Saturday, 20 August 2011

Victoria Worsley


Victoria in her MG in 1930

Victoria was the daughter of a baronet. Despite her family’s title, she is said to have had little money of her own, and worked for her father, as a chauffeur.

She began her motorsport career in trials in 1928, after a lucky bet on a horse race allowed her to buy her first racing car, a Salmson. This car was her preferred choice for the 1928 season, and she is pictured driving it in various places. She continued to drive it in 1929, although she also had some outings in a Jowett, which she used in both trials and grass-track events. During this time, Victoria competed in both long-distance and high-speed trials, and had her first Brooklands experiences, during a speed trial.

After trying a few different cars, she bought an MG in 1930. She used it in that season’s Brooklands Double Twelve, and was 20th, seventh in class. Her team-mate was Derek Foster, and their pits were manned by various members of the Worsley clan and their social circle.

Victoria’s preference was for the longer, higher-profile races at the circuit, and her best finish was seventh in the 1931 Double Twelve, driving an Ulster Austin with Latham Boote. This was a difficult race, held at high speed in very wet conditions, and as hard on cars as on drivers. That year, the slower and more reliable small cars did particularly well. In addition to this major race, she also drove as part of a three-driver Austin team for the LCC Relay. They were eleventh, after leading the race for a while before the handicapped cars overtook.

In 1932, she drove another MG, a Midget, in the Brooklands 1000 Miles, with Joan Chetwynd. Joan and Victoria’s paths had often crossed at Brooklands, usually as rivals, and Victoria was probably the better driver. Unfortunately, they did not make the finish, following engine trouble. She also took part in the Light Car Club’s team relay race once more, but failed to finish that either. Her car is recorded as a “Worsley-Harris Special”, and her team-mates were one S. Watt in a Fiat, and A.M. Conan Doyle in a Frazer Nash.

She retired from motor racing after that season, following her marriage to Roland King-Farlow, who was involved in motorsports as a timekeeper. During her short career, she entered fourteen events at Brooklands.

Her niece, Katharine, is the Duchess of Kent, who is also related to the rally driver and Liechtenstein princess, Shelagh Brunner, on her mother’s side.

(Picture from Haymarket/Autocar)

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