One of England’s greatest rally drivers died on Sunday January 19 after a long illness.
Anne Hall, who only began her competitive rallying as a driver when already in her 30s, drove for six works teams, including Jaguar, Ford, BMC and Sunbeam, won no less than 13 Coupes des Dames awards, and in 1956 was European Ladies Rally Champion with her long-time co-driver, Sheila van Damm.
During Hall’s career, England had three superlative lady rally drivers in Pat Moss, Nancy Mitchell and Hall herself. Between them they usually managed to share the spoils of any major outing, at least in so for as the ladies’ awards went. But when asked to name her own best-ever achievement in rallying, Anne would always cite her third place overall, and first European home, in the 1961 Safari Rally. She was equally proud of being the highest-placed British finisher in the Kenyan event up to that date.
Hall also, in 1960, had won the Lancashire (Morecambe) Rally outright, the first time that a lady crew had taken overall victory in a National or International event.
One of Anne’s favourite stories was of beating Graham Hill around the Monaco Grand Prix circuit when they drove identical cars on the 1964 Monte Carlo. ‘Mr Monaco’ could only applaud as Hall lapped a full 6.6sec faster to take the GT prize in the rather unwieldy Ford Falcon.
After retiring in the 1960s, she was coaxed back again by the high-profile historic events of the 1980s, taking up almost where she left off by winning an Alpine Cup and the ladies’ award in a Ford Anglia on the 1988 Pirelli Classic. She only retired from running her driving school on her 80th birthday, and was honoured to be a founding member of the prestigious Ecurie Cod Fillet, along with being a life member of the Historic Rally Car Register.
A devoted family lady, she is survived by her three children, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her son David has continued the family’s tradition, rallying in historic events at the wheel of a Jaguar XK120. Guy Loveridge