Saturday, 24 October 2015

Barbara Cowell (Babbage)


The Kimber-Smith/Cowell Corolla in 1987


Barbara raced in the British Touring Car Championship in 1988 and 1989.

The first award she won in the world of motorsport was a first place in a fancy dress car parade at Long Eaton stock car track, in 1973. Barbara dressed up as a mermaid on a car sheeted up as rocks, next to driver Tony Allen, who was Neptune.

The Long Eaton track was the scene of her first driving exploits, too, as a junior driver in Ministox. She progressed through the junior and senior ranks, and by 1978, when she was twenty, she was the British Mini-Rod champion. Three years later, in 1981, she was British, European and World Mini-Rod champion.

As she had won almost everything she could in short-oval Mini-Rods, it was a natural progression into long circuit racing in a Mini in 1982. She entered the Mini Seven championship, and was eleventh overall in her first year. This was enough to earn her the Novices award.

In 1983, she moved steadily up the Mini racing ranks, and ended the year as the Lydden Hill Mini Seven champion. In 1984, she was second in the overall championship, winning herself the BWRDC’s Embassy Trophy, and their Racing championship trophy.

For the next few seasons, Barbara raced different cars in the Uniroyal Production Saloon championship. She received support from Gerry Marshall, who prepared her Fiat Strada in 1985, and later provided her with a Vauxhall Astra GTE. She enjoyed some success in these cars, but it was in a Suzuki Swift that she really shone, winning Class D in 1987 with five victories. This gave her second overall in the championship. One of her wins was a two-driver enduro at the end of the season, at Brands Hatch, and she shared the car with Geoff Kimber-Smith. In September, the same driver pairing tackled the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone, a round of the International Touring Car Championship. They drove a Toyota Corolla, but did not finish.

Following on from her Production Saloon wins and ITC experience, it was a logical step for Barbara to test herself further in the British Touring Car Championship.

Her 1988 BTCC season started with the two-driver enduro at Donington, sharing Geoff Kimber-Smith’s Toyota Corolla again. They were fourteenth overall, and won their class. Later in the season, she used a Ford Escort RS1600i run by the North Essex Motorsport team. She was 19th in the Brands Hatch 1000km support race, second in class, but then did not make it to the finish at Snetterton or Brands. She did not qualify for the Birmingham Superprix street race, but it was cancelled anyway, but then the same happened at Donington. In the last race of the season, at Silverstone, she was 18th overall.

That year, she also found time for some Production Saloon races, in a BMW M3. Her best result seems to have been a class win at Castle Combe.

In 1989, she renewed her partnership with Kimber-Smith and the Corolla for one race, at Donington, but did not finish due to a misfire. Illness limited her activities this year, and it was her only BTCC race.

After 1989, she raced less, but she remained competitive in Production Saloons. She took a year off in 1990 to set up a performance driving school, and to marry Peter Babbage. Now competing as Barbara Babbage, she raced the Swift again in 1991, achieving some more top-ten overall finishes.

In 1993, she raced in the Willhire 24 Hours in a Honda Civic. She was part of an all-female team with Clare Redgrave and Kirsten Kolby. They were fourth. They apparently took part in two other enduros that year, with similar success, but the results are not forthcoming.

In either 1993 or 1994, she raced a Peugeot 106 in Production Saloons, scoring at least one second place at Silverstone. 1994 was her last season; it was becoming increasingly difficult for Barbara to find the sponsorship needed to compete at a level of which she was capable. She retired and started a family. In 1994, she became one of the first women to be given full membership of the British Racing Drivers’ Club.


(Image from http://www.ae86drivingclub.com.au/forums)

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Women Drivers in One-Make Series: Croatia


Alenka Jurašić

Croatia is home to a surprising number of one-make Speedqueens. The Skoda Fabia Cup of the mid-2000s was a favoured series among female drivers.

Alenka Jurašić – Croatian driver who competed in the Skoda Fabia Cup in the 2000s. She first raced in the series in 2005, with a best finish of eighth, at Grobnik. In 2006, she was a regular top-five finisher, and the best of the four regular female drivers that year. She was not quite as competitive in 2007, although she did repeat her fourth place at Pozega. At the same time, and for some years previously, she was active in the discipline of auto-slalom, and won three Croatian championships. She has been competing on and off in Croatia since at least 1998, when she was eighth in the Clio Cup. In 1999, she enjoyed some success in a Peugeot 106, and she has also raced in the Croatian touring car championship.

Mirna Kljucaricek - drove a Skoda Fabia in Croatian road races in 2007. She was part of the Billa Ladies Racing Team with Diana Markt. They were competing in the Skoda Fabia Cup series. Mirna was tenth in the championship, with a best finish of sixth, at Dugopolje.

Tajana Koren - Croatian who races a variety of saloon cars in Europe, including in the Skoda Fabia Cup in 2005, in Croatia. She began racing in 1996, driving in the Clio Cup. She then spent part-seasons in the Skoda and Citroen Saxo Cups, in Croatia and Italy, in the case of the Saxo series. Her best result in Italy was eleventh. In Croatia, she scored some podium positions. In 2001, she switched to the Ford Focus Cup, where she remained until 2005, usually doing part-seasons. Her best championship result was seventh, in 2001. Following a break after the 2005 season, she drove in some rounds of the Alpine Renault Clio championship in 2009. She was 16th overall.  

Dina Marenić – raced in the INA Skoda Fabia Cup between 2005 and 2007. During her first season, her best finish was twelfth, at Grobnik. Her second year in the championship was better, and she reached the top ten on three occasions, the best of these being a seventh place, again at Grobnik. She was third in a ladies’ race at Zagreb. At Grobnik again, she improved her best finishing place to sixth in 2008. During this time, she competed in hillclimbs in the Fabia, as well as circuit races. She appears to have got her start in motorsport via rallying, having finished 24th in the Croatia Rally in 2004, driving a Fiat Seicento.  

Diana Markt - races in Croatia. She took part in the Skoda Fabia Cup in 2007. She drove for the Billa Ladies’ Racing Team with Mirna Kljucaricek, and usually out-scored her team-mate. She had been active in the series since 2005, usually finishing midfield. Her best result was second in a women's race, in Zagreb, in 2006.

Martina Mihok – raced in the Skoda Fabia Cup in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, she was slightly behind the other female drivers, and was fourth in the Ladies’ race. Her best overall finish was eleventh, at Dugopolje. As well as racing, she won her class in a women-only “Sesvete Rally”. In 2007, she visited the top ten twice: eighth at Pozega and tenth at Grobnik. The same year, she did some hillclimbs in the same car, but was not really successful. After that, she appears to have stayed involved with motorsport, although she became a mother to a seriously ill child some time before 2013, when a charity motor show was organised for her.

Ivana Vidanec – active in Croatian one-make motorsport since at least 2002, when she raced a Skoda Fabia in circuit races and slalom events. In 2003, she raced in the Ford Focus Cup, with a best finish of thirteenth, at Grobnik. She was 21st in the championship. A second season saw her improve a little, managing an eleventh at Grobnik, but she was still only 23rd overall. That year, she also did some hillclimbs in the Focus, and was involved in street racing in a Honda Civic (possibly drifting). She does not appear to have raced since then.


(Image from http://riautosport.hr/)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Female Rally Drivers After 1950: Russia


Anastasia Mironova, second left, collects awards from the Karelia State Championship with her team-mates.

Russia has produced quite a lot of female rally drivers, and there are several active at the moment, in Russia and internationally. Language barriers make it difficult to research all of their careers.

Elena Baikova - Russian driver active since at least 2010. She rallies a Subara Impreza almost exclusively, and competes in Russia mainly, with a few excursions to Belarus. 2012 seems to have been her best season: she achieved two top ten positions. The first was an eighth place in the Rally Zolotye Kupola, and the second was a ninth in the Rally Rostov Velikiy. That year, she was ranked 73rd in the Russian championship. In subsequent years, she has come up against reliability problems, and has been less consistent. Her best result in 2014 was 20th, in the Rally Peno. She drove in six rounds of the Russia Cup, finishing three of them. Her cars were an Impreza, Citroen Saxo and Volkswagen Polo. In 2015, she rallied a Subaru Impreza, but did not finish the Pushkinskye Gory Rally. She tried again with the car in the 2016 Rallye Belye Nochi, but retired after an off-road excursion. 

Elena Golubkina – took part in stage rallies in Russia in the 2000s, starting in 2005. Her first car was a Citroen Saxo, and she remained loyal to the Citroen marque for several seasons. During her first year, her best result was an eighth place, in the Rally Ermak. She was also tenth in the Rally Vyatka, and later in the season, driving a C2, won her class in the Novorossiysk Rally. In 2006 and 2007, she mostly drove a C2, and although she did not reach the heights of the top ten, she was 30th in the 2007 Rally Russia, an IRC round. After a shorter season in 2008, she seems to have switched to cross-country rallying, in Russia and Asia. She was 25th in the 2010 Silk Way Rally, driving a Mitsubishi, and was 50th in the 2011 event, in the same vehicle. 

Galina Grokhovskaya - campaigned a Lada in Finland and (presumably) the Soviet Union, between 1989 and 1994. Her best result in Finland was 40th, in 1994, despite her car being slow. Unlike some former Soviet drivers, she appeared to be a self-funded privateer. Occasionally she co-drove for other drivers, including Vladimir Turov in Finland in 1992.

Anastasia Mironova - a regular in Russian rallies since 2012. Her car has, so far, always been a Ford Fiesta. In 2012, her best result was 17th, in the St. Petersburg Rally. The following year, she improved this to a 15th place, on the same rally. She scored two top-twenty finishes in 2014, thirteenths at Vyborg and Yakkima. Her favoured surface appears to be gravel, but she has run well in snow rallies, too. Her co-driver is usually Alexey Krylov. She also competed in some rounds of the Russian ice-racing championship in 2013. Driving a VAZ 211200, she scored a tenth and an eleventh place in the SZZ Cup, in the St. Petersburg rounds. She was also 20th overall in the Russian 1600 Cup, but her race results are not forthcoming. Between 2010 and 2013, she participated in several karting championships, at home and in Russia. In 2015, she rallied a Ford Fiesta in Russia and Belarus, finishing in the top ten twice, in the Vyborg and St Petersburg Rallies. She was fourteenth in the 2016 Russian championship, in the Fiesta. Normally, she was in the top twenty finishers, and her best overall position was a tenth place in the Rally Ekover. 

Elena Sarieva – has made occasional starts in Russian rallies since 2006, although often as a course car, rather than a competitor. She drove a Mitsubishi Lancer in the Gukovo Rally in 2006, but did not finish, due to problems with the car’s cooling system. In 2012, she drove in the Rally of Latvia, in another Mitsubishi Lancer. She does not appear to have finished. Her most recent appearance was in 2013, when she drove a Subaru Impreza as the course car in the Rally Masters Show, in Russia.

(Image from https://vk.com/wall-70377477?offset=80)

Friday, 16 October 2015

Marie Laurent


Marie with her Aseptogyl-sponsored Hemicuda in 1974

Marie Laurent was a French driver who was most known for her membership of Team Aseptogyl, and her performances on-track in a Chrysler Hemicuda in the 1970s.

She first appears on the entry lists in 1970, competing in hillclimbs, although details of this are sketchy. Her car is a Simca.

Next, she raced on the circuits, winning the French Simca Challenge in 1971. Her car was a CG Proto. Early in the season, she raced the car in some rounds of the Championnat des Circuits in France, finishing fifth at Albi, and tenth in the Coupe de Printemps at Montlhéry. As well as providing her with her first championship, the Challenge brought her into contact with Jean-Claude Géral, the 1970 winner, who sold her a 1970 Hemi-engined Plymouth Barracuda, known as a Hemicuda and used to great effect by the French Chrysler team.  The pair raced the car together at least once, at Magny-Cours, during a round of the Championnat des Circuits.  Driving solo, later in the season, she was third at Paul Ricard and second at Montlhéry in the Hemicuda, behind Géral both times.

In 1972, she drove the enormous, 7000cc Hemicuda in the Championnat des Circuits. Although she was unable to match the dominant sportscars of the series, she was one of the front-runners in Group 6 and the National section. She won at least one race, the Coupe de Salon on the old Montlhéry circuit, and was second in at least one other, behind Frank Alesi in a Chevrolet Camaro. As well as the Championnat, she competed in hillclimbs, finishing second in class at Mont Ventoux and third overall at Chamrousse, in the Hemicuda. 

The results for the National part of the 1973 Championnat des Circuits are proving very hard to find. It seems likely that Marie raced the Hemicuda in at least some of the rounds. Hillclimbing was definitely still on her agenda, and she competed at Ampus in a Ford Capri, finishing in 39th place.

For the first part of 1974, she was once more one of the front-runners in the Championnat des Circuits. She was second in the Group 1 race at Montlhéry, fourth at Nogaro, then second again at Montlhéry, after a battle with Marie-Claude Beaumont and Henri Greder, both in Opel Commodores. Apart from one more non-finish at Montlhéry, her season in the series ended there. The Hemicuda was not the force it once was, compared to the Alfa Romeos and Opel Commodores that now dominated. She was tenth in the championship.

Despite the big American car being a little outdated on the circuits, it still remained competitive on the hills. This year, Marie competed in hillclimbs as part of Team Aseptogyl, Bob Neyret’s all-female, toothpaste-promoting rally and race team. For the Tour de France, she paired up with another Aseptogyl driver, Marianne Hoepfner, in an Alpine A310. They were thirteenth, and won the Coupe des Dames.

In June, she was part of another all-female team, for Le Mans this time. She was part of Christine Beckers’ Ecurie Seiko Scato, sponsored by a watch firm. The other team members were Christine Beckers herself, and Yvette Fontaine, both Belgian. Their car was a Chevron B23. They were seventeenth, and won the 2000cc class, which was the best finish for an all-female team since the 1930s.

After 1974, she raced less frequently. Despite her success, she did not return to Le Mans, and Team Aseptogyl concentrated more on rallying as the 1970s progressed. She took part in some occasional road races and hillclimbs, in different cars. In 1977, she was 29th in the Ronde Cévenole, driving an Alpine 1300. The latest result available for her is a 20th place in the 1979 Mont Dore hillclimb. Unusually, she was in a single-seater, a Ralt RT1.

Some time around then, she married Jean-Pierre Gabreau, another racing driver, and had a daughter. She died in 2015, at the age of 71, after having been ill for a long time.

(Image from http://club.caradisiac.com/motor-head)

Monday, 12 October 2015

Rosadele Facetti


Rosadele Facetti in 1969

Rosadele Facetti was an Italian driver who raced in Formula 3 in the late 1960s.

Rosadele had the advantage of being born into a motor-racing family. Her father, Piero, had worked as a racing mechanic in the early days of Formula One, for the likes of Alberto Ascari and Piero Taruffi. Her two brothers, Giuliano and Carlo, also raced. (Carlo went on to be very successful.) Rosadele and Carlo sometimes raced together, and against each other.

References are made to her having begun her career in 1962, in touring cars. The Facetti family was often associated with Lancia cars, so her first car may well have been one of them. However, her age seems to suggest that she was not active until somewhat later, as she is described as being only twenty years old in 1966, in other sources. The results of any touring car championship held in the early 1960s in Italy are not forthcoming. In 1965, her name starts to appear in the entry lists for hillclimbs. In 1965, she was ninth overall in the Malegno-Borno climb, driving a Lancia Fulvia, just two-and-a-half seconds below her brother, Giuliano, in an Alfa Romeo. She won the class for 1150cc touring cars. The same year, she is also pictured taking part in the Sarezzo-Lumezzane hillclimb. She won the first of two consecutive Italian women’s championships that year.

The family received delivery of a Lancia Fulvia 2C in 1966, which was raced that year by Rosadele. She was active once more in hillclimbs, and is recorded as having finished fourth in class in the Coppa Teodori.

In 1967, she made her first major international appearance, and her first races in a formula car. Her brother, Carlo, had become involved with Tecno single-seaters the previous season, and in 1967, they both drove Tecno TF/66s for Scuderia Madunina. Their racing schedule included the Argentine Formula 3 championship. Rosadele was 20th in her first race at Mar del Plata, but during the second, was involved in a serious accident in which spectators were killed. She was not badly injured herself, but played no further role in the championship.

The accident at Mar del Plata must have been quite traumatic for her, but she did not give up, and rarely, if ever, spoke about it to the press. In 1968, she went back to driving Lancia GT cars, and entered the Targa Florio. She and Pat Moss were sharing a Lancia Fulvia HF. The two women, both from motoring families and with famous racing brothers, got on very well. Rosadele later spoke about her esteem for Pat, who shared some of her driving tips and tricks. They were 19th overall and ninth in class.

Rosadele was less visible in 1969, although she carried on competing in a Fulvia, often in hillclimbs. This continued into 1970, when she won her class in the La Castellana-Orvieto climb and the Coppa Teodori.

In 1971, she entered the Italian Group 4 championship, driving a 1300cc Fulvia. She was eleventh in the Trieste-Opicina hillclimb and 21st in the Trento-Bondone climb. She entered the Cesana-Sestriere event, but did not finish. In a rare circuit outing, she was third in the Lombardi AC Trophy 1300 race, at Monza, at the end of the season.   

The following year, she had a second run in the Targa Florio. Moving out of her comfort zone once more, she shared an Opel Commodore with Marie-Claude Beaumont. They did not finish, due to an engine problem during their second lap, whilst Rosadele was driving.

The rest of her sporting year was quite similar to 1971. She drove a Fulvia in some of the hillclimb rounds of the Italian championship, and was eleventh in Group 4 in the Trieste-Opicina event. This was the best of her three finishes that year, driving for the Jolly Club team. She did enter the Rieti-Terminillo hillclimb in an Opel GT for the Conrero team, with whom she raced in the Targa Florio. For reasons unknown, she did not make the start.

1973 saw the Italian touring car championship becoming a circuit-based series, and Rosadele did not enter that year. She was only really happy when driving uphill on twisty mountain roads; it is unusual that she did not take to rallying. She remained active in hillclimbing, and was second in the Group 4 class of the Malegno-Borno climb, in her usual Fulvia. She was one place below Erasmo Bologna, who would become her husband.  

After this, she fades from the scene, although she is mentioned as being involved in supporting her brothers in their racing endeavours.

During her career, Rosadele sometimes used the nom de course of “Faros”.

(Image copyright Actualfoto)

Friday, 9 October 2015

Women Drivers in International Formula 3000


Giovanna Amati

Formula 3000 was the official second-level single-seater championship, below Formula One, from 1985 until 2004. For most of its history, it was considered the final stepping stone to F1.

Even fewer women drivers have raced in Formula 3000 than in Formula One. By the time F3000 was established, racing even in the lower formulae was becoming professional. Numbers of women racing single-seaters internationally were falling, although sportscar and touring car racing continued to include several female drivers.

Below is a list of the women who raced in Formula 3000, with a basic resume of their performance.

1986
Cathy Muller (Lola T86/50-Cosworth/March 86B Cosworth) – unplaced (8 races, qualified for 5)

1987
Giovanna Amati (Lola T87/50-Cosworth) – unplaced (3 races, qualified for 1)

1988
Giovanna Amati (Lola T88/50-Cosworth) – unplaced (8 races, qualified for 4)
Cathy Muller (Ralt RT20-Cosworth) – unplaced (1 race, did not qualify)

1990
Giovanna Amati (Reynard 90D-Cosworth/Mugen) – unplaced (10 races, qualified for 2)
Ellen Lohr (Lola T90/50-Cosworth) (1 race, did not qualify)

1991
Giovanna Amati (Reynard 91D-Cosworth) – unplaced (10 races, qualified for 7)

(Image copyright dpa Picture-Alliance)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Inessa Tushkanova


Inessa in 2015

Inessa Tushkanova is a driver and co-driver from Ukraine, now based in Russia. A quick Google image search for her would suggest that she is one of the models parachuted into motorsport from time to time, in order to promote something or someone. Although Inessa has modelled professionally, she is the real deal as a rally driver.

Inessa took part in various sports as a teenager, and rode a motorcycle from a young age. In 2006, she took her first steps in rallying, driving a Daewoo Sens in Russian club rallies. A couple of months after passing her driving test, the boyfriend of one of her friends was organising one of these rallies. Inessa and her friend Tatiana had the idea of entering as an all-girl team. She won a bronze medal in one of the club championships she entered, which was a good debut, especially since she and Tatiana were excluded from one of their first rallies, after oversleeping and turning up late.

After her small successes in 2006, she started entering bigger rallies as a navigator in 2007. Sitting alongside her fellow Ukrainian driver, Ivan German, she was not successful. She took the wheel herself in 2008, in a Subaru Impreza. Immediately, she impressed in Ukrainian rallies, finishing second in the Rally Boyarka. She also recorded two more top-ten finishes in Stolitsa Cup events: seventh in the Rally Stolitsa and ninth in the Mariupol Rally.

Quieter years followed in 2009 and 2010, although she did manage a sixth in the 2010 Rally Bukovyna, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The year before, she had been 24th in the Bukovyna Rally, in the Impreza.  2010 saw her expand her motorsport repertoire from straight stage rallies, and she was third in class in an ice slalom in Lithuania in 2010.

If 2010 was a quiet year, then 2011 was a busy one for Inessa. She continued to branch out, into circuit racing. Her chosen championship was the Russian Mitjet Cup, a one-make series. She was on the pace very quickly, and won two races that year, at Smolensk, and Kazan in Poland.

Non-motorsport activities placed additional demands on her time. Her modelling career, which she had pursued since her teenage years, took off quite strongly this year. Although she achieved considerable success, she has claimed that she only did it to raise money for her rallying.

Rallying was still very much a priority. She mostly used the Lancer in 2011, and competed quite extensively in the Baltic countries. Her best finish was 18th, and sixth in class, in the Rally Vilnius in Lithuania. In December, she tried out a Renault Clio for the Babórka Rally in Poland, and was 26th out of 69 finishers.

Back in the Lancer, this pattern continued in 2012, with her activities concentrated again in the Baltic states, although she also competed in Russia and Poland. Her best finish was fourteenth, in the Russian Rally Masters Show, won by Evgeniy Novikov. She scored another top twenty finish in the Vilnius Rally. While she was in Lithuania, and working with a Lithuanian navigator, Irina Jankovskaya, she competed in some rallysprints at Shirvintos, earning two third places. This year saw her first European Championship event, the Rally Poland, in which she was 29th, and fourth in class.

In 2013, she initially switched her focus to western Europe, rallying in Finland and Italy, but was let down by car unreliability with the Lancer. She crashed out of the Arctic Rally, and did not finish the Itäralli in Finland, or the Italian Ronde Valtiberina either. After her Western adventure, she went back to a Subaru Impreza for one rally in Russia, the Rally Masters Show, in which she was 18th. The rest of the season was spent in the Russia Cup, driving a VW Polo. Her best result was tenth, in the Rally Gornuy Vershiniy. At some point this year, she also won a Time Attack event at Zandvoort, in the Netherlands.

In 2014, she competed mainly across Eastern Europe, with mixed results. She was excluded from the Rally of Estonia, and did not finish the Barum Rally, due to a crash. Her best finish was a 26th, in the Tarttu Rally, in Estonia. She scored two points in the ERC Production Cup. This year, she won her first European Ladies’ Cup, in the Rally Liepāja in Latvia.

She won another ERC Ladies’ Cup in 2015, again in the Liepāja Rally. She was 39th overall. This year, she was entered in the ERC2 class, and the Liepāja event gave her a ninth place in ERC2. This was her second rally of the year, after the Halls Winter Rally in Lithuania, which was not part of the ERC. She was sixth overall, the best result of her season. A run in the Pohjanmaa Rally in Finland gave her a 62nd place, but after that, her season started to go wrong. She crashed out of her first Circuit of Ireland, then did not finish the Harju Rally in Estonia, and Rally Estonia itself. She was set to change her Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX for a Renault Clio, for the Acropolis Rally, but this does not appear to have happened, and she did not rally in Greece.. She was third in the ERC Ladies’ Trophy.

2016 was a very quiet year in contrast. She drove a Lada Kalina in the St Petersburg Rally, but did not finish. Other than that, she remained very much under the radar.

Inessa intends to continue in rallying, and her programme usually seems to take her further and further afield each year.

(Image from www.drive.net)