It has been the policy of this journal to draw attention to various aspects and phases of motorracing which, to us, have appeared to be detrimental to the interests of the sport. Very often the publication of these admonitions and warnings has brought down a storm of criticism on our innocent heads, but happily we have emerged from the ensuing conflicts bloody, but unbowed. Nay, more, the subsequent course of events has proved us to be right in our forebodings, thus placing us in the potential position of that detestable type of person who glories in saying ” I told you so ! “
But human nature being what it is, we intend on this occasion to say as loudly as possible the phrase most calculated to arouse murderous feelings in the hearts of our opponents. The cause of this self-complacency is the fact that the Brooklands authorities have ceased to recognise
a special Ladies Lap Record for the Outer Circuit, a decision which we advocated on this page in the teeth of the fiercest feminine opposition, . so long ago as 1934. We called the article ” A Record We Don’t Like,” and in holding that view we were supported by a mere handful of people. Our reasons could be summed up in the following paragraph, which we quote at length :—
” The only motoring records necessary are the existing World’s, International Class, and lap records, open to the fastest cars of various sizes. It is not unfair to expect women to compete for these records on a level footing with men Mrs. Gwenda Stewart has proved that a woman can drive a car just as fast, if not faster, than a man.”
Our readers probably need no reminding that Mrs.
Stewart, in addition to holding the absolute lap record for the Montlhery piste de vitesse, also owns the Class E Outer Circuit record at Brooklands, while Mrs. K. Petre held, for a short space of time, the Class F Mountain Circuit record.
Well, the Brooklands Committee appears to have heeded our warning, and we hope that all those nasty things that were said about us at the time will be mentally withdrawn.
And now, having vented our spite to the full, let us review, very briefly, the truly remarkable group of lady-drivers who grace our racing circuits. To avoid complications, we will say at once that the order in which we mention them is purely haphazard, and not based on merit. Mrs. Stewart holds the Montlhery lap record at 147 m.p.h., and has lapped Brooklands at 136 m.p.h., both performances being absolutely phenomenal. Mrs. Petre has driven the 0-litre Delage round Brooklands at 134 m.p.h., a speed which Cobb and Bertram were unable to improve upon materially with the same car. Her Ladies’ Record at Shelsley Walsh was accom plished at a masterly speed, and she has shown herself the equal of men drivers on the Mountain Circuit. Miss Doreen Evans has displayed an astonishing degree of unflurried skill in her racing appearances to date, and in this respect is vastly superior to many of the mere males who get so very excited at
Brooklands and elsewhere. Miss Fay Taylour is seen all too rarely, but has shown
that she can more than hold her own with the front rank British men drivers. Mrs. Wisdom, too, has established herself as a skilful driver. So there they are, fine drivers all of them. May they break plenty of records in the coming season!
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LETTERS FROM READERS, April 1972
LETTERS FROM READERS N.B.—Opinions expressed are those of our Correspondents and MOTOR SPORT does not necessarily associate itself with them.—ED.