Thursday, 2 September 2010

Female Rally Drivers After 1950: UK & Ireland, Part II

Rachael Patterson (left) and her navigator, Claire Williams

Emma McKinstry now has her own post, as does Catie Munnings.

Sandy Lawson - Irish driver who first competed in the UK in the 1970s. Her first RAC Rally seems to have been in a Mini Cooper in 1971. Between 1972 and 1975, she entered the same event in an unlikely-looking DAF 55, often partnered by Geunda Eadie. As well as the DAF, she drove a VW Beetle and Toyota Celica in UK and Irish events. She now drives in historic rallies, using an ex-Martin Brundle Toyota Celica converted to rally spec. Research into Sandy's career is hampered by the presence of another contemporary driver with the same name, who is/was a man.

Alison Lock - British historic rally driver with top ten finishes to her name. She rallies Minis exclusively and used the same car for many seasons. Her first class win came in 2002, in the British Historic Stage Rally Championship. She won the Welsh Historic Championship outright in 2005. After that, she managed to contest three rallies in eight days in summer 2006. In mixed historic/modern rallies, her Mini has proved capable of holding its own in its class. She continued to rally Minis from 2009 through to 2011, assisted by several co-drivers. In 2012, she switched to a Citroen Saxo, and in 2013, she used both cars. Her best finish was 42nd, second in class, on the Manx Rally, in the Mini. This arrangement continued in 2014, mainly on tarmac rallies. She drove both a 998cc and a 1275 GT Mini, as well as the Citroen.

Judy Lucas - drove a VW Polo in British National events from 2002 until 2005, starting in the Polo one-make series. In this championship, she scored a few good finishes and vied with Sophie Robinson for the Ladies’ award. She started competing in different cars in the 1990s. In 2005 and 2006, she used different 1400cc cars, a Citroen C2 and a Ford Focus, for BTRDA events. In 2008, she drove an MG ZR. She now runs a rally school. In 2016, she got back to the stages, and drove a Renault Twingo in the Roskirk Stages.

Sonya Mac - a regular on Northern Irish national rallies between 2006 and early 2008, driving two different Ford Kas. She is on a break from motorsport in 2008 due to losing her sponsorship. The biggest rally she entered and finished was the 2008 Circuit of Ireland, although she and co-driver Safron Thomas also tackled the 2007 Lurgan Park Rally. She is better-known as a radio DJ. In 2012, she made a brief return to motorsport as the team captain of an Irish ladies' rally challenge.

Janice Magee – Northern Irish driver who began competing in 2013, driving a Vauxhall Nova. Her first major event was the Turkey Run Tarmac Stages Rally, in the Republic of Ireland, and she was 36th, second in class. For most of 2014, she stuck with the Nova, and recorded class wins in the Dogleap Tarmac Stages and the Glens of Antrim Rally. Her best overall result was 28th, in the Dogleap Stages. At the end of the 2014 season, she swapped the Nova for an Audi Coupe S2, an unusual rally car, and she continued to use it in 2015. She scored a class win in the Circuit of Ireland National Rally, finishing 43rd overall. Later in the season, she swapped back to the Nova, for the Glens of Antrim Forestry Rally. Back in the Audi, she won her class in the 2016 Down Rally, and entered the Circuit of Ireland National event. In 2017, she drove a historic Audi Quattro on the Goodwood Rally Stage. She is from a motorsport family, the daughter of a former rally driver.

Diana Margulies - rallied in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her first international event seems to have been the 1969 RAC Rally, driving a Lotus Cortina. She used the same car in the RAC Rally in 1970 and 1971. Her finishing positions are not forthcoming. Presumably, she competed in events around Britain, as well as the RAC Rally.

Jenna McCann – Irish driver who came to prominence competing in the Junior championship in Ireland. In 2017, she won the Irish Junior Tarmac Championship. She started her 2015 campaign in a Peugeot 106, which gave her a best finish of sixth in the Cavan Stages Junior Rally, but became increasingly reliable. A Ford Fiesta R2 proved more reliable, and gave her two fifth places, in the Clare and Wexford Junior rallies. She was seventh in the championship overall, and the only female driver. A move into the Irish National Championship in 2016 led to a win her class in the Cavan Stages, finishing 47th overall. She finished all ten of her events. She won her first rally in 2017: the Cork 20 International Junior Rally. Her first experiences with rallying came from navigating for her father, James McCann, in 2013.

Amy McCubbin - active in junior rallies in the UK since 2016, when she was fourteen years old. In her first season, she was eleventh in the 1000 Junior Ecosse championship, driving a Nissan Micra. Her best finish was ninth in the ABR Travel Services Junior Rally. In 2017, she improved dramatically, and became a regular top ten finisher, despite swapping her Micra for a Skoda Citigo. Her best finish has been fifth, in the Granite Junior Stages, driving the Citigo. She was seventh in the 2017 Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge.

Ashleigh Morris - has rallied a number of small cars in the UK since 2016. That year, she was second in Class A of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship, driving a Fiat Punto. She has enjoyed the most success in a Ford Fiesta R200, in which she scored her best-ever finish of 21st, at the 2017 Knockhill Stages. She also won Class B at the 2018 Lee Holland Memorial Stages and led the class championship for a while. Ashleigh usually favours asphalt rallies.

Annie ("Andy") Neil (forename sometimes given as Innes) - alongside her navigating sister Chrissie, rallied in the 1950s. Their first international event seems to have been the RAC Rally, driving a Morgan Plus 4, which was given to Annie by Peter Morgan, in recognition of her performance in a trial. In 1955, they entered the Monte Carlo Rally, but retired after a lighting failure on their Standard Vanguard. They drove the same car in the 1956 Monte, but appear to have retired again. The Neil sisters were regulars in Scottish rallies, until 1957, when Annie retired to start a family. Annie had learned to drive during the War, and after her rallying days were over, ran the family pig farm. She died in 2004. Chrissie became a fashion designer. 

Felicity Nicholson - twice a recent winner of the Coupe des Dames in the French historic rally championship (VHC), driving a Lancia Fulvia and a special Lancia Fulvia Fanalone. One of her championships may well have been in 2010. This was the second part of Felicity’s rallying career, after a lengthy gap. She first started competing in the 1960s, and drove a Triumph TR4 in European rallies (the results I found for Felicity seem to have disappeared). She also rallied a BMW shortly afterwards. Later in her life, she was based in France. She died in 2011.

Kasia Nicklin - one of the youngest-ever rally drivers in the UK. She began rallying in 2010 in Junior F1000, aged fourteen. Her car was a Nissan Micra, and her best result was fourth in the Junior class, in the Hall Trophy Stages. In 2011, she continued in the same series and the same car, and was a more consistent top-ten contender, with multiple fourth places. In 2012, she continued in the Junior class, and achieved second places in the Honington and Woodbridge Stages. She was seventh in the junior class. She did three major rallies in 2013, in the Micra. Her best finish was 20th on the Woodbridge Stages, where she won her class. She does not appear to have competed in 2014, but she managed to get out again in the Micra in 2015. Her best result was 24th, second in class, in the Flying Fortress Stages. 

Cherry Osborn - British driver who competed in the early to mid-1950s in Europe, sometimes alongside Lola Grounds. She drove for Rootes, in Triumph and Standard models, as both driver and navigator. 1950 may have been her first year of competition, and she entered the RAC Rally in a Triumph. In terms of international events, she drove in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1956, as a second driver with Lola Grounds and Valerie Domleo, and in the 1955 and 1956 Tulip Rallies.

Grace Owen - rallied a Mini in the British championships in 1997, co-driven by Ali Bohm. The duo competed in club events for a while before and after their BRC run, including hillclimbs. In 2000, they also rallied a Peugeot 106. Grace was involved in rallying outside driving, as a mechanic.

Angela Palfrey - rallied in the 1950s, and is chiefly known for winning the Ladies’ Prize on the 1956 RAC Rally. Her car was an Austin A40, and she was navigated by Aileen Jervis, with Pauline Pither as a third team member. Previously, she had competed in a Morgan 4/4, and is recorded as the winner of the Worcester Motor Club’s Autocross event in 1955. Her married name was Phipps.

Alice Paterson - started rallying at the age of fourteen in 2016. She contested the 1000 Junior Ecosse Challenge and was twelfth overall, driving a Peugeot 107. Her best rally result was thirteenth, which she achieved on five out of her six rallies. She stuck with the same car for 2017 and earned some better finishes; four out of her five rallies have ended in top tens. The best of these was a fifth place in the 5 Star Junior Stages. Both Alice and Amy McCubbin spoke out in the Scottish papers against David Coulthard when he cast doubts on women’s ability to race cars.

Rachael Patterson - began her rally career in 2012, in the BTRDA rally series. Her car is a 1400cc Peugeot 106, and her usual navigator is Josh Davison. She was a finalist in the 2011 LadyQuest rally driver search competition, although she appears to have secured her own sponsors for her campaign. She was fourteenth in the BTRDA's 1400cc championship, second in the ladies' standings and third in the 1400cc class, after nine rallies. Her programme was similar in 2013, and she was second in the 1400cc class. Her best finish was 16th, in the Wales Rally GB National event. She had a less busy season in 2014. One of the highlights was driving on the Goodwood Festival of Speed's Rally Stage, in the 106. She retired from the Tour of Caerwent.  In 2015, she rallied the 106 again, but her season seems to have ended prematurely after the car was seriously damaged during the Harry Flatters Rally. 

Kathy Pegrum - driver and co-driver in the 1970s. She entered the RAC Rally three times. The first time, in 1974, her car was a Peugeot 504. She was navigated by Elma Lewsey, and does not appear to have finished. In 1975, she was 100th overall, driving a Peugeot 304 with Anne Bertram. In 1976, she co-drove for Jim Thorburn, in another Peugeot, a 104. They did not finish. She may also have rallied a Ford Capri in 1975, in British rallies.

Joan Pink - driver and co-driver of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, she navigated for Bronwyn Burrell in a Sunbeam Imp. In 1969 and 1970, she drove a Saab V4 on the RAC Rally, navigated by Frances Cobb and Anne Hope respectively. She rallied in the UK for a much longer period, and may still have been campaigning her Saab in the British Championship in 1975. 

Valerie Pirie – erstwhile secretary to Stirling Moss who raced and rallied in the 1960s, most prominently for his SMART team. The SMART car was a Triumph Spitfire, which she used in the 1964 Tour de France. She also drove for BMC, Alfa Romeo, Standard, Lotus and Ford during her career, as a rally driver and navigator. She was a regular on the RAC Rally in the 1960s and later competed in Europe. In addition, she has managed the SMART and Lola racing teams.

Miss Quarmby - rallied mostly in the UK, in the early to mid-1950s. She entered the 1953 MCC Rally in a Sunbeam-Talbot. She took part in the RAC Rally in a similar car in 1955, although her finishing position is not recorded. The Rootes team employed a number of lady drivers at that time, led by Sheila van Damm and Miss Quarmby may have been one of them. Her skill in correcting a mistake during a hillclimb in the MCC Rally was noted by Motor Sport magazine. Her given name is never used.

Clare Rhodes - winner of the 2005 Silverstone Rally School LadyQuest competition. Her prize was six fully-supported BTRDA and National rallies in an MG ZR, in 2006. As well as stage rallies, she competed in the 2005 Lombard Revival Rally, an endurance event, in the same car, co-driven by BTCC driver Fiona Leggate. She also did some Welsh forest rallies in the car in 2006. A lack of funds has limited her participation since. 

Mandy Roberts (Bowman) - a regular in UK National and International events between 2001 and 2007. Her best result is probably fourth in the Panaround National rally in 2004, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4. She used the same car in the 2003 Evo Challenge. It was later updated to an Evo 5 for further British rallies. Prior to the Mitsubishi, Mandy drove a Peugeot 106, and it is in this car that she won her first BTRDA Ladies’ title in 2001. She won the award again in 2003. She has entered the Wales Rally GB three times: 2005, 2006 and 2007. She finished in 2006 and 2007, with a best result of 66th in 2006.

Colette Rooney - Irish driver who mostly competes in rallies in Ireland. In 2017, she achieved her first top-ten finish, in the Joule Donegal Junior Rally. She was eighth overall and her car was a Honda Civic. This was at least her third season of competition, having campaigned a Vauxhall Nova since 2015. In addition to rallying, she used the Nova in autocross competitions.

Clare Samuel - rallied a VW Polo in British National events. She was BTRDA Ladies’ Champion in 2002 and came third overall in Class N1 of the Silkolene 1400 Championship in 2004. Although her normal car is the Polo, she drove a Renault Clio with erstwhile British Champion Martin Rowe in the 2006 Tempest Rally. Her usual co-driver is Graham Samuel. She began her rally career as a navigator in the late 1990s, and was still competing in 2007. She now lives in Canada and runs a chalet with former UK rally champion Martin Rowe, although they both came out of retirement for the Tempest Rally in 2013. Clare was driving a Renault Clio. 

Cathy Sewart – historic rally driver in the UK, usually in a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, although she occasionally uses more modern machinery. In 2013, she was the BWRDC’s Historic Rally champion, and in 2014, she won her club’s rally driver award, and the BWRDC’s rally award. In 2014, her best outright result was 21st, in the Roskirk Stages, out of 47 drivers. In 2013, she had two top-twenty finishes, a 15th in the Roskirk Stages, and a 15th in the Cetus Stages. Cathy also acts as a co-driver on occasion. In 2015, she entered the MSA Tarmac championship, and broke into the top twenty again. She was fourteenth in the Enville Stages, and the Lee Holland Memorial Stages. Her final championship position was 30th, fourth in class. In 2016, she earned two overall top-ten finishes in tarmac rallies: a seventh in the SMC Stages, and a tenth place in the Adgespeed Stages. In 2017, she signed up for the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship. She was 19th in the Knockhill Stages in the Sunbeam.

Sabrina Shaw - youngest-ever competitor on the RAC Rally, aged seventeen years and two months, in 1998. Her car was a Seat Ibiza and she was 79th. She also drove a Peugeot 106 Rallye in the China Rally in 1999, finishing in 25th place, alongside Chinese navigator Shouli Xu. Later, she acquired an Impreza for the 2000 RAC Rally, but failed to finish. As well as her international exploits, Sabrina competed around the UK in a variety of cars, as driver and co-driver, between the late 1990s and 2003. She was her club’s champion lady driver in 2000.

Georgia Shiels - started rallying in junior competitions in 2012, aged 16. She drove in that year’s Junior Ecosse Challange in Scotland, in a Nissan Micra. In 2013, she moved her competition base to England, starting the year in the F1000 Junior championship in the Micra. She was 28th, seventh in class, in the Lee Holland Memorial Stages. After that, she acquired a Ford Fiesta ST, and started competing in senior events. Her best rally was the Trackrod, where she was second in class N3 and 50th overall.  In 2014, she rallied a Fiat Abarth 500 around the UK, driving in a mix of BRC and club events. Her best finish was 46th, in the Harry Flatters Rally. She was set to compete in the ERC Junior championship in 2015, but this does not seem to have happened. 

Judy Simpson - rallied in the UK in the 1970s. In both 1978 and 1979, she is listed as a starter in the RAC Rally, driving a Ford Escort RS2000 both times. In 1978, she was 60th, but in 1979, she retired with a broken halfshaft. At the same time, she competed in the British championship, supported by co-drivers including Dilys Rogers, Dorothy Selby-Boothroyd and Pauline Gullick. She is Jill Robinson's sister.

Liz Skinner - 2006 BTRDA Junior Drivers' champion in her first year of competition. The same year, she was runner-up in Class A5 and the Ladies’ standings, having finished in the top three for her class five times out of six starts. She won class A5 in the 2007 Wyedean Rally, driving a Nissan Micra, but does not appear to have competed since. 

Cheryl Spencer – British driver who has rallied in Barbados, alongside her co-driving husband, Barry. In 2014, she drove a borrowed Ford Fiesta in the Rally Barbados and the King of the Hill rally, both in Barbados. She was second in class at the Rally Barbados, and 35th overall. In 2015, she drove a Vauxhall Astra, finishing second in class in the King of the Hill event. However, she scored a better overall placing in the Rally Barbados: 57th. Her first attempt at the Barbados rallies was in 2008, and she was 41st in the Rally Barbados. She drove the Astra there in 2009, too. Cheryl only took up rallying late in life, in 2008, when she was already a grandmother.

Nina Sutcliffe – driver and co-driver active in the 1980s. She entered the RAC Rally twice, in 1987 and 1989. Her first attempt, in a Citroen Visa, ended with a lost wheel, but she got to the finish, in 75th place, in 1989, driving a Suzuki Swift. That year, she also entered the Braine-le-Comte 12 Hours in Belgium, in the same car, and was 40th overall. In 1986, Nina took part in a different kind of rally, the Himalayan Rally in India. She drove a Land-Rover with her usual co-driver, Janet Sherwood, and was twelfth. As a co-driver, Nina sat alongside Simon Lloyd in the UK, and Anne Hall in the 1987 Viking Rally.  

Anna Tait - rallied in the UK in the 1990s, in the British Championship and the clubmans' series. Her cars up to 1997 were Skodas, with a Felicia being her vehicle for 1997, but she changed to a Ford Ka in the 1998 season. She ran in two RAC Rallies, in 1997 and 1998, retiring both times. Her best year was probably 1998, where she recorded mid-table positions in class.

Nabila Tejpar – began rallying in 2015, in a 1600cc Proton Satria, after she had finished university. She did three single-stage rallies, and had a best finish of 22nd, in the Wethersfield Stages. At the start of 2016, she took a big leap forward in her career, and entered the British Rally Championship, competing in the Junior championship. Her car was a Ford Fiesta R2. Although it was not her best overall finish, the Circuit of Ireland was probably her best rally; she was fourth in the Junior rankings, and won a European Ladies award for her 43rd place finish. She was eighth in the British Junior championship at the end of the season. Driving the Fiesta, she was British Ladies' Champion in 2017, and fifth in the Cadet class. She entered her first Wales Rally GB and finished in 65th place. Nabila is a third-generation rally driver whose father and grandfather both competed in Kenya.

Annabelle Tennant - "The Gravel Granny" has been competing in Scotland and the rest of the UK since 1986. She won two Mintex class B10 championships in 1997 and 1998, driving a Peugeot 205 GTi. Many of her rallies have been completed in this car, or a Vauxhall Astra. In 2007, she rallied a Subaru Impreza in the Scottish championship, after a break from active competition. Unfortunately, she did not get to compete in 2008 as much as she had planned. She is also involved in motorsport as a marshal and organiser.

Mandy Twynham - rallied a Peugeot 106 in the UK between 2001 and 2005, after taking a break from horseriding due to an accident. She won the 2004 Heart of England Front Wheel Drive Championship. Prior to this, she had earned a series of class wins in BTRDA and National rallies. Despite receiving delivery of an MG ZR for the 2005 National Asphalt Championship, her funding ran out after two events, and she has not competed since.

Carolyn Tyler - driver and co-driver active in the mid-to-late 1960s. Her first major event was the Tulip Rally in 1966. She drove a Mini with Sheila Taylor, and they won the Ladies’ privateer prize. She returned to the Netherlands in 1967, again, in a Mini, but did not finish,  with “A Sleap” as her co-driver. During the same time period, she navigated for other female drivers. She guided Marjatta Aaltonen to 37th in the 1966 RAC Rally, and sat alongside Shelagh Aldersmith in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally. The car was a Mini on both occasions.

Mary Walker - rallied mostly in the UK in the early to mid-1950s. She drove a Sunbeam-Talbot in the 1953 MCC Rally, as part of a three-car ladies’ entry with Tish Ozanne and Miss Sunley. She also drove in the Scarborough Rally. In 1954, she won the Coupe des Dames in the RAC Rally, driving a Triumph TR2. That year, she travelled to Italy for the Stella Alpina in the TR2, but crashed out. Later in the year, she seems to have finished the RAC Rally, but her finishing position is not noted. Her achievements were enough to give her the BTRDA’s Ladies’  Silver Garter award. In 1955, she finished the Monte Carlo Rally in a Standard Ten, with Betty Haig co-driving. Among her trophies, sold in 2016, were two hillclimb trophies and a Team Trial runner-up tankard for the Circuit of Ireland.

Lucy Whitford (Ford-Hutchinson) - competed in Northern Ireland from about 1998, starting in small cars such a Mini in 1998 and a Nissan Micra in 2000. Before that, she was the Ladies’ Autotest Champion of Ireland. She contested a good number of club and national rallies, challenging for honours in class. In 2003 and 2004, she entered the Ulster Rally, a British Championship round, finishing both times. She was 43rd in the Micra in 2003, and 19th in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 in 2004. 2004 seems to have been her last year of competition, although she has done some road rallying in recent years.

Joanna Wickham - has rallied a Subaru Impreza in the UK since at least 2007. In 2007 and 2008, she seems to have mainly competed in Scotland, despite being based in Newcastle. In 2009 and 2010, her programme has taken in more rallies in northern England, including the 2010 Malcolm Wilson Rally. Her finishes are usually mid-field. Her usual co-driver was Guy Wickham, but since 2011, Josh Davidson has sat alongside her. She was fifth in her club championship in 2011. She remained active in northern English rallies in 2012, still in the Impreza, and carried on competing in 2013, including the Border Counties Rally. 

Suzy Wilkes - rallies a Subaru Impreza in British national and club rallies, usually on asphalt and in the North West of England. She has been active since 2015, when she entered three rallies, and finished all of them. She did four rallies in 2016, but her finishing rate was not as good. Her best finish was 31st, on the SMC Stages. She has also trained as a co-driver.

(Image from


  1. Hello. Thank you for posting some information about me, all very true and its nice to know that people have heard of me and some of my results, but there is one small fact that isn't true, I'm male!! Carine Walker

  2. Mr Walker, I'm very sorry. I acted on a dodgy tip-off! Edit coming up...

  3. There was also Dawn Stead, who competed at National level in the UK in the mid 1980's(1986-89) in a Rover 3.5v8 Group A rally Car. She was mentored by Bob Fowden(who was competing at that time in a semi works Rover 3.5v8 at national and international level)She did several club events-mainly stage/forest events. Her last event was the Cartel International Rally, in the UK, which she competed in the 'National' section of the event and came 9th overall and 2nd in class. She was the only female driver to finish the event that year(1988), other ladies in the event, that year, included Louise Aitken Walker.

  4. There's a few ladies missing off this list...
    Sue Rylatt from Wakefield Motorsports Club competed in quite a few road rallies back in the "80's" and not forgetting Jenny Birrell? She competed in national stage events(and some international iirc)There's a few I cant remember the name of now, that were arround in the 1980's/90's at clubman level/national level.

  5. You have missed the following:
    Pauline Wynn
    Anne Hall
    Jenny Birrell (nee Nadin)
    Judy Simpson (Jill Robinson's sister)
    Melanie Fitzgerald-Smith
    Pauline Gullick
    Gillian Fortescue-Thomas

  6. And also:
    Linda Jackson - Team 'Sky Petroleum'
    Liz Crellin - wife of Ron Crellin, Paddy Hopkirk's sometimes co-driver
    Diana (Micky) Margulies - Escort Mexico, etc
    Rosemary Smith - Rootes driver

  7. And to add:
    Victoria (Vicky) Lambert, who rallied an Opel Ascona under her family company's name, Horsemanns of Liverpool.
    Karen Quinworth was mainly a co-driver and also worked for Dealer Opel Team and was the first woman to organise a UK National rally.

  8. Thanks for all the tip-offs.
    To answer: Anne Hall and Rosemary Smith have their own profiles.
    Jenny Nadin/Birrell, with her varied motorsport experience, is listed under "Les Autres".
    I'm investigating all the others, with a view to adding them to the blog!

  9. Can any one tell me who Jenny Birrell's Navigator was please?