Mailes Chulu Kampeni is a woman of history in Zambia’s Motorsport you may say, if you get to know her story of how she turned a co-driver and again a driver just unexpectedly.
On the weekend of 29th August 2021, Mailes made her debut in the driver’s bucket in Lusaka with her dad Geoffrey Chulu calling notes driving a Subaru N12 at Sarago Motors rally and finished 7th…. guess what, this is what happened and how she joined MOTORSPORT.
Hapasport’s Rob Styles had a chat with Mailes Kampeni Chulu.
Rob ; Who is Mailess Chulu in brief, just a simple background!
Well it’s Mailes Chulu Kampeni now. I just got married and didn’t get time to change my stickers on the car before the rally. I’m a 25 year old civil engineer running a construction company with my husband.
Rob ; where did you get the passion for rallying /MOTORSPORT ??
Mailes ; My dad Geoffrey Chulu raced all my life that’s where I got my passion from seeing my dad doing something he really loves inspired me to go for it.
Rob ; So when did you start rallying as in co driving in particular ??
Mailes; My first and only attempt of co driving was this year when my dad needed a navigator and he didn’t have one so the team and the sponsor Blacksmith racing team said I should do it, and I had no idea on how even to navigate but at least my uncle Lastone Chulu was helpful and taught me how to go about the time cards, and it was a successful rally we finished in third place. I think it was a good start to finish on podium position.
Rob ; What was your best moment as you co-drive and the worst maybe??
Mailes: The best most was definitely being able to tell my dad what to do for the first time in my life. And coming out third obviously …. she laughed off.
The worst moment was definitely the night before the idea of messing up, because so overwhelming I was literally shaking but my husband and my uncle helped me through my anxiety.
Rob ; So where did you get the idea of Seating on the steering ??
Mailes ; “The team yet again”….as she laughed. Okay I had always wanted to rally but I didn’t think it would happen this soon. They only told me Sunday before the rally that I would be racing and I had never driven a rally car before or driven a gravel like that. So I only drove the rally car once before the rally and then one the rally itself.
The team is fond of throwing me under the bus”…. laughed off jokingly again.
But I guess it’s because they see what I can’t see in myself.
Rob ; How was your experience in the cockpit as a driver for the first time ?? Did dad handled you well not to make mistakes??
Mailes ; With a laughter…. I actually lost control in reconnaissance and I crushed into a shrub and lost the side mirror on my dad’s Hilux. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be speaking honestly. Everytime I thought I had made a mistake, but he said I didn’t which was a plus. But he complained saying that I wasn’t listening.
Rob ; Who is idle figure in MOTORSPORT ??
Mailes ; Azim Tickley, He’s been in the sport for so long and you see he doesn’t do it to win but he does it for the fun of it. Personally I’d saw my Dad Geoffrey CHULU and Mujo Simakoloyi.
But you really can’t put it one person everyone shines in there own light. Some are very clean like Lastone Hamoonga, some are good at flick round corners like Farook Ticklay and Mujo Simakoloyi so you can’t put it on one person.
Rob ; And where do you see your self in future of your Motorsport career ??
Mailes ; My aim right now is just to get better and better.
Rob ; So should we expect you in Zambia international rally still as a driver ??
Mailes; In the Subaru N12 yes you should though I’m currently on the search for a new navigator see that my dad’s racing.
Rob ; Won’t changing a co-driver affect your performance you think??
Mailes ; Yes it will because with dad I was so scared of messing up so without him in the car I think I will push harder.
Rob ; And by the way what’s your favorite rally car brand ??
Mailes ; Subaru definitely I’m old school so to be specific the gc8.
Robs ; And lastly you can give your remax to your fans, sponsors and well wishers, maybe a word still to the young talents who wants to join MOTORSPORT especially women
Mailes; I would like to thank God first because without him none of would have been possible. And I love to thank my husband for constantly reminding I’m able to do anything I put my mind to. My dad and the entire blacksmith racing racing too for pushing me hard when I didn’t believe in myself. The fans have been amazing I didn’t expect that much support from them it was so overwhelming thank you for coming out to support us.
And the women out there you can do everything you put your mind to. In words of Kalenga Kamwendo “the sky is not the limit it is the playground.”
Thank you to all our readers,.. Hapasport will be in Zambia for the international rally of Zambia (ARC round 4) courtesy of Gomes Haulage. Dont forget to follow us on Twitter and to subscribe to our YouTube channel Rob Hapasport.