Thursday, 20 February 2014

Female Drivers in Touring Cars: the United Kingdom


Anita Taylor in the Broadspeed Anglia

This is another post mostly made up of previous content, created in order to make the blog easier to get around. There are a couple of new names, and more will appear in future. Elizabeth Jones, Barbara Cowell, Jacquie Bond-Smith and Joanna Clarke now have their own posts.

Jean Aley - drove touring cars in the 1960s, and also competed in rallies. Her best year for saloons was 1962, when she drove a Mini in the Nürburgring 6 Hours and 500km races. She and Daphne Freeman did not finish the 500km, but she was fifth in class in the 6 Hours, driving with her husband John. In rallies, she normally navigated. She sat alongside Shelagh Aldersmith for the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally.

Michaelle Burns-Greig - raced in the British Saloon Car Championship in the 1960s, usually in a Mini. After starting her career in club events and hillclimbs, she had her first BSCC experience in 1963, at the Silverstone International Trophy meeting. Her best finish was eleventh, in the Small Car Trophy at Crystal Palace. In 1964, she entered one BSCC race, but it does not look as if she actually raced. She did another part-season in 1965, with a best finish of fifteenth, at Snetterton. After that, she disappears from the entry lists. Michelle was noted for carrying a numberplate reading “SEX1” on her car as she raced.

Joey Cook (Beale) - sister of Jacquie Bond-Smith. Like her sister, her early motorsport experiences were in her father’s “Wavendon Wombat” special, and they sometimes competed as a pairing. The sisters raced together in the FLIRT team in the 1960s, in a Mini Marcos. As a team, they entered the Nürburgring 1000km, Gran Premio del Mugello and Nürburgring 500 KM in 1967. Joey’s best result was 37th, in the Mugello race. She and Jacquie raced in separate FLIRT Marcoses for the Nürburgring 500km. She is still involved in motorsport through historic racing; she and her husband Stephen own and drive a 1962 Lotus Elite, and are members of the HSCC.

Ilsa Cox - winner of multiple British club championships in saloon car racing. She began in 1987. In 1997, she was the Castle Combe Saloon Car champion, driving a Peugeot 205 GTi. Even in her first year in that championship, 1995, she won eight times, and was narrowly beaten to the trophy. In 2008, she won Class A of the 750MC Hot Hatch Championship. More recently, she has been racing a SEAT Cupra in the Eurosaloons championship, and won a race outright at Oulton Park, in 2009. She was second in the “B” class of the series, with three wins. She has 26 career wins. She continued to race the SEAT in the CNC Heads Saloon/Sports championship in 2014. She won one race, and was second in Class D. As well as racing in the CNC Heads series in 2015, she took part in the Classic Thunder Touring Car Championship, still in the SEAT. She was fifth and seventh in these championships, respectively. She raced the SEAT again in 2016, in the CNC Heads series, but only did some of the rounds, and was 26th overall. As well as this, she works as a performance driving instructor, and promotes women’s track days.

Geunda Eadie - took part in the 1980 BTCC in a Ford Fiesta after winning the Fabergé Ladies' Fiesta Challenge in 1979. Although she fared well in her class at times, the car was unreliable and she endured several DNFs. She also ran in the RAC Rally as part of her prize drive, but did not finish, using a similar Fiesta. Previously, she had raced saloons at club level, and had one race in the 1976 Shellsport Escort Ladies’ Championship.

Gillian Fortescue-Thomas (Goldsmith) - active in sports and touring car races in the UK and Europe between the late 1960s and 1975, then later in historic motorsport. She rose to prominence in 1971, when she drove in the Ford Escort Mexico series, almost winning a race from Jody Scheckter. Drives for Ford and Triumph in the BTCC followed, with mixed results. Gillian also travelled to Spa in 1972, to drive in the 24-Hour race in an Escort. Her team-mate was Yvette Fontaine, and they had to retire after a head gasket blew. Later, Gillian drove a Triumph Dolomite in BTCC races in the UK.
After one retirement and a remarriage, she returned to the circuits in 1989 in an Aston Martin DB4. Other historic vehicles she has raced and hillclimbed include a HWM-Jaguar. 

Joanne Kraemer - began her career in 2002 in UK Clio Cup. She did not compete for a full season due to injuries sustained in a crash, but managed to return. After a break, she drove in Britcar with her father, Rick Kraemer, in 2004. Their car was a Ford Focus. They managed some top-ten finishes, including one at Brands Hatch.

Clare Newbold - raced in the mid-1960s, always in Ford cars. In 1965, she raced a Ford Anglia in the 1000cc class, in British events. These were mostly at club level, so the results have proved hard to find. In 1966, she raced a “Fraud” Cortina, a heavily-modified Ford Special Saloon belonging to her future husband, “Doc” Merfield. They competed together at least once, in a handicap race at Brands Hatch. In 1965, Clare drove this car in the Brighton Speed Trials, and seems to have won something - a video of the time describes her as the winner, but the official records do not support this. She was an early member of the BWRDC and also raced at Goodwood. After her marriage, she seems to have retired.

Rona Pearson (Galliford) - raced in the UK between 1962 and 1964. She began her career in club events, using a Mini. Later in he first year, she entered her first international race, the Nürburgring 500km. She and Phil Cadman did not finish after their Mini suffered a gearbox problem. The following month, Rona had more luck in the Brands Hatch 6 Hours, finishing 19th in a BMW 700 with Marie-Rose Tibesar. She later married Peter Galliford and went back to club racing in the UK, before retiring in 1964 to have children.

Jacqui Smith – member of the FLIRT (First Ladies’ International Racing Team) team in the 1960s, with sisters Jacquie Bond-Smith and Joey Cook.  They campaigned two Mini Marcoses together in the 1960s, and raced at the 1967 Nürburgring 500km. Jacqui Smith does not seem to have finished. Earlier in the season, she had been included in the official Marcos team for the Nürburgring 1000km, but did not get to drive on the day. The year before, she was second in the BWRDC’s women’s racing championship, behind Jean Denton. She spent that season racing a Hillman Imp, competing in British club events and winning a Ladies’ race at Brands Hatch. She had been racing since at least 1964.

Mary Taylor - mostly raced saloons in the mid-1960s, and is most associated with Minis. She was racing a Mini by 1963, at least. In 1964, she took part in the Britax Saloon championship, and the following year, she won one of the BWRDC’s Embassy Trophies for the highest placed member at an eligible meeting. Frustratingly, it is not clear what cars she used for the 1964 season, although the award win was for a second place in a Mini. In At some point, she raced an MGB, and is named as an entrant for a Ladies’ race at Oulton Park. She also raced a Frazer Imp and a Lotus Elite. Her career was ended by a serious accident at Silverstone in 1966, where she suffered head injuries, although she later recovered. She was married to fellow racer, Sid Taylor, and was a hairdresser by trade.

Micki Vandervell (Chittenden) - raced at national level in the UK in the 1970s. She was an enthusiastic member of the BWRDC, and competed in their women-only events, although she was not usually among the front-runners. In 1970, she was part of "The Carmen Curls", an all-female racing team who competed in Formula 100. She shared a Royale sportscar with Gabriel Konig. The team was sponsored by Carmen hair products, and managed by Tina Lanfranchi. Early in the decade, Micki drove a Ford Escort Mexico and a Mini Clubman in British Saloon Championship races. She also raced a Ginetta G4, after her marriage to Mike Chittenden. Tiffany Chittenden and karter Tamsin Germain are her daughters.

(Image from Autosport)

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting article. Thank you and go on with this blog. GNG Team

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