Sue's former car, in action at Croft
Sussex lady Sue Jeffery's main discipline is rallycross, the invented-for-TV racing formula that pits competitors against both rough and tarmac surfaces. The cars are powerful; up to 700 bhp, and the races are short and fiercely competitive.
Sue's first forays into motorsport were mixed-surface club Minicross races in 1991. Like so many racers in many disciplines, the Mini proved a good starter car for her. In 1994 she broke into the top ten of a championship for the first time, when she came tenth in the Grass Minicross championships. Grasstrack racing is one of the most popular entry-level motorsports in the UK.
A move up to rallycross proper beckoned in 1995, still with the Mini, and Sue was up there with the best of them. She ended the season in fourth place. The following year she swapped her Mini for a more powerful Talbot Sunbeam in the now-defunct Colway class. She was sixth in the Croft track's Colway championship. it was now time to branch out a little more and the next season was a vintage one. She was fourth in the BTRDA's National Colway Championship and won the Lydden Colway competition outright, making her the first woman to win a rallycross crown in the UK.
Her career was really progressing, and for the 1998 season she purchased an ex-Rolf Neilson European Rallycross-spec Porsche 911. She was now ready to take on rallycross's biggest class: Supercars. It was another female first, as no woman had ever attempted Supercar competition before. Speeds in this class are high and this is where the established stars like Dermot Carnegie and Pat Doran ply their trade.
After a learning year, Sue was fourth in Supercars in 1999, after some very strong performances. As well as being the only woman she was also the highest-placed English driver in the division. She sat the following year out while she and partner Barry Stewart worked on developing the car. (Barry also drives it on occasion). It is capable of running on both two and four-wheel drive. For her return, Sue moved down to the Modified division in 2001, where horsepower is slightly lower, but competition is still intense.
The Modified campaign was being fought on two fronts - the BRDA National Rallycross championship and the BARC Championship. Sue was competitive in both, and came away from the season with a second and third in class respectively. For 2002, the multi-pronged attack continued and she was second in class in BRDA again, as well as thirteenth out of 67 in the overall standings for all classes. She also tackled the BTRDA series and was eighth in Class One, the top class for Modified cars over 1650cc.
In 2003, Sue was everywhere. She improved on her BRDA scores and came eighth overall, with the Porsche now back to two-wheel drive permanently. She was seventh in the BTRDA standings and third in the BARC points, with an overall class win. The MSA British Rallycross Championship had been resurrected the previous year and Sue entered the Blyton round. She came thirteenth in a large, mixed Supercar and Modified field. Throughout the year the Porsche had always made at least the "B" Final or better, apart from one round where Sue had to settle for fourth in the "C" Final. The system of small heats and multiple finals in rallycross means that a driver has several chances of qualifying for the "A" Final or the mixed-class Superfinal, which award the most points.
After thirteen years of rallycross, Sue decided on a change of tack for the 2004 season and switched to circuit racing in the Uniroyal Fun Cup series, a set of endurance races for Audi-powered Volkswagen Beetle silhouette cars. She became part of the all-female CO Racing team, alongside drivers Natalie Tomsett, Claire Mayo, Rebecca Morrell and Becky-Beth Cox, plus female engineers and managers. The team competed in one race, and Sue hoped that it would lead to others, and maybe a switch to full-time circuit racing.
I have been unable to track down any more details of the Uniroyal race and it seems that Sue herself has not been active in motorsport in 2005. She remains involved through administrative work for the BRDA.
(Image from www.retrorallycross.com)