Saturday, 11 September 2010

"Les Autres", 1950 - 1980

Patsy Burt in her McLaren-Oldsmobile

During the revival of Speedqueens, I came across a number of drivers who did not fit well into the categories I had chosen for the site. Some of them had competed in several different disciplines, making it hard to place them in one. Others raced in slightly obscure disciplines, or in those I had decided not to cover fully.

In time, some of these entries may be moved to "better homes". Below is a list of jills-of-all-trades, non-US stockcar racers, speed eventers and entrants in events like the Tour de France, where it was unclear what their normal category was.

This page has been split chronologically: to see "Les Autres" after 1980, click here. Pat Coundley now has her own post, as do Gloria Castresana Waid and Judy Charlton.

Katja Ajak (Stockhausen?) - enigmatic driver active in Germany in the early 1950s. She drove a BMW-engined Condor in the German Formula 3 Championship in 1951, finishing one race at Hockenheim. She is also pictured as a driver in the Baden-Württemburg rally that year, although the model of her car, her navigator’s name and her finishing position are not known. In 1952, her name reappears as an entry into the Glockenspitz hillclimb, driving a Scampolo. After this, she seems to disappear from the scene.

Jennifer Birrell (Nadin) - British sports and saloon racer of the 1960s and 1970s. She started motorsport through rally navigation, for Pat Moss among others. She also drove in some rallies herself, including a run in the RAC Rally in 1966, driving a Hillman Imp, and a trip to the 1967 Monte in a Ford. As a circuit driver, she was second in the 1967 Formula Vee Championship in her first season of racing. Later, she was part of the all-female Ring Free Oil Team for the 1971 Sebring 12 Hours, with Rosemary Smith and Janet Guthrie. They did not finish. She still entered rallies, using a Simca for British events between 1973 and 1974. In 1975, she finished the Spa 24 Hours in a Triumph Dolomite, with Christine Beckers and Marianne Hoepfner, as well as racing a Hillman Avenger in British Touring Cars.

Christina Boulay - campaigned a Renault-Alpine A108 in France in 1963 and a Glas 1204 TS in 1964, including the Tour de France Auto. She did not finish on either occasion. Her co-driver was Michel Legourd in 1963 and Jean-Francois Piot in 1964.

Monique Bouvier - owner and driver of a Dyna Panhard in the mid-1950s, active in France at the time. Her biggest event was probably the 1957 Mille Miglia, in which she co-drove the Panhard with Annie Soisbault, although they did not finish, due to mechanical problems. That year, she also did some circuit racing with Annie, finishing second to her at a promotional race meet for Esso at Montlhéry. Previously, she is known to have participated in an Economy Run with Louisette Texier, and may have done some other rallies with Louisette, or one of the group of French lady drivers which included Louisette and Annie.

Margot Brådhe - mostly competed as a rally co-driver in the 1960s, in Swedish rallies. Among the drivers she sat beside are Barbara Johansson and Ursula Wirth, who was more usually a navigator herself. She also raced on the circuits occasionally. In 1959, she drove an Auto Union 1000S in the Canonloppet round of the Swedish Touring Car Championship. In 1960, she made another guest appearance, driving a Saab 93 and finishing eleventh at Skarpnäck Airfield. Margot’s daughter Liz was involved in rallying, and her grand-daughter is Jonna Eson Brådhe, another rally driver.

Patsy Burt - took part in some circuit races in the 1950s, as well as acting as a navigator for Anne Hall in rallies on occasion. She drove both Cooper single-seaters and Jaguar and Aston-Martin sportscars, among others. She raced the Cooper up to Formula 2 level, and drove in European sports races. However, she is best known for speed events, her sole focus from 1959 onwards. She was British Sprint Champion in 1970, held the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb course record from 1967 to 1978 and won the Brighton Speed Trial outright in 1968. Her Brighton record stood for seven years. Her most famous car was a McLaren-Oldsmobile single-seater special. During her career, she won 42 events outright, in the UK and Europe. Some of her speed records still stand today. She died in 2001.

Michèle Cancre (d’Orgeix) - active in motorsport in the mid-late 1950s and early 1960s, based in France. She was Annie Soisbault’s co-driver for the Tour de France between 1957 and 1961, with a best finish of twelfth in 1961. Previously, during the 195s and 1954 seasons, she was an early exponent of stock car racing, and travelled to London to participate in races at New Cross. She also raced in France, alongside her husband. As well as motorsport, Michèle competed in showjumping throughout her life, and was a multiple French champion. She is sometimes credited on entry lists as “Madame Cancre”.

Monique Celis - Belgian driver who took part in races and rallies in Europe , in the 1960s. She was 20th in the 12 Hours of Huy in 1964, driving a Volvo. In 1968, she was part of a team for the Rally of Portugal with “Chavan”, in a BMW 1600, but it is unclear whether she drove or navigated. On the circuit racing side, she drove a Volvo 122 in the Belgian Touring Car Championship in 1964, and was fifth in class in the Belgian Cup. It is likely that she entered other events at around the same time.

Lorraine Dubonnet – French driver who raced, rallied and broke records in the 1950s. She was from the Dubonnet liqueur family, and was the daughter of early racer, André Dubonnet. She often drove an Alfa Romeo, particularly the 1900 model. In 1953, she seems to have been quite active in the Italian women’s racing scene, and was second in the Como-Lieto Colle hillclimb, in the 1900. The same year, she broke an average speed record in the same car, at Montlhéry. Later in the year, she was third in the Tour de France, sharing the car with her son (or nephew?), also called André.  Paola della Chiesa counted her as one of the best female drivers of the time.

Alice Fergusson – one of Canada’s earliest female racing drivers. She drove a Fiat 500 in the British Empire Motor Club’s Spring Trophy in 1950, at Edenvale. She was fourteenth in the race. Later, she raced a Nash Metropolitan, in 1954, a Citroen and an Austin-Healey Sprite. Her best result was probably her third place in the Harewood Acres 4-Hour Relay in 1958. The car was a Citroen ID19. She was married to Jim Fergusson, a racer and promoter, and got into motorsport through him.

Luciana Guaschino - raced Alfa Romeos in Italy in the 1950s. In 1958, she was a Racing Club team-mate of Ada Pace and competed in the Flugplatzrennen Zeltweg GT race in August. Her car was an Alfa Giulietta SVZ. She used the same car in a hillclimb at Gaisberg only a little later. Pictures of her exist seated in the car at a startline in September that year, but it is unclear which event this is. She does not appear to have raced after 1958.

Wendy Hamblin – raced saloons, single-seaters and small sportscars in the UK in the 1960s. Her first car was a Cooper Formula Junior, which she mainly used for hillclimbs. Later, she used a Lotus 7 and a series of Minis in club races and speed events. In 1965, she was second in a handicap at Brands Hatch, sharing a Mini Cooper with her husband, Keith. She also competed at Goodwood. During this time, she became one of the early members of the BWRDC. From 1967, she raced a Shelby Cobra, winning her class in the Brighton Speed Trials. In 1971, her last year of competition, she and Keith raced a self-modified Diva sportscar, which they called the “Angood”. Wendy won the BWRDC’s racing championship.

Mercedes Hennerici - active in German motorsport in 1971. She was part of the Hennerici motorsport family, who also owned the Eifelland caravan company that sponsored several drivers, including Hannelore Werner, and a short-lived Formula One team. She was second in the 96-hour Marathon de la Route event at the Nürburgring, driving a BMW 2002 Ti with Heiz Hennerici, her father, and Helmut Kuhl. The same year, she drove in the Eifelland Rally, also held at the Nordschleife, with Wolfgang Schneider. Her car is not recorded, and she was not among the leaders. She does not appear to have competed after 1971.

Joyce Leavens – normally competed in hillclimbs, in cars including a Triumph TR2. She used this car at Brunton in 1954. However, she also did some circuit racing. The biggest race of her career was the 1953 Spa 24 Hours, which she entered with her husband, Barry, in a Jowett Javelin. They did not finish. As well as actively driving, she was a rally navigator, who sat alongside Nancy Mitchell in 1954, as well as other drivers, including a Marie Kelleher.

Anita Lidén – Swedish driver who attempted to build a career in NASCAR in 1970. She entered the Motor Trend 500 at Riverside, but never made the start. She had apparently raced in Formula Ford in Sweden in 1969, although no actual results are forthcoming. After her trip to America, she returned to Sweden and continued to race in Formula Ford, in the Swedish and European championships. Much later, in 1976, she raced in the Mini Lady Cup, a Swedish all-female racing series, and won at least one race.

Shelley Marten - raced mainly in southern England in 1961 and 1962. Her car was a distinctive red Alexander Turner MkI GT model. She was a semi-regular at Goodwood, and also raced at Silverstone and the more central circuits, scoring some class wins. She was noted for her consistency, only ever non-finishing once, during the 1961 Autosport 3 Hours at Snetterton, and that was due to a gearbox problem. Her career ended upon her marriage in 1962, when the Turner was sold.  

Beatrice (“Tilly”) Naylor (Shilling) - mostly known for racing motorcycles prior to WWII, and her work during the war as an aircraft engineer. Her motorcycling achievements included lapping Brooklands at over 100mph on a Norton. In the 1950s, she raced a Lagonda Rapier in the UK. Her best results were probably a pair of second places in handicap races at Goodwood and Silverstone in 1957. In 1956, she mostly drove in Ladies’ races, with a best finish of second at Goodwood. Later, she owned an Elva Formula Junior, but it was actually raced by her husband, George. She was an early member of the BWRDC.

Joëlle Pasquier – raced in the Elf Renault Gordini Cup one-make championship in France, in 1975. The following year, she was also involved in the championship, or at least a qualifying event for it, held at the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans. Later, in the 1980s, she raced powerboats, one of the first women to do so, before returning to motorsport for the Dakar in 1987. Her car was a Lada Niva, and she did not finish. She died in 2012, aged 62.

Malou Racle - rather obscure driver active in the 1960s, mostly in rallies. Different sources have her as French or Swiss. She first appears in 1960, driving a DKW Junior in the Monte Carlo Rally, with Marie Cantenot as navigator. In 1962, she raced a DKW Junior, belonging to herself, in the Nürburgring 500km, with Monika Wallraf. They were 30th overall, and sixth in the 850cc class. Later on in 1964, she reappears in the rally entry lists, in the navigator’s seat. She sat alongside Henri Ziegler in a Mini Cooper in 1964, and they entered, at least, the Monte Carlo and Geneva rallies together.  By 1967, she was still co-driving in a Mini Cooper, with Marie Descoust, in the Geneva Rally.

Rita Rampinelli - Swiss driver active in the 1950s. She mostly competed in hillclimbs across Europe, first in a Cisitalia D46, which she used in 1951, and later, a Porsche Spyder. Apparently, she was the first Swiss woman to buy a Porsche. Before the cessation of circuit racing in Switzerland, she came fourth in the Swiss national championship twice, although details of which race series this referred to, are hard to pinpoint. In 1953, she drove in a sportscar race supporting the Swiss Grand Prix, at Bremgarten, and was sixth, in a Cooper Bristol. She appears in the start list for a similar event in 1954, but the result is not forthcoming. As well as circuit racing nad hillclimbs, she also participated in rallies, including the Monte Carlo Rally in 1953, alongside Max Brunner. Rita died in 2011, at the age of 88.

Gilberte Stempert - former ski champion who competed in races and rallies in the mid-1950s, usually driving a Dyna Panhard X. She is most known for her two single-handed attempts at the Mille Miglia, in 1955 and 1956. She was 116th in 1955, but did not finish in 1956. She used the same car for the 1956 Liège-Rome-Liège Rally. Earlier, she had competed in the 1953 Alpine Rally, in a Dyna Panhard X87. As well as rallies, she drove the Panhard in races in France. She continued to appear occasionally in rallies, more often as a navigator, towards the end of the decade, and used a Porsche 356 and a BMW, among other cars. She appeared in the 356 in the 1962 Paris-St. Raphaël Rally.

Louisette Texier - French driver and rally navigator in the 1960s. She entered the Tour de France between 1961 and 1964, as both co-driver to Annie Soisbault and named driver. In 1961, she drove an Alfa Romeo Giulietta, and in 1964, a Jaguar MkII. Her co-driver both times was Marie-Louise Mermod. On the other two occasions she navigated for Annie Soisbault. They did many other rallies in France together, including the 1960 Solitude-Charbonnières, in which they were third, in an Alfa Giulietta SS. Louisette was also a regular face in the Paris-St. Raphaël womens' rally, in which she used a Renault Dauphine in 1962.

Jenny Tudor-Owen – raced and rallied, mostly in Europe, during the 1960s. Her first car, lent to her in 1962, was a Mini, but she quickly moved on to an MGB. This particular car is the one most associated with her, and she raced several different versions. In 1964, she was fourth in the Copenhagen Cup at the Roskildering. In between two MGB seasons, she also raced a Lotus Elan in 1965, but this was not her favourite car. She was most successful in it in hillclimbs, in France and Germany. After another spell in the MGB, she acquired a Jaguar E-Type, which she used in 1967 and 1968, winning the 1968 BWRDC Racing championship. On the rallying side, she is best known for her Coupe des Dames in the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon, driving a Volvo 145. She was part of a four woman team with Elsie Gadd, Anthea Castell and Sheila Kemp. The car belonged to Elsie Gadd, who had no rallying experience, so she hired Jenny and Sheila as her lead drivers. They were 41st overall, just in front of Jean Denton’s MGB, which had been the favourite for the Ladies’ prize.

Francine Warein - active in French rallying and sportscar racing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968 and 1969, she rallied a Triumph TR5 and TR6, mainly in France, although she also drove in the Rally of Portugal in at least one of those years. In 1969, she was tenth in the Rallye des Routes du Nord, in the TR5. This was probably her best rally result. That year, she also entered the AGACI 300 race at Montlhéry, and was 20th, and finished 27th in the Tour de France, both in the TR6. In 1970, she started racing a Lancia Fulvia, which she used in hillclimbs, and a second Tour de France. She and Paulette Delcros were 38th overall.

Ileana Zigraiova - Czech driver who raced a Renault Gordini R8 at Brno in 1966, sharing the car with Austrian, Karl Mörth. They were tenth overall, and second in class. She may well have done some more circuit racing, but she was probably more of a rally driver. From as early as 1962, she entered rallies in then-Czechoslovakia, usually in a Skoda to begin with. Her best result in a Skoda was probably a 20th place in the Czech Vysočinou Rally in 1962. Her best-ever result was ninth, in the 1967 Rallye Stavba Košice, in the Renault.  

(Image source unknown)

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