Sunday, 5 September 2010

Female Rally Drivers After 1950: Australia and New Zealand

Sara Randall in 2001

For more Australian and NZ drivers, please look at the Rally Winners post. Molly Taylor and Emma Gilmour now have their own profiles.

Kim Acworth - rallies a Subaru Liberty in Australia, almost always in Queensland. Her first major result was a fourth place in the 2014 Where’s Woman Rally (which was open to both sexes). She was also seventh in the KCF Rallysport Forest Finale. Of the three rallies she finished in 2015, all were top-five positions, the best being a runner-up spot in the Benarkin Rally. She was fourth in the Manumbar Rally and fifth in the Wowan Rally. Her first Rally Australia entry ended in retirement, however. In 2016, she did not do quite as well, but was seventh in the Benarkin Rally. She managed a seventh in the 2017 Globe Roamer Rally too. At the start of 2018, she swapped seats with her occasional co-driver Michelle van der Wilk for the KFC Short Course Sprint at Glastonbury.

Lee-Anne Barns (Lawton) - has competed in New Zealand-based rallies and national championships since 2001, usually in a Mitsubishi. Some of her best results have come on the James Allen Rally: she was eighth in 2002 and sixth in 2003. She entered the Rally of New Zealand in 2007 and 2005.

Melinda Bergman - rallies a Subaru or a Mitsubishi Lancer in Australia, usually in Queensland. Since 2015, she has been one of the leading drivers in the Queensland Rally Championship. In her first season, she scored two top-ten finishes, a seventh place at the Manumbar Rally and a fifth in the Benarkin Rally. The Benarkin event remained her best one in 2016, when she was fifth again, on her way to ninth in the Queensland championship. Her 2017 season, spent in the Lancer, was affected by non-finishes, but she still managed a strong eighth place in the Wowan Rally. Her 2018 season got off to a great start with a second place in the KFC Short Course Sprint at Glastonbury.

Bronwyn Burrell - mostly rallied in the UK, in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, she drove a Sunbeam Imp in the RAC and Swedish rallies, as well as the Gulf London Rally. By 1970, she had switched to Ford Escort Twin-Cam for the RAC Rally. That year, she also drove an Austin Maxi on the World Cup Rally with Patricia Ozanne and Katrina Kerridge, but did not finish. She used the Escort again in 1971. Her usual co-driver was Robin Morgan. She returned to the historic stages in 2016, well into her seventies, having bought her original World Cup Rally car.

Bethany Cullen - joint winner of the 2016 Rallye des Femmes, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI. She did some other Australian rallies that year, in the same car, and was seventh overall in the Rally of the Bay in August. She also drove in that year’s Rally Australia, and was 28th, with a class win. This was her second Rally Australia; she was fifth in the 4WD section in the 2013 event, driving the Lancer. In 2017, she earned two top-ten finishes in Australian events: sixth in the Caves Classic Rally and eighth in the Rally New England. She is a regular in the Rallye des Femmes.

Jacquiline Dines - Australian driver, active at international level between 1992 and 2001. She participated in nine Rally Australias and two New Zealand Rallies. Her best result was fourteenth in 1993, driving a Mitsubishi Galant. Later, she campaigned a Mitsubishi Lancer. She was also active in the Australian national series.

Cath Donohue – winner of the Rallye des Femmes women’s rally on multiple occasions during the past ten years. She last won the event in 2015, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer. As well as women-only events, Cath is also active in Australian rallies. In 2013, she drove the Lancer in the Australian 4WD championship. Her best rally was the Queensland Rally, in which she won her class, and came fourteenth overall. In 2014, she also drove a Toyota Celica in rallysprints. She won the 2016 edition of the Rallye des Femmes in the Lancer, after it was postponed from late 2015.

Jussara Kokshoorn - competes in rallies and hillclimbs in New Zealand. In 2016, she drove a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V in the Spring Rally and Hammer Rally, finishing the former in 27th place. She used the same car in hillclimbs and rallysprints, which she had been contesting since at least 2014. As well as actually competing, she is active in New Zealand motorsport as an event organiser. In 2017, she did some rally co-driving and entered four rallies as a driver. She only finished one, the Hanmer Rally, due to various car problems.

Rose North – active in rallies in her home state of Victoria, since the 2014 season. Her 2014 car was a Ford Fiesta, in which she was quite competitive in the P3 class. Her best overall result was 24th, achieved in the Marysville and East Gippsland Stages. In 2015, she moved into the P2 class, driving a Hyundai Excel. She was more consistent, and her best finish was a fourteenth place, in the Begonia Rally.  She continued to rally the Excel in 2016, but did not take part in as many events. Her best finish was 22nd, again in the Begonia Rally. She ran a short programme again in 2017, managing one 26th place in the Mitta Mountain Rally. 

Sara Randall (Mason) - now a successful co-driver in New Zealand, but also drove her own car between 2001 and 2005, with some good class placings. She won her class in the 2003 Rotorua Rally and finished the year runner-up in the two-wheel-drive class. She repeated her class position in the following year’s championship, as well as coming second in the Junior category. Her car was a Toyota. As a co-driver, Sara has twice won the New Zealand championship, with Richard Mason.

Vanessa Slee (Evans) - New Zealander who has competed in her home rally six times between 1992 and 1999. Her best finish is 28th, achieved in 1995 and 1999, driving a Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Lancer respectively. She also won Class A5 in 1993, driving a 660cc Subaru Vivio Sedan. She began rallying in 1987 and drove a Datsun 1200, among other cars, in New Zealand, as well as co-driving. She and Lynda Hughes did the Safari Rally together in 1991. She now works in team management.

(Image from

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