Rod Hall as a team driver. She was the demo driver, coach and manager of the Rod Hall Light Truck Tire Seminars and experimental off-road driving events, producing 15-25 events and sessions per year with focused curriculum and learnings. To date, she has coached over 8,000 people to drive and navigate off-road.

She has numerous wins and podium finishes as a driver and supporting team driver from Vegas to Reno, Baja 1000, Rallye des Gazelles, Carta Rally and other races over her career. With a degree in exercise physiology and kinesiology, Miller reinforces physiologic principles into the athleticism and skills of driving, navigating and endurance competition. And her passion, enthusiasm and encouragement to new students resonates throughout Rebelle U.

Chrissie Beavis

Chrissie Beavis is one of the most successful women rally drivers and navigators. She has earned many stage and rally wins as a performance stock driver and is frequently sought out as a navigator by some of the biggest names in the sport such as Travis Pastrana and Tanner Foust. She is also a former X Games Gold Medalist.

Raised by highly respected parents in the rally world, her experience dates back long before she received her driver’s license. She was an instructor in the Bridgestone Winter Driving School and has been a core instructor with Miller since Rebelle U’s inception. Her attention to detail on curriculum, understanding and reinforcement of vehicle control and dynamics and dedication to learning is felt throughout Rebelle U.

Latitudes, longitudes, coordinates, and how to mark them on a paper map. Not only are they key skills for current and future Rebelles, they are also vital for any adventurer or traveler.

Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson has been a professional driver and instructor since 2006. His motorsports career began with state autocross championships, national class wins in rallying his VW GTI followed by sponsorships and National Production GT championships with Subaru. He took that experience and focused on teaching the arts of driving for manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Mercedes AMG, Maserati, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Toyota etc. and tire companies Bridgestone, Pirelli and Michelin, including the Bridgestone Winter Driving School.

Included in his vast resume of experience is his role on Top Gear, and he is currently a member of the world traveling team for BBC TopGear. He has also produced and performed on car commercials and videos including Ludacris, Will i Am, Matt LeBlanc, Billie Eilish, Alisha Keys, Dax Shepard, Rob Courdry, Clarkson, Hammond, May and others.

Matthew has been with Rebelle Rally since the beginning and also as an instructor for Rebelle U for 6+ years.

Christopher Walker

Chris Walker is a multi-year instructor on Rebelle U and familiar face on the Rebelle Rally. He is the owner of Overland Training Canada – leading provider of high-quality off-road driver and operator training in both the recreational and commercial industries specializing in professional/commercial vehicle operations training, machine operation, vehicle recovery, winter driving, dynamic driving, expedition skills, and commercial certification.

Walker is also the Overland Expo’s Director of Overland Vehicle Training overseeing track builds, trainers and class curriculum.

When Walker isn’t on the rally, Rebelle U or Overland Expo, you can find him working with automakers on press drives, vehicle launch events, consumer ride and drive programs, specialist events, and providing off-road certification and training for industry professionals in a wide range of environments including oil & gas, forestry, mining, military, government, automakers and many more.

Chris Benzie

Chris Benzie is a five-year Rebelle competitor, sitting in the Navigator seat.  For four years, she and her daughter, Emily Benzie, competed in the 4×4 division, where they have two podium finishes.  She also has a first-place podium win in the X-Cross division.  She prefers to compete in the Bone Stock category (“don’t mess with a good thing”) and has taken home the Bone Stock trophy in both divisions.  Starting with the 2023 Rally, Chris works as staff during the Rally and appreciates experiencing the Rally from both sides.  As staff for Rebelle U, Chris teaches navigation skills and how to execute Time, Speed and Distance style events.  She loves to compete in the Rebelle Enduro Challenges and hopes her students will fall in love with Enduros!

Outside of the Rally and Rebelle U, Chris is an aerospace engineer and business owner.  She formed and ran a company that developed and built the large fairings that protect the Orion spacecraft– the spacecraft that will be taking humans, and the first woman, to the Moon on the Artemis program and eventually will take humans to Mars.  It could be said she is a rocket scientist.  Chris sold the business and has since formed a new woman-owned small business leading government contracts to develop next-generation materials for space travel.

Laura Wanlass

Laura Wanlass is a 6x Rebelle Rally competitor, primarily as a driver. She has podiumed three times in the 4×4 division and won three daily stages. As staff for Rebelle U, Laura helps teach map reading and plotting skills, and assists with driving exercises. It is her goal to inspire drivers to perform and be better partners by also learning the navigation side of the event. She also wants competitors to learn to love the sand dunes as much as she does!

Outside of the Rally and Rebelle U, Laura is a partner and practice leader in a large public consulting firm, where she advises executives and their boards on corporate governance, ESG and shareholder engagement. And in her off time, she can be found hiking, dirt biking, or off-roading with her husband, daughter and two dogs.