Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Female Drivers in Touring Cars: Finland



Karoliina Leppihalme

In the past two or three years, a number of Finnish drivers have appeared in their domestic touring car series. Their numbers seem to be on the increase, and some are reaching out further into international motorsport.

Martina Backfält – races in the V1600 series in Finland. Her car is a Honda Civic. It looks as if 2015 was her debut season on the circuits, and she was not yet quite on the pace. Her best result in 2015 was an eighth place, at Kemora, and this scored her her first championship points. She was eighteenth in the championship. Martina’s family is involved in the automotive trade in Finland.   

Noora Lähteenmäki – races in the V1600 championship in Finland. Her car is a Honda Civic. 2015 appears to have been her first year of competition. It looks to have been a steep learning curve; she was not among the leading drivers in the series, and has already endured at least one crash. Her best result was eleventh, achieved at Vauhtiajot. She returned to V1600 in 2016, driving a Civic again, a much improved driver. She was second in the championship, with two wins each at Alastaro and Ahvenisto. She is not to be confused with a Finnish actress of the same name.

Karoliina Leppihalme - races touring cars in Finland, in the Finrace 1600cc Cup. She first raced in the series in 2012, joining for the second part of the season. She was a solid finisher, not quite on the pace, but with a best finish of twelfth, at Motopark. Her car was a Honda Civic, which she raced again in 2013. This time, she was on the pace immediately, with a fourth and eighth place at Motopark. She had another good round at Kemora, finishing sixth, and she was eighth overall. At the end of 2013, she was chosen for the FIA Women in Motorsport Comission’s VW Scirocco-R Shootout, and attempted to win a season’s Scirocco racing, but she was not among the leaders. In 2014, she raced a VW Polo in Finrace 1600. She had rather an up-and-down season, but managed some good finishes, including a second place at Kemora. She was ninth in the championship. In 2015, her car for the Finrace series was a SEAT Ibiza. She was twelfth in the championship, with a best finish of sixth, at Vauhtiajot. As well as circuit racing, Karoliina also took part in rallycross, racing in the Super 1600 class of the World Rallycross Championship. Her car was a Renault Twingo, and raced in Portugal, Spain and France. She concentrated on rallycross in 2016, driving a Toyota MR2.


Nea Liikamaa - raced in the V1600 championship in 2016. She did half a season, entering the first and last two rounds, driving a Honda Civic. Her best result was a sixth, which she earned in the first race, at Botniaring. She won an award from her motor club for her performance in the series that year.
Emmy Lindholm - raced in the Finrace 1600cc Cup in Finland in 2013, as a team-mate to Karoliina Leppihalme. This seems to have been her first season of motorsport, and she drove a Honda Civic, like her team-mates. She showed some speed, finishing eighth in her first race at Motopark and tenth at Ahvenisto, but she could not find the consistency to challenge at every meeting, and suffered too many DNFs towards the end. Her final position in the championship was thirteenth. She is the daughter of former international rally driver, Sebastian Lindholm, and therefore a cousin of Marcus Gronholm.


Sari Luoto – raced in Finrace in 2014, in the V1600 series. Her car was a Honda Civic. She was not among the frontrunners, and had a best finish of fifteenth, at Ahvenisto. She scored another point for her 16th place in the second Ahvenisto race. 2014 seems to have been her first racing season. She appears to come from a motorsport family, and may have been racing alongside a brother. In 2015, she took part in some Folkrace competitions.


Emma Mäkinen – competed in Finland’s V1600 touring car series in 2014, aged 16, following some testing. Her car was a Honda Civic. Her best finish was a fifth place at Alastaro, and she was sixth in the other round at that track, making it her best circuit. Her other results were not quite so impressive, and she was fifteenth in the championship. 2014 was her first season of racing. In 2015, she had an up-and-down season, driving a Mini in the V1600 series. She repeated her fifth place, at the Botniaring this time, and finished in the top ten on three more occasions. She was fifteenth overall again. In 2016, she drove the Mini again, and took her first series win, at Kemora. This helped her to sixth in the championship. Emma is from a motorsport family; her father is a racer, but she is no relation to rally driver Tommi Mäkinen.

Mirella Nurminen - races in the Finrace 1600cc touring car championship in Finland. Her car is a Honda Civic. In 2012, she was eleventh overall, although she achieved at least two top-ten finishes, with a best of seventh, at Häminleena. In 2013, she drove for the Uusimaa Car Athletes team. Again, her best finish was seventh, at Motopark, but too many DNFs and lower placings meant that she was thirteenth overall. In 2014, she did some rounds of the championship, but it was a difficult year for her. Her best finish was twelfth, at Pärnuand she was unable to start all the races she entered. She ran a full season in the Civic in 2015, but had too many non-finishes to make an impact. Her best finish was eleventh, at Alastaro, and she was 20th overall. In 2016, she raced the Civic again, but only did a part-season. This meant she was not eligible for championship points, although she drove well, and had a third place at Alastaro as her best finish. She is the daughter of Jari Nurminen, who raced in Formula 3000.

Janina Österholm - switched to cars in 1987, after a successful karting career that saw her as a regular rival to Mika Häkkinen. She was fifth in the Nordic Formula Ford Championship in 1987, behind Häkkinen and Mika Salo. After that, she raced more in touring cars and saloons, including three top-ten finishes in the Kemora 500 Midnight Sun race. In 1988, she was seventh, in a Bornebusch Racing Rover Vitesse, with Eva Bornebusch and Catta Lindgren. In 1989, she was tenth, in a Lasse Lehtinen’s Volvo 240 Turbo, with Lehtinen and Robert Koistinen. In 1990, she was sixth in a BMW M3, with Esa Salonen and Peter Elgaard. That year, she also raced the M3 in the Finnish Touring Car Championship, where she was third in Group A (over 2000cc). Despite having a reasonably high media profile at times, and family support, she disappears from the entry lists after this.


Linda Vekka - raced in most of the 2015 Finnish V1600 championship. Her car was an Alfa Romeo 147, and she had a best finish of sixteenth, at Pärnu. She was unplaced in the championship. The following year, she returned with the Alfa, and ran for the whole championship. She was sixth overall, with two fourth places as her best results. The Alfa was sold at the end of 2016, and Linda seems to be involved in rallying in 2017.

Veera Virtanen - had her first season of senior motorsport in 2008, when she competed in most of the Finnish Formula Ford Zetec championship. Her best finish was sixth, at Ahvenisto, and she was ninth overall. After a long time-out, she returned to the circuits in 2013, in the Finrace series. Her car was a Honda Civic. She entered the Botniaring and Alastaro rounds, and had a best finish of eighth, at Botniaring. In 2014, she contested the Finrace series in a BMW Mini, running strongly. When she finished, she was mostly in the top ten, and she had three podium places, including a second at Pärnu. Her less-than-perfect finishing record dropped her to seventh in the championship. In 2015, she was tenth in the V1600 championship, probably due to missing some of the rounds. She was most successful aPärnu, her favourite track, where she was second and third. Her car was a Volkswagen Lupo. She has also done promotional work for the Mini in Finland. In 2016, she took a new sporting direction, and started racing snowmobiles. 


(Image from http://www.l-sport.fi/uutiset.html)

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Women in One-Make Series: outside Europe



Robyn Kruger with her VW Scirocco

Female drivers are now found in one-make series for any number of different cars, around the world. South America has quite a large number, and one-make series in Asia and India are on the increase, so this post will expand in future. Drivers from outside Europe are also moving over to compete there.

Andrea Bate - has raced a VW in South Africa since 2009. She competed locally in the Western Cape GTi Challenge, and was fifth overall, driving a VW Golf. In 2010 and 2011, she raced the car in the Goldwagen Challenge, picking up several class wins. She also had her debut in the South African Production Car series, and was second in class. This led to her being invited to the Scirocco-R Women In Motorsport shootout in Germany, and the FIA’s Young Driver Excellence Academy. She earned a spot in the Academy for 2012. In 2013, she started racing in the VW Engen Cup in South Africa, driving a Polo this time. Her results are proving hard to find, and she may have only done a part-season. She raced in the Engen Cup again in 2014, and was seventh overall. She also made a guest appearance in the Shelby CanAm series, driving in the African 3 Hour. She and her team-mates were fifth overall. In 2015, she did some club-level racing in the Midas Sport Clubmans Championship. Her 2016 season was a write-off, after she was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident at the end of 2015. 

Theresa Condict - SCCA racer who began her career in autocross, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer. She won a national championship in 2008, having already won various Ladies’ titles. In 2009, she was part of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Championship, having been selected from a large pool of aspiring drivers. She was 22nd in the championship, with a best finish of 15th, in New Jersey. After that, she returned to SCCA competition in a Honda, which she prepares herself, with her father.

Elna Croeser – normally races a VW Golf or Polo in South Africa. She has been involved in one-make series for Volkswagens for at least five years. She won her class in the Goldwagen Challenge in 2008, and has challenged for race wins in the Golf since, on many occasions. Previously, she raced single-seaters in Formula GTi. She took part in the African 6 Hours in 2014, not in a VW for once. Her car was a Shelby Can-Am, and she and her two team-mates were fourth. For the rest of the year, she raced a Polo in the Comsol VW Challenge. She continued to race the Polo in 2015. At the end of the year, she took part in the African 9 Hour endurance race.

Robyn Kruger - South African driver who usually races in Volkswagen one-make series. She began karting at five, and moved into circuit racing at fifteen, in the Super Hatch series. She won her class championship in the category in 2006 and 2007. The following year, she moved into the Engen Volkswagen Cup, and was fifteenth overall. In 2009, driving a Polo, she improved her finishing position to tenth, then ninth in 2011. In 2012, she was eleventh again, but achieved her first podium position, at Zwartkops. In 2013, her career went international. She travelled to Buddh in India for a guest appearance in the VW Polo R Cup, in which she was second. She was also selected for the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission’s VW Scirocco-R Shootout, and got to the final stage, finishing fourth overall. Her brother, Jeffrey Kruger, also races, and they sometimes compete directly against each other. In 2014, she raced less than previously, taking part in club Superhatch racing in the Polo. She scored at least one second place.   


(Image from http://blogs.timeslive.co.za/)

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Female Rally Drivers After 1950: Kenya


Stella Macharia and Helen Shiri

Kenya has a long history of motorsport, compared with most other African countries, although rallying is becoming more popular every year in many of them.
The Kenyan championship has a very healthy number of female competitors, most of whom have appeared in the last three years or so. However, even during the days of the first Coronation Safari Rally, female drivers have been a fixture on the scene. Then, they mostly came from colonial backgrounds. Now, most of them are from "local" Kenyan families. Their numbers are still growing.

Lucille Cardwell - Kenyan-based driver of the 1950s and 1960s. She specialised in African rallies, as a navigator and driver. As a navigator, she was third in Class E of the 1961 Safari, partnering Anne Hall. They competed again together in 1965. Lucille also co-drove for her husband on occasion. As a driver, she was fourth overall in 1964, driving a Mercedes with Jill Lead. She was also seventh in 1968, driving a Datsun. Lucille also won some ladies' track championships in Kenya in the late 1950s.


Caroline Gatimu - has been rallying in Kenya since 2012. For her first season, she drove a VW Golf, navigated by Linet Ayuko, but did not finish either of her events. Her first rally, the KCB Advantage Baking Rally, ended in her car getting stuck in mud. In 2013, she acquired a Toyota Levin, and together with Margaret Mungai, her new navigator, became “The Divas On Wheels”. She drove in four Kenyan events, with a best finish of 27th, in the Kajiado Rally. She was also 38th in the Nyeri Rally. The Divas entered the KCB Machackos Rally in 2014, in the Levin, and were 26th overall. They also drove in the Kiambu Rally, but the result is proving hard to track down. Caroline persevered with the Levin in 2015, and was 40th in the Guru Nanak Rally. Her co-driver this time was Saima Khan.

Stella Macharia - Kenyan driver active in the Kenyan and African championships. In 2012, she drove a Subaru Impreza in three rounds of the Kenyan series, co-driven by Helen Shiri. She finished two of her events, and her best finish was 35th in the KCB Asset Finance Rally. She was registered to compete in the 2013 championship, but had to miss the first round for unstated reasons. Her best result seems to have been 34th, in the KCB Nyeri Rally. Stella and Helen are supported by a cosmetics company.


Joan Nesbitt - has been rallying in Africa, mainly Kenya, since 2011. Her navigator is Tamara Jones, and they are known as the “Haraka Mamas”. Joan drives a Toyota Tercel. Their first event was the 2011 Safari Rally, which they did not finish. They also ran in that year’s Guru Nanak Rally and the S&L Mortgages Rally. In 2012, they made a second attempt at the Safari Rally, although it is unclear whether or not they finished. The story is the same for the Eldoret Rally and the Mtaani Rally, which they did enter. In 2013, they made a concerted effort at the Kenyan Championship, running in the 2WD class, despite being a self-funded team and not being able to complete all of the rounds. They were 36th in the Safari Rally, and had their best result in the Kilifi Rally, a 30th place. The Njeri Rally and the Kajiado Rally were not as fruitful, although they did finish the Njeri Rally in 35th.  The “Mamas” carried on in 2014, and completed one training rally, the Sikh Union Clubman Rally, at the beginning of the season. They were active in the Formule Club Series, and finished eighth in the second round, at Migaa Estate. Later, they were 29th in the KCB M-Benki Nanyuki Rally. 

Helen Shiri - erstwhile navigator, now driving in Kenyan rallies. She spent most of 2012 navigating for fellow Kenyan woman, Stella Macharia. At the beginning of 2013, they were still “together”, and took part in the Kajiado and Nyeri Rallies. Later in the year, Helen swapped seats, driving a Subaru Impreza in at least two rallies: the Pearl of Africa event in Uganda, and the Mountain Gorilla Rally in Rwanda. She does not appear to have finished the Mountain Gorilla Rally, but she was 18th overall in the Pearl of Africa, navigated by Tuta Mionki. In 2015, she entered the Safari Rally, in an Impreza, but did not finish. Her given name is also sometimes spelled “Hellen”. 

Meschell (Michelle) Van Tongeren - Kenyan driver who competed from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, initially in circuit racing. She has contested the Safari Rally five times, between 1999 and 2003. Her best finish was eighth in 2003, although the event was no longer a part of the WRC. Her car has been a Subaru Impreza on all occasions. From 1999 onwards, she finished in the top five of the Kenyan, Ugandan and Tanzanian rally championships, as well as recording top-five finishes in FIA African Championship rallies. After a long break, she returned to the stages in 2012. Using a Subaru Impreza, she was fourteenth in the Safari Rally. 


Natasha Tundo – started driving in rallies in 2015, after several years of co-driving. She and Chantal Young drove a Subaru Impreza STi in the Kenyan championship, under the team name “Rally Chix”. Natasha’s best finish was 19th, in the Nakuru Rally. She entered the Safari Rally earlier in the year, but had to retire. She was 32nd in the Kenyan championship. In 2016, she did a full season in the Kenyan championship, in the Impreza. Her best result was an eleventh place in the Safari Rally. Previously, as Natasha di Cangio, she navigated for Frank and Carl Tundo, her father and her brother, and Ugandan driver, Jas Mangat.

Phyllis Wambui - 2013 Kenyan Ladies’ champion. Her first event was the Eldoret (KCB Asset Finance) Rally in 2012, in which she drove a Toyota Levin. She was 37th. She also may have driven in the Guru Nanak Rally, but the result is not forthcoming. In 2013, she did seven rounds of the Kenyan championship, starting off in the Toyota, but upgrading to a Subaru Impreza for the second round, the Nyeri Rally. Sadly, she did not finish. After that, however, she got to the end of the rest of her events. Her best result was 19th, in the Kisumu Rally. She also entered the Safari Rally that year, finishing 35th. This was her first competition with her new navigator, Linet Ayujo. Phyllis also appeared at some motor shows, doing driving exhibitions. She was set to contest the Kenyan championship again in 2014, but does not appear to have competed. Her given name is also sometimes spelled “Phylis” or “Philis”.

(Picture from http://www.michezoafrika.com/commentary/warembo-bila-makeup-confident-ahead-of-kisumu-cruise/5861.aspx)

Friday, 24 January 2014

Female Rally Drivers after 1950: the Czech Republic


Martina Daňhelová, right, with her navigator, Martina Zikmundová

This particular corner of Eastern Europe seems to have a growing number of women participating in rallying. The Czech Women Talent driving competition, held in 2013, seems to be adding to this number.

Hana Bad’urová – Czech driver who competes in her home country in a variety of cars. She first appears in major Czech rallies in 2009, in a Skoda Fabia. In 2011, she drove a Felicia, but was excluded from the Partr Rally Vsetín. Between 2012 and 2014, she switched between a Skoda Favorit and a Honda Civic, and actually had her best finish in the Skoda: 16th overall in the Agrotec Petronas Syntium Rally Hustopeče. In 2015, she rallied a Honda Civic again, and was 61st overall in the Czech Rally Zlín. The same car and event combination followed in 2016, and she was 71st overall. She was third in that year's Czech ladies' championship. 

Lucie Červenková - winner of the Citroen-sponsored “Czech Women Talent” rally driver search in 2013. She took part in five Czech rallies, mostly sprint events, in a Citroen DS3 R1, and was second in the ladies' class of the Czech Sprintrally championship. Her best overall finish was 58th, in the Rally Jeseníky. Lucie’s prize was a season in the Czech junior championship, supported by Citroen. However, she did not take it up, having decided against a professional motorsport career. The prize went to Barbora Holická. Lucie does not appear to have competed at all since 2013. 

Miloslava Chomínová - driver from the former Czechoslovakia, active during the late 1970s and early 1980s. She drove a Skoda 110 R exclusively; Eastern Bloc drivers were restricted to Soviet cars. Her finishing record in local Czech events was good, with few retirements. Her best result came in 1980, when she was 16th in the Rallye Jičín. Her usual navigator was Anna Slavíková. After 1981, she disappears from the entry lists. A co-driver by the name of Miroslava Chomínová continues to rally until 1992. It is possible that these two women are the same person.

Martina Daňhelová (Jerhoto- one of the leading female drivers in Eastern Europe. She has been rallying since at least 2008. Her first car was a VW Polo, which she used for her first two seasons, in which she entered some rounds of the Czech Sprintrally Championship. In 2010, she expanded her programme of events, and took in some longer stage rallies, including the Rallye Český Krumlov. She suffered a bit with reliability that year. Her last event, the Rally Jeseníky, was done in a Honda Civic, and she was 51st. The Polo returned to service for much of the 2011 season, in which Martina did her first European Rally Cup event (the Rallye Český Krumlov), and her first rally outside the Czech Republic (the Thüringen Rally, in Germany). She was 38th in both, her best-ever overall finish. Her other events gave her a few decent class positions. For the last two Czech Sprintrally events of the season, she switched to Renault Clio, and continued her good class finishes. In 2012, she used both the Polo and the Clio, although the Clio was more reliable. Her best finish was 35th, third in class, in the Rally Agropa, in the Clio. Her biggest rally was the Barum Czech Rally Zlín, part of the IRC. She drove the Civic and was 63rd overall, sixth in class. At the end of the season, she also drove an Alfa Romeo 147 at the Rallyshow Uherský Brod, although the event was cancelled after first stage, following a serious accident.
Her cars for 2013 were the Clio, and the 147, which she drove for two different teams. The 147 was mainly used for the Sprintrally championship, in which her best result was 29th, with a class win, at the Rally Agropa. She made another foray into the rest of Europe - the International Jänner Rallye in Austria, in the Clio. She was 48th overall, third in class. Her best result also came from driving the Clio: she was 24th in the Rally Bohemia and won her class. The rally was an ERC round. A second attempt at the Barum Czech Rally Zlín gave her 36th, and third in class. In 2014, rallied the Clio in the Czech Republic, with one European outing, the Jänner Rallye. She was 40th. She entered two European Trophy rallies in the Czech Republic: a rear axle broke on the Barum event, and she was 21st in the Hustopeče Rally. She achieved her best results in sprint rallies, and won her class in the Czech Sprintrally Championship. Her car for 2015 was a Clio, and she was second in the ERC Ladies' Cup, after her class win and 42nd place in the Jänner Rally in Austria. The rest of the year was spent in the Czech championship. 2016 saw a reduced programme for Martina, who drove a Clio in the Krumlov Rally, and was 46th. 

Barbora Holická - active in European competition since 2013. She was part of the Czech Women Talent rallying contest, using a Citroen DS3, and appears to have been the runner-up in the competition. Her first rally was actually in Germany - the Thüringen Rally, in which she drove a Dacia Logan to 48th place, eighth in class. After that, she concentrated on the Czech Sprintrally championship, usually in the Dacia, although she did use a Skoda Fabia in one event. She won class 10 twice, at the Ferrodo Matrix Rally Kostelec nad Orlicí and the Rally Jeseníky. Her best overall result was 44th, in the Rally Slušovice, a round of the main Czech championship. In 2014, she carried on rallying the Citroen in Czech rallies, including the Barum and Hustopeče events. Her best result was 35th, in the RallyČeský Krumlov. Another season in the Czech championship in 2015, driving the DS3, gave her a best finish of 44th, in the Šumava Klatovy Rally. She was the 2016 Czech ladies' champion, although gearbox troubles affected her DS3 mid-season. Her best overall finish was 57th, in the Krumlov Rally. 

Olga Lounová - active in Czech rallies since 2011. From then until 2013, her car was a Renault Clio. She mainly competes in sprint rallies, but has also attempted some major events, including the Barum Czech Rally Zlín, in which she was 64th, in 2012. This was her best result of that season. In 2013, her best finish was 31st in the Rally Bohemia, another European event. This was a highlight in a year plagued by mechanical issues. In 2014, exchanged the Clio for a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, and drove in Czech and Slovak rallies, mostly rallysprints. Her best result was 32nd, in the Pražský Rallysprint. In 2015, she rallied this car, and a Subaru Impreza, in Czech events. She won her class in the Rally Bohemia, and was 42nd overall. Her 2016 car was the Lancer, which she drove in rallysprints, with varying results. The most impressive of these was an eleventh place in a round of the GPD Rallydrive series. Away from the rally stages, she is better known as a singer and musical theatre performer in the Czech Republic.

Michaela Maňovská – active since 2001 in the Czech championship, although she has been involved with rallying since the late 1980s. In 2002, she mostly took part in the Czech Sprintrally championship, usually in a VW Polo, although she did also rally in Slovakia and Spain. In 2003 and 2004, she used the Civic and a Skoda Fabia, driving in the Sprintrally championship, and some bigger events. Both of those seasons, she took part in the Barum Rally Zlín, with a best finish of 62nd in 2005, in the Civic. A break from competition followed, but she returned in 2011, driving a Ford Fiesta in the Czech Rallye Cup. The following year, she acquired a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, in which she achieved her first top-ten finishes. The best of these was a ninth place in the Rallye Svetlá nad Sázavou. In 2013, she managed another ninth place, in the Rallye České Středoří, but her season was affected by a lack of finances. After this, she has concentrated on drifting, and historic rallies, in a number of cars.

Pávlina Tydlačková - Czech driver who has been active since 2011. She initially got into motorsport through her husband. Her first car was an unreliable Suzuki Swift, and she only finished three of her seven rallies. One was in a Skoda Fabia; the Uherský Brod Rally Show. She was 33rd. In 2012, she mainly used this car in the Czech Sprintrally Championship, although the Ignis also came out for some action. She was third in Class Seven, with a best overall finish of 70th, in the Rally Vrchovina. In 2013, she moved back to the Ignis, which was now more trustworthy. Her best result was 37th in the Valašská Rally, and winning class seven. She was seventh overall in the Class Seven Sprintrally championship. She also took part in the Czech Women Talent rallying contest, in a Citroen DS3, but was not one of the winners, despite winning one of the challenges. In 2014, she drove a Skoda Fabia in rallysprints in the Czech Republic. Despite a shaky start to her season, with two retirements, she won her class in the Czech Sprintrally championship. Her best finish was 58th, in the Barum Rally and the Rally Vyškov. In 2015, she won her class in the Czech Rallysprint series, driving the Fabia. She won her class three times, and had a best overall finish of 51st, in the Rally Vyškov. For stage rallies in 2016, she continued to drive the Fabia, scoring four class wins in Czech sprint rallies, and winning the national Class 10 title. She also entered some of the GPD Rallydrive sprint series in a Subaru Impreza, and had a best finish of twelfth. 


Eva Vykydalová - has rallied extensively in the Czech Republic, and occasionally elsewhere, since 2003. She usually competes in sprint rallies. Her first car was a Honda Civic, which she used between 2003 and 2005, when she upgraded it to a Renault Clio. This car gave her her first top twenty finish, twelfth in the 2005 Rally of Bratislava. In 2007, she managed two more top-twenty positions, 16th in the Rally Hořovice and 18th in the Rally Kralovice. In 2008, she scored her first top ten: sixth in the Erzetka Lážovice. In more recent years, her finishes have been in the lower half of midfield, still in the Clio. In 2012, she did her first rally raid, the Dubai Desert Challenge, and in 2013, attempted to enter the Silk Way Rally. 


(Picture from http://www.ewrc.cz/ewrc/show.php?id=12225)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Racing Mothers


Stirling Moss with his parents, Aileen and Alfred.
There are many examples of fathers and sons racing: Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, or Graham and Damon Hill spring to mind. However, there are also mothers who passed their love of speed onto their sons and daughters. Here are some of them.

Melanie Snow - became the first mother to race alongside her own son in major sportscar races in the US. She and her son Madison, who was only sixteen at the time, both won their respective classes in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge in May 2012. They were in two different Porsche 911s. In 2013, they joined forces for the Daytona 24 Hours. Alongside Sascha Maassen, Marko Seefried and Klaus Bachler, they were 19th overall, 11th in class. Their car was a Porsche 887 GT3 Cup. Melanie’s son Mckay, Madison’s brother, is a karter and member of the family team.

Lieve Thiron - more than ten years earlier than Melanie Snow, Lieve drove a Porsche 996 GT3 in the 2001 Zolder 24 Hours with her son, Mathieu Geerinckx. Her husband, Mathieu’s father Dirk Geerinckx, was also part of the team. They were thirteenth. Lieve and Mathieu competed together occasionally until 2003, when she retired. Their best result together was tenth, in the 2002 Zolder 24 Hours.

Micki Chittenden - Micki is a member of the Vandervell family, who raced saloons in the 1970s, often in BWRDC-associated events. Her daughters are Tiffany Chittenden and Tamsin Germain, who are both karters. Tiffany is the more successful of the two, and has also done some single-seater racing in the UK and New Zealand.

Aileen Moss - drove a Marendaz, mostly in rallies and trials, in the 1930s. She was married to Alfred Moss, who drove in the 1924 Indianapolis 500. Her children are more famous: Formula One driver Sir Stirling Moss, one of the most successful drivers never to be world champion, and Pat Moss-Carlsson, multiple rally winner in the 1960s.

Elsie “Bill” Wisdom - Brooklands race-winner and rally driver, Elsie Wisdom, was mother to Ann Wisdom, who is best-known for being Pat Moss-Carlsson’s navigator in the early part of her career. After her marriage to Peter Riley, Ann occasionally navigated for him, too.

Judy Lyons - competes in historic Formula One in the UK against both her stepson, Michael, and her husband, Frank.

Monique Proulx - raced in single-seaters up to Formula Atlantic level in Canada in the 1970s, as well as sportscars, including a Chevrolet Camaro, in Trans-Am events. Her son, Stephane, was a promising single-seater driver, a rival to Jacques Villeneuve as Canada’s next Formula One hope. He died in 1987 from racing injuries. He also had HIV and was in poor health at the time.

Alexandra Hammersley - rally driver of the 1950s, who used a Peugeot 203 and a Lancia Aurelia, among others. Her daughter, Genevieve Hammersley, was a rally navigator. Unusually, she read the maps for her own mother.

(Picture from http://www.perbeer.dk/quiz/quiz3.htm)