Sunday, 5 September 2010

Female Rally Drivers Before 1950: Part II


Lucienne Radisse, as an actress

Morna Vaughan now has her own profile.

Marie-Jeanne Marinovitch - rally driver from Russia who was active in the 1930s. She won the Monte Carlo Coupe des Dames in a Ford in 1935 and a Matford in 1936, with Louise Lamberjack and Hellé-Nice as her navigators. Earlier, she had competed strongly in the Paris-St. Raphaël Rally in a Voisin. She is almost always credited as "Madame Marinovitch".


Katherine (Kate) Martin - best-known as the wife of Lionel Martin, and one of the early directors of the Aston Martin company. She drove a Wolseley Hornet in the 1932 Alpine Rally. Her first trophy seems to have been a third in the Coupe des Dames of the 1933 Monte Carlo Rally. Her car was a Hillman. In that year’s Alpine Rally, she co-drove for her husband, in his Humber. Katherine had raced a number of cars from the mid-1920s onwards, including a Riley and an early Aston Martin, which she used in hillclimbs. She was an astute businesswoman, whose interests included a lime quarry, which is still part-owned by a trust in her name.

“Mademoiselle Mertens” (or Mertëns) – Belgian driver who competed mainly in France, in the 1920s. She was second in the 1925 Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Lancia Lambda. This remains the highest-ever finish for a female driver. Later, she took part in the women’s races and rallies that centred on Paris in the late 1920s. She was a regular at the Journée Féminine de l’Automobile, although not one of the winners, and took part in several of the early runnings of the Paris-Saint-Raphaël Rally. Again, she was not among the class winners. No biographical information about her is readily available, and her given name is never used.

“Miss M.V. Milne” - drove in rallies and trials in the 1920s and 1930s. Between 1926 and 1928, she is recorded as an entrant in trials in an Austin Twelve. Some of these appear to be Women’s Automobile Sports Association events. Later, in 1932, she appears as a rally driver, although she may have begun this earlier. That year, she drove in the RAC and Scottish rallies, in an Austin. This was replaced by a small Armstrong-Siddeley in 1933, in which she was 74th in the RAC Rally. She also entered the Scottish Rally again. She disappears from the entry lists after that. Her given name is never used.


Hélène Morariu-Andriewitsch – early rally driver who competed just before the First World War. She was the first woman to enter the Alpine Trial, in 1912. Her car was a Puch. Unfortunately, she retired on the fifth stage, after hitting a rock. In 2013, she drove the Puch again, competing under her married name of von Stamati-Morariu. She appears to have finished, but not win any of the awards. Away from motorsport, Hélène studied philosophy.

Aileen Moss - British trials and rally driver in the 1920s and 1930s. She often drove a Marendaz Special, but sometimes used other cars, such as the MG Midget she drove in the 1933 Brooklands Rally. The Marendaz was preferred for that year's RAC and Scarborough rallies. Aileen is, of course, the mother of Pat Moss-Carlsson and Sir Stirling Moss.


Lady Margaret Oldham - rallied a Vauxhall around the UK in the early 1930s. In 1932, she took part in the RAC and Scottish rallies. The following year, she managed to finish the Scottish Rally. Her usual start point was London.


Dorothy Patten - British driver who mainly competed in rallies. She drove a British Salmson in the 1936 RAC Rally and the 1937 Monte Carlo Rally. The same, or a similar, car, also finished the 1938 Monte. She was named as a car entrant for R.E. Dorndorf's Peugeot in the 1939 Sydenham Plate. Later, she became the Countess von Dorndorff.

Billie Reece - entered the RAC Rally in a Ford in 1932, starting from Liverpool. She is also recorded as a finisher in the 1933 Ulster Rally. Her car was a Riley this time and her start point was London.


Jean Robertson - entered her first rally in 1932. She drove overland to Monte Carlo from Australia with Joan Richmond, as part of a group of Riley drivers, and was 19th in the Light Car class. She also entered the RAC Rally in the Riley. After her motorsport adventures in 1932, she does not appear to have competed.

Lilian Roehrs (Röhrs?) - competed in European rallies in the 1930s. She drove a Hanomag in the 1931 Coupe Internationale des Alpes and a BMW in the 1934 event. Her navigator in 1934 was Rembach.


Lilian Roper - competed throughout the 1920s and 1930s in the UK. Her first major achievement was the Shelsley Walsh Ladies' Hillclimb record in 1923, driving an AC. Later, she was a regular participant in rallies in the UK. In 1932 and 1933 she used an Armstrong-Siddeley. This was changed for a Triumph in 1936, then an MG VA for the 1938 and 1939 seasons. She does not appear to have competed abroad.


Marie Seeliger – competed in the 1929 Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Mercedes-Benz. She started from Berlin. Starting from Stavanger in Norway this time, she also drove the Mercedes in the 1931 Monte, and seems to have finished. Little other information seems to exist about “Frau Seeliger”. Her title suggests that she was German.

Eva Stackelberg - first seems to have competed internationally in the 1932 Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Hupmobile. She drove the same car in the 1934 Monte, again starting from Umeå.


Eve (Mrs C.S.) Staniland - did at least one season of rallying in the 1930s. She drove a works Riley in the 1932 Monte Carlo Rally, finishing tenth in the Light Car class. Margaret Allan was her navigator. It was presumably the same car that she used to take part in that year's RAC event. Mrs Staniland's given name is not often given.


Muriel Stanton - rallied in the UK and Europe in the 1930s. She first appears on the entry lists in 1932, driving a Riley in the RAC Rally. She returned to the event in 1933, in the Riley, and was 99th, starting in Harrogate. She entered the Riley into the Monte Carlo Rally in 1934, starting at Umeå, and was 48th. This seems to have been her last major rally.


Lady Patricia Waleran - entered British rallies in the early 1930s. She is recorded as an entrant in the 1933 RAC Rally, driving an Alvis. She stopped competing in 1934, after her divorce from her husband.


“Miss EV Watson” - rallied in the 1930s. In 1932, she drove a Wolseley Hornet in the RAC Rally, and an Invicta in the Scottish Rally. She used the Invicta in the 1933 RAC Rally too, and was 45th. Driving a Bentley, she won her class in the 1935 RAC Rally. She disappears from the entry lists after this, at least under that name.


Joyce Watson - rallied in the 1930s. She drove a Riley in the RAC and Scottish rallies in 1932. The following year, in an Aston Martin, she was seventh in the Light Car class of the Scottish Rally. After this, she disappears from the entry lists. She may have been related to the Miss Watson above.


Joan Weekes – drove in rallies and trials in the 1930s. She first appears in 1932, driving a Salmson in speed trials at Lewes and Brighton, and winning her class. She also drove a Ford V8 that year, in which she won the Ladies’ Cup in the London-Gloucester Trial. She continued to trial both the Salmson and the Ford, with great success in her class. In 1934, she competed in the RAC Bournemouth Rally, although in which car, it is not quite clear. She won a Second Class award in the Brooklands Rally in 1936, driving a Ford.

Monica Whincop - competed shortly after the Second World War, in the UK. Her most high-profile appearance was in the International Sportscar race at Gransden Lodge in 1947. She won the 1100cc class in her Fiat Balilla. That year, she also drove in the Brighton Speed Trials, presumably in the same car. Photographs exist of her driving at Shelsley Walsh, but no results or dates have come to light. She may have been driving her husband Geoff Whincop’s Bugatti T51.


Violet "Midge" Wilby - rallied a number of cars during the 1930s. In 1933, she was 51st in Class Two of the RAC Rally in a Wolseley Hornet, and she used the same car on the Scottish Rally. Later, she used an Armstrong-Siddeley model and is recorded as a participant in the 1936 RAC and 1937 Monte Carlo rallies. She was sixth in the Monte Carlo Coupe des Dames. Shortly afterwards, she became heavily involved with Atalanta cars, as a patron, company director and works driver. She drove an Atalanta on the 1939 Scottish Rally.


Stella Zagórna – Polish driver active during the 1930s. She competed in the Monte Carlo Rally three times, in 1936, 1937 and 1939. The first two times, she started from Bucharest, and drove a Chevrolet. She was 24th in 1936, and in 1937, 21st overall, in a rally of high attrition. In 1939, she changed her start point to Tallinn, still in the Chevrolet, but did not make the finish, having crashed into a telegraph pole just before reaching Monte Carlo. She was unhurt, and returned to rallying in the summer, entering the Liège-Rome- Liège Rally. Unfortunately, she had another accident and ended the event in a ditch.

(Image source unknown)

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