Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Patricia (Tish) Ozanne

Tish (right) with Bronwyn Burrell and Katrina Kerridge, and the Austin Maxi

Patricia was born in the Channel Islands in 1923. She began her rallying career quite late, in her twenties, after settling in Suffolk with her retired father. Prior to this, she had undertaken a lengthy world tour, with some time spent on a sheep station in Australia. Here, she is alleged to have narrowly avoided taking part in an armed duel with another woman, over a man.

Her earliest rallying exploits were strictly at club level: treasure hunts, navigational tests and road rallies. She began her stage rally career in 1953. Initially, her entries in major events were as a co-driver. Among others, she sat beside Annie Soisbault, with whom she shared a Triumph TR3 in 1958. Their partnership was tempestuous, with Annie apparently pushing Tish out of the car for making a navigational error, during the Monte Carlo Rally.

She made her first major appearances as a driver in 1959, as part of the works BMC team, driving one of the first wave of rally Minis. They entered her into the German and RAC Rallies. The German result is not forthcoming, and she retired from the RAC Rally. Away from BMC, Tish used her own Riley 1.5 on the Tulip Rally, and was second in the Ladies’ standings. She was also part of an all-female Rootes squad for the Rallye des Routes Pavées in Belgium, driving a Hillman Minx.

In 1960, she continued as a BMC works driver, with an increased schedule. This included the Monte Carlo, Geneva, Tulip, and Acropolis rallies. Her best result was in Geneva, where she was second in class, third lady and 27th overall. Retirements in the Monte Carlo and RAC Rallies brought disappointment.

For the 1961 season, she bought her works Mini from 1960 and continued as a privateer. With Pat Allison on the maps, she entered the RAC Rally, but was unplaced. They won the Ladies’ award on the London Rally.

In 1962, she entered the Monte once more, with Mary Handley-Page. They were again unplaced, after starting at Warsaw. After a nasty accident involving a lorry on the following year’s event, the Mini was retired.

It was replaced with a Ford Cortina in 1964. This year, Patricia’s best result seems to have been a “second lady” award on the Tulip Rally.

After that, she drove only sporadically for a while, and not in the major rallies. Her next big event seems to have been Monte Carlo in 1970, back at the wheel of a Mini with Pat Wright. Unfortunately, they went over the time limit whilst helping an injured crew on the road behind them. Later in the year, they drove in the Sherry Rally in Spain, using the unlikely choice of an Austin Maxi. Tish used the same car in that year’s World Cup Rally, and she drove it with Bronwyn Burrell and Katrina Kerridge. They did not finish, after coming to grief in some very thick mud in Argentina, and going over the time limit.

Her last event was the Circuit of Donegal in 1973. She was reunited with both the Mini, and Pat Wright. According to Pat, the Circuit of Donegal was one of Tish's favourite rallies, as it consisted of her favoured tarmac roads.

After that, Patricia went back to one of her first loves: music. She continued playing her guitar as a session musician, and also involved herself in other creative pursuits. Her flower paintings had a small following, as did her designs for soft furnishings. Later, she redesigned several houses and gardens in her own style. She ran a guesthouse until she was well into her eighties, and only retired a year before her death in 2009, at the age of 85.

(Image from

1 comment:

  1. Another cracking read Rachel !

    I have no desire to teach you to suck eggs but this blog deserves more 'Labels'.

    Something like Patricia, Tish Ozanne, Mini, Monte, Carlo, Maxi, World, Cup, Rally, Speedqueens, Rachel, H-G,

    Your audience will appreciate your blog being easier to find :-)