Friday, 18 February 2011

Women at the Nassau Speed Weeks, Part I



Nassau Speed Week was an annual festival of motorsport, held in Nassau in the Bahamas, between 1954 and 1966. It was traditionally held during the off-season. It was organised by Red Crise and Sydney Oakes, the millionaire president of the Bahamas motorsport association, and a sometime racer. Although it was never part of any official championship, it attracted large entry lists, which included the big names of the era. Stirling Moss, Masten Gregory, Alfonso de Portago, and other stars of the international racing scene, were regular entrants. This was due to its generous prize fund and starting money, provided by a Bahamian government subsidy. The rest of the field tended to comprise of American drivers in the higher echelons of national racing, plus a few local racers.
Most of the races were for sports and production vehicles, but there were also some single-seater events. The results for these are harder to track down than the sportscar results. There was no actual Speed Week overall championship, but the Nassau Trophy was its blue-riband event.

Women drivers were initially welcome, and some years, dedicated ladies’ races were held. As with their male counterparts, the Nassau lady competitors tended to be a mix of international professionals, such as Denise McCluggage, and mainly US-based club racers, often competing alongside their husbands. After 1960, female participation reduces drastically.
Early on, one of these ladies was Greta Oakes. She was the wife of Sydney Oakes, and the two had previously competed in international sportscar events together. She drove at Speed Week even after the couple divorced in 1956.

After 1957, Speed Week itself was held on the Oakes family’s own track, the Oakes Course. Its previous home was Windsor Airfield.

Nassau Speed Week ended in 1966, in large part due to the death of Sydney Oakes in a road traffic accident earlier in the year.

Below is a preliminary list of women competitors at Nassau Speed Week, by year. Results of the Ladies’ Races will be published later.

1954
Nassau Speed Trials
Mrs J. Bird (Jaguar XK120) - 4th
Greta Oakes (Austin-Healey 100M) - 10th

Production Car race
Greta Oakes (Austin-Healey 100M) - 4th

1955
Governor’s Trophy
Isabelle Haskell (Maserati 150S) - 16th
Marion Lowe (Frazer Nash Targa Florio) - 31st 

Local Residents’ Race
Ruth Ballard (Jaguar XK120) - 4th
Greta Oakes (Austin-Healey 100) - DNF

Nassau Trophy
Isabelle Haskell (Maserati 150S) - 21st

1956
Governor’s Trophy (under 2000cc)
Marion Lowe (Frazer Nash Targa Florio) - 31st
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - 35th

Local Residents - Race 1
Greta Oakes (Porsche 356A Speedster) - 8th

Local Residents - Race 2
Greta Oakes (Porsche 356A Speedster) - 4th

Preliminary Nassau Trophy (under 2000cc)
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - 18th
Marion Lowe (Frazer Nash Targa Florio) - final position not known

Nassau Trophy Consolation Race
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - DNF

Nassau Trophy
Marion Lowe (Frazer Nash Targa Florio) - 29th

1957
Nassau Memorial GT Race
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - 7th

Nassau TT
Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550) - 9th
Jean Speidel (Porsche 550A RS Spyder) - 13th


Preliminary Governor’s Trophy (under 2000cc)
Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550) - 6th
Isabelle Haskell (Osca S1500) - 13th
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - 15th
Porsche Race
Preliminary Governor’s Trophy (under 2000cc)
Locals Race
Bahamas Cup
Gladys Cam (Berkeley SE328) - result not known
Governor's Trophy (under 2000cc)
Governor's Trophy (over 2000cc)
Locals Race
Bahamas Cup
1962
Nassau Porsche & Alfa Romeo Race
Locals Race 1
Locals Race 2
Nassau Trophy
Bahamas Cup
(Image copyright Getty Images)



Governor’s Trophy (under 2000cc)
Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550) - 4th
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - 18th
Ruth Luedeke (Alfa Romeo Giulietta) - 28th
  
AC Bristol & Austin-Healey Race
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - 2nd

Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550A RS Spyder) - 4th

Nassau Memorial Trophy
Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550) - 9th
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - 20th
Ruth Luedeke (Alfa Romeo Giulietta) - 26th

1958
Nassau Berkeley Race
Gladys Cam (Berkeley SE328) - 3rd
Greta Oakes (Berkeley SE328) - 6th
Marie Kelly (Berkeley SE328) - 7th
A. Goodfellow (Berkeley SE328) - 8th

Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven) - result not known

Governor’s Trophy
Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven) - result not known

Gladys Cam (Berkeley SE328) - DNF
Greta Oakes (Austin-Healey 100) - DNF

Nassau Trophy
Marion Lowe/Denise McCluggage (Lotus Eleven) - 9th (class win)

1959
Preliminary Governor’s Trophy (over 2000cc heat)
Josie von Neumann (Ferrari 250 TR 58) - 16th

Preliminary Governor’s Trophy (under 2000cc heat)
Denise McCluggage (Osca S750) - 13th
Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven) - 17th

Governor’s Trophy (over 2000cc)
Josie von Neumann (Ferrari 250 TR 58) - 16th

Governor’s Trophy (under 2000cc)
Denise McCluggage (Osca S750) - 17th
Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven) - 34th
  
Locals’ Race
Heather Bethell (Austin Healey Sprite) - 10th

Austin-Healey & Locals’ Race
Heather Bethell (Austin Healey Sprite) - not classified

Ferrari Classics
Josie von Neumann (Ferrari 250 TR 58) - 5th

Nassau Trophy
Josie von Neumann (Ferrari 250 TR 58) - 18th
Denise McCluggage (Osca S750) - 27th
Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven) - 38th

1960
Nassau Locals Race 2
Heather Bethell (Austin-Healey 100-6) - 3rd

Bahamas Cup
Heather Bethell (Austin-Healey 100-6) - 4th

1961
Preliminary Governor's Trophy (under 2000cc)
Prudence Baxter (Lotus Eleven) - 6th

Susan Baron (Lotus Seven) - 23rd
Prudence Baxter (Lotus Eleven) - DNF

Prudence Baxter (Lotus Eleven) - DNF

Lou Moseley (Porsche 356 Carrera) - 13th
Patsy Kennedy (Jaguar XK120) - DNF

Lou Moseley (Porsche 356 Carrera) - 6th

Nassau TT
Joanne Gambal (Alfa Romeo Giulietta) - 36th

Joanne Gambal (Alfa Romeo Giulietta) - 8th
Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera) - result not known

Nassau Locals Race 1
Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera) - 5th
Heather Meyers (Austin-Healey 3000) - 6th

Nassau Locals Race 2
Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera) - 6th
Heather Meyers (Austin-Healey 3000) - 21st

Bahamas Cup
Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera) - 6th
Heather Meyers (Austin-Healey 3000) - 18th

1965
Locals - Heat 1
Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera) - 3rd

Locals - Heat 2
Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera) - 3rd

Porsche Challenge Race
Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera) - 6th

Bahamas Cup
Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera) - 4th

1966
Governor’s Trophy & Nassau TT
Anita Taylor (Shelby Mustang 350GT) - 24th

Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B) - 2nd

Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B) - 3rd

Anita Taylor (Shelby Mustang 350GT) - 15th

Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B) - 2nd


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