LADY competition drivers
LADV competition drivers
[The women did pretty well in motor racing before the war and by 1936 even the cautious Brooklands’ authorities permitted them to compete on a level basis with the men. There was Gwenda Hawkes who was faster round Montlhery in the 2-litre Derby-Miller than John Cobb was round Brooklands in 24 litres of Napier-Railton, Kay Petre who looked exceedingly feminine but tamed such fierce cars as the old Viz is:4-litre Delage and E.R.A., etc., ” Bill ” Wisdom who nonchalantly controlled the difficult Leyland-Thomas and with Joan Richmond won the 1932 J.C.C. 1,000 Mile Race with a Riley, slim Doreen Evans who drove M.G.s really quickly, Margaret Allen who raced a 6/-litre track Bentley and many, many more. Since the war the girls have been almost as prominent, especially in rallies, and now that the toughest of rallies, the Liége-Rome-Liége, has been won by women drivers and Anne Hall has beaten all but two male crews in the arduous East African Safari, I thought it was about time the ladies got a show in these pages. So, with spring turning into a hot summer, I set “M. L. T.” the delightful task of interviewing and procuring pictures of some of those who are resident in this country.—W. B.)
Anne Hall. Mrs. Hall has been a regular competitor in rallies since 1951 and has had many successes, although she claims as her greatest success the Ladies’ Prize in this year’s Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Ford Anglia with Valerie Domleo.
She was brought up in a motoring atmosphere, her father being in the Garage Trade, and she was taught how to drive at an early age, being given a sports car for her 17th birthday. In 1951 she bought an XIK tzo, which were then only available for competition work, and entered the R.A.C. Rally with her sister. They surprised themselves and everyone else by winning the Ladies’ Prize and finishing seventh overall out of 300 entries. They followed this up the following year with another ladies’ class win in the R.A.C. and Anne was then invited to co-drive with Sheila Van Damm, who did not like navigating, so Anne learned how to navigate. She then joined Nancy Mitchell in several rallies, doing the Sestriere in an M.G. Magnate, and the Liege-Rome-Liege a couple of times in an Austin Healey and An M.G.-A.
Then in 1957 Mrs. hull joined the Ford works team and has stayed with them ever since, winning the Ladies’ Prize in the Tulip Rally with her sister and being second in the Monte Carlo Rally the same year. In 1958 she had several accidents and gained no major successes, and in 1959 was once again second in the Monte to Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom. Last year she was again second in the Monte to Pat Moss and Ann Wisdom after having a big lead and then losing a front wheel on the Mountain circuit. She was also second on the Midnight Sun Rally and winner of the ladies’ class in the R.A.C. Rally. Finally this year she won the Monte Carlo Ladies’ Prize and came third overall ill the East African Safari. In most of her recent events she has had as co-driver Valerie Domleo and in British National events they have had considerable success together in an Anglia and, in fact, last May were the first ladies’ team to win a National rally outright when they won the Morecombe Rally.
Anne Hall is married, has three children, and uses a Ford Anglia and a Peugeot 403 on the road, both of which she likes very much.
Valerie Domleo has become in recent years one of Britain’s best navigators, helping Anne Hall to many ladies’ prizes and even outright wins. She graduated into the rally world in 1954 via a treasure hunt, prior to which she had been a staunch motorcyclist. In 1955, her first serious season, she did the R.A.C. Rally in an Austin Healey and managed to lose about 10,000 marks more than any other finisher. However, things improved and she began to take part in a large number of events with a variety of cars from Austin Healey 100 to a Willys Jeep, the Healey being the most comfortable car for British rallies in Miss Domleo’s opinion and the Jeep being the most hair-raising.
She navigated Pauline Mayman to win the Silver Garter award in 1958 and 1959, and Anne Hall for the same award in 1960, and has also been involved in several victories, mainly with Anne Hall, including the Ladies’ Award in the 1960 R.A.C. Rally and the 1961 Monte Carlo Rally as well as British events such as the 1958 Welsh Festival Rally with Peter Roberts and the [960 Morecombe Rally with Anne Hall.
Valerie Domleo is a physicist with a research organisation and is also an R.A.G. recognised timekeeper, an occupation which she will take more seriously if rallying is curtailed in the future. Meanwhile she will continue to navigate as long as someone _ wants her, which is why she forbears to comment on the driving of those people she has navigated. She uses a Sprite on the road.
Pat Moss is undoubtedly Britain’s best known and most succesSful rally driver, her crowning achievement being her outright win in last year’s Liege-Rome-Liege rally together with Ann Wisdom, the first time an all ladies’ crew has won an International Rally. This great drive in the four-day and night virtually non Stop Marathon de la Route gained for the two girls the ” Driver of the Year” award from the Guild of Motoring Writers, ‘another first time honour for a ladies’ crew.
Born in 1934 her earlier interest was in horses and in fact she became well, known in the show jumping world, becoming a member of the British team in 1952 and riding in several foreign events. Her introduction to competition motoring came in 1954 when she navigated for her brother Stirling’s manager, Ken Gregory in a night rally, and having been bitten by the bug she started rallying in her own Morris Minor. B.M.C. offered her an M.G. for the 1955 R.A.C. Rally and the following year when Ann Wisdom obtained her driving licence, the two girls teamed up and have driven together in International events ever since, mostly as members of the B.M.C. works team.
The successes of the Moss/Wisdom combination are almost too numerous to mention as they have at one time or another won the Ladies’ award on most of the rallies counting for the European Ladies’ Touring Championship which they won in 1958 and 1960. As well as these ladies’ class wins there have been some excellent placings in the overall results, including 4th on the R.A.C. rally in 1958, 4th on the Liege-Rome-Liege in the same year, loth on the 1959 Monte Carlo Rally, and on the 1959 German Rally, and on the 1960 Alpine Rally, gaining a “Coupe” and finally the magnificent win in the 1960 Liége-Rome-Liege.
The Moss/Wisdom combination will carry on for Some tone yet, as they are driving for B.M.C. again this year. On the rood Pat uses the Austin HealeN., 3000 with which she won the LiegeRome-Liege and a Saab 96, registration No. PA’!’ 7.
Ann Wisdom’s name is of course synonymous with that of Pat Moss, with whom she has co-operated in so many rally successes. She was Pat Moss’s groom in her horse riding days and one Sunday did a treasure hunt, which she found to her taste and forthwith learned to drive in time to compete with Pat in the 1956 R.A.C. Rally. This was followed up with the Dieppe Rally, the Tulip, the Liege-Rome-Liege and so on into their well-known run of successes. To tabulate the success gained by this team would take up far too much space but the following list of 060 results serves to indicate their virtual mastery of the ladies’ tally world.
Ladies’ awards in: Monte Carlo, Geneva, Tulip, Alpine, Viking, and Liege-Rome-Liege and in general classifications they were 8th overall in the Monte, 8th in the Tulip, and in the Alpine, and of Course they won the Liege-Rome-Liege.
Miss Wisdom will continue co-driving with Pat Moss in the B.M.C. team on most International Rallies but will not take part in British Rallies as she is prone to car sickness. For a road car she uses an ex-works Mini-Minor. * Christabel Carlisle is a comparatively new name. in motor racing but her spirited driving of an Austin Se7en in Club races
$1,CCIL,S.SFUL.—In rallying, the all teams of Pat Moss! Ann Wisdom and Anne HalllVal Domleo have been able to drive on equal terms with the men drivers; Pat Moss has frequently put up .fastest times in hill-climbs in her Healey, winning the 1.ige-RoincLisigc outright on sheer driving ability, while Anne Hall and Valerie Donzleo were the first women’s team to win a British National rally, an achievement which some people consider greater than success in some International events.. On tiw left, the MosslWisclom Healey in the Alpine Rally, and, below, Mrs. Hall bends tlw tyres of her
Anglia in the Morecambe Rally, which the 70,J7.
has caught the eye of many a knowledgeable expert. Miss Carlisle, a piano teacher by profession, was given the Austin Se7en for her 21St birthday present last year and entered in a few rallies which she enjoyed but gained no success and in fact one rally ended in an inversion. Shortly afterwards some friends who already raced talked her into filling in an entry form and before she knew what was happening she was at Silverstone taking part in a Club meeting. This was followed by several other Club meetings last year, broken by a trip to Africa. This season she has continued to race in Club meetings showing a verve not usually seen in lady drivers. Her favourite circuit at present is Brands Hatch, where she manages to lift two wheels at notorious Paddock Bend.
Now eligible for International events she hopes to take part in one or two in her Group 2 Austin Se7en but is a little apprehensive of tangling with the established Mini-drivers. Tuned by B.M.C. and Willy Griffiths her Austin Se7en is also used as normal road transport.
Rosemary Seers has taken part in both racing and rallying, taking the unusual step of moving from racing to rallying rather than the other way round. She learnt to drive at an early age because her job involved a good deal of travelling, and early experience was gained in a 1933 Riley t216, 1949 M.G. Tc, 1952 M.G. TD, and in 1956 she started racing with a Cooper sports car. In the next three years she gained a number of places with this car, mainly at Goodwood, and several class wins and best ladies’ times at sprint meetings such as Staple
Lord and Gosport.
In 1959 she turned to rallying with a Sprite, Oiling a number of places in Restricted rallies, then co-driving With Nancy Mitchell in a works Rapier in the 1960 Tulip and Alpine Rallies; shc gained a fifth in class on the latter. This year she has done the Monte, Tulip and Circuit of Ireland and will be completing a full season of rallies, including the Deutschland, Alpine and R.A.Q. Her road car is a Sunbeam Alpine and the Alpine is her favourite rally, in which she hopes to gain a “Coupe” to. achieve her personal ambition.
Pauline Mayman started navigating in 1954 for her husband Lionel, well-known competition driver, but after many rows, usually ending with the maps, lights, etc., being. flung out of the window, she was given her own car, a Morgan Plus Four, with which she gained many successes, including the Silver Garter two years running with Valerie Domleo navigating. She has driven a Cooper-Climax i too in hillclimbs and races and broke the ladies’ sports-car record at Prescott in 1957 with a run of 48.34 sec. More recently she has co-driven a works Sunbeam Rapier with Mary Handley-Page in International rallies, having a
clean sheet on this year’s Monte until a burst tyre put them out of the running.
She uses a Triumph Herald coupe on the road, which she likes very much, especially with Kieft competition suspension, but the Morgan she fbund to be too heavy for lady drivers. Her opinion of male drivers is not too high and she has continual dices on her hands when she overtakes a car driven by a man.
Patricia Ozanne became interested in Competition motoring because of the acute boredom of living in the wilds of Suffolk, and in her first event, some driving tests organised by the East Anglian MC., She came last. The Little Rally started her off on rallying and soon she was a frequent competitor in Sunbeam Talbot Mk. III, Standard Ten, Ford Zephyr, Riley 1.5, jaguar XK15o, and gaining works rides in Sunbeam Rapier and MiniMinor. As a co-driver she finished third in her class in the 1958 Tulip Rally, and third in class in the 1959 and ’60 Alpine events. As a driver she was runner-up in the ladies’ class in the ’59 Tulip and third in the Geneva Rally last year. She has co-driven with several male drivers, including the late Ivor Bueb, and is continually amazed at the finesse and artistry with which many of them handle a car, a standard which she says she will never reach. For personal transport she uses an Austin 85o. To be continued