Posted 03 January 2001 - 22:36
Posted 04 January 2001 - 20:22
The usual thing I thought, scanning some photos, download them to the server, writing some words, and – damn, too late, somebody else was faster!
Wrong, so I take the start.
What about Kay Petre, racing Rileys in the 30’s?
After racing a Riley 9 Brooklands, e.g. at the 1934 24 heures du Mans, she accquired Raymond May’s famous “White Riley”, now painted pale-blue, and entered it at the 1935 Shelsley Walsh hill climb, the time was a phantastic 43.8 seconds. Mays record run in the same event with the stronger ERA was 39.6 sec.
Later that year Mrs. Petre took that car to Brooklands for an attack on the Mountain Circuit Class F Lap Record. At 77.97 mph her success meant not only had she beaten Prince Bira’s previous record (with his much stronger ERA “Romulus”), but she had become the first woman ever to hold any Mountain Circuit class record.
Posted 04 January 2001 - 20:43
More details about Kay Petre can be found on the Brooklands Society homepage at
and a lot of photos at http://www.brookland.....htm#Kay exits
An here some photos “Women at Brooklands”:
And by the way, the Derby-Miller was driven by Gwenda Stewart, holder of the ultimate
Outer Circuit women's lap record at Brooklands.
Posted 05 January 2001 - 04:31
Her car had been clipped by Reg Parnell's and Reg was suspended from racing for what would have been a very long period had not WWII intervened.
I think this was in Graham Gauld's book on Parnell.
Does anyone have more accurate memories of this - or have the book close to hand?
Regardless, I think that Kay Petre was one of the best women racing drivers, of surprisingly many, when you sit down and have a look at the history of the sport.
There is another story rattling around in my head: long distance record run... Montlhery... something about switching the engine off at full throttle at the finish to check the plug readings... crashed... Kay Petre? Or was that someone else?
Posted 05 January 2001 - 05:34
Posted 05 January 2001 - 06:02
Reg Parnell by Graham Gauld (page 26 and more)
"...The 1937 Racing season ended badly for Reg Parnell (and Kay Petre), while they were practising for the BRDC 500 meeting at Brooklands on the fast Outer Circuit where average speed were high. This was one of the major events of the year and Reg Parnell had entered his MG. On the Friday the weather was miserable, but he went out on the track to get as much practice as possible.
The brilliant woman driver Kay Petre had been offered a factory Austin Seven single-seater to race at the meeting. She and Reg had enjoyed a great duel at Crystal Palace only a few weeks before, so both were aware of the other's ability.
On this occasion, Kay was still feeling her way in the Austin when she was overtaken by Reg high on the banking. The MG started to slide and Reg held it, but the loss of momentum caused the car to swerve down the banking and straight into Kay's car at right angles. The little Austin Seven rolled over and over, throwing Kay out on the track. Perhaps it was fortunate that she was thrown clear, as the Seven was badly damaged and ended up in ditch. Meanwhile Reg's MG careered off the track and into the railings, where he also sustained injuries, albeit minor compared to the petite and pretty Petre, who was rushed to the Weybridge Cottage Hospital with serious injuries.
Born Kay Defries, she was a Canadian and always something of a tomboy, despite being a small, very attractive and always well dressed woman with dark hair and bubbly personality. She came to England and met her husband Henry Petre, one of the many pioneer pilots who flew out of Brooklands with his Deperdussin monoplane. He took part in air displays and was nicknamed Peter the Monk. Something of a character, and a noted male chauvinist, Henry had vowed never to have anything to do with women, and would even leave the local haunt, the Blue Bird café at Brooklands, if a girl appeared. Then one day he arrived with a young wife called Kay, who was quite happy to chatter away with the boys and become one of the gang.
She was determined to make a name for herself as a racing driver and started racing with an Invicta owned by her husband. However, Henry didn't like this idea and bought her a Wolseley Hornet in which she won her first Ladies Race at Brooklands. Not content with this, she persuaded one of Brookland's legendary racing drivers, L.G. Hornstead - who had originally raced a Benz in 1911 - to teach her the rudiments of race driving, and in 1933 she bought a 2 litre supercharged Bugatti. Although she was very much "one of the boy", she was also very feminine and used to choose her racing overalls to match the colour of the car. It is said that on one occasion, whenn her car was being overhauled, the seat was removed only to reveal a lipstick in a case, a stopwatch, seven cigarettes and various other things a woman might keep in a handbag, but these were lying in the undertray of a racing car.
In the impact of the Brooklands accident, Kay Petre was knocked unconscious, but when they got her to hospital it was realised that she had very serious head injuries and her life was in the balance. However, she was a determined lady and not only survived the accident and some plastic surgery but even overcame partial paralysis. Needless to say it was one of her last races, but she had had a spectacular career.
Retiring from racing, she became motorig correspondent of the Daily Sketch, a post she held until after the war, when she was giving a role within the Austin Motor Compay, as amongst other things, their colour consultant. She was one of 7 members of the motoring press who were present at an informal meeting at the Press Club in London on 9 October 1944, when plans were laid for a Motoring Correspondent's Circle - the forerunner of today's Guild of Motoring Writers..."
Posted 09 January 2001 - 11:28
Posted 09 January 2001 - 11:42
Grosvenor, Lady Mary (GB)
b 1911 - d 2000
Daughter of the Duke of Westminster, she competed on rallies such as the RAC and RSAC in the 1930s. On purchasing two Riley Sprites, she competed on pre-war hillclimbs. From 1947, she competed with a Bugatti T35 and an Alta, and purchased a Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica with which she hill-climbed. She retired from motorsport in 1951 after her father's death, in order to manage her estates in South Africa, Kenya and Scotland.
Junek, Elizabeth (CZ)
Married Czech banker Cenek Junek who funded her racing in the 1920s. She ran fourth in th 1927 Targa Florio before her steering broke, and won the 1.5-3 litre class of the German GP at the Nürburgring on her first visit there. Led the 1928 Targa Florio until water pump failure forced her to back off. On returning to the Nürburgring, her husband crashed and was killed, and Elizabeth withdrew from racing, although she returned in the 1960s for one off historic demonstrations.
Moss-Carlsson, Pat (GB)
The sister of Stirling Moss, Pat became an accomplished rally driver in the late 1950s and early 1960s. She was initially interested in horses and show jumping, and passed her driving at the age of 17 in a Morris Ten. Stirling's manager, Ken Gregory, invited her one day to go on a Night Experts rally with him, and after this she got the racing bug.
Pat then purchased a Morris Minor, which was tuned by Stirling's mechanic, Alf Francis, and fitted in a rally program around her show jumping commitments, and eventually replaced the Minor with a Triumph TR2 financed by her show jumping winnings. This led to some successes, and Pat was offered better cars to drive, and by the 1960s Pat was winning rallies outright. Pat finished second overall on the 1964 San Remo Rally, drove a works Cortina GT on the 1963 RAC Rally, and finished 5th overall on the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. She rallied a Lancia Fulvia in 1968, and won the Coupe des Dames four times. She married Saab rally driver Erik Carlsson in the early '60s.
Mouton, Michele (F)
1981 - World Rally Championship (Audi Quattro): won San Remo Rally
1982 - World Rally Championship (Audi Quattro): won Portuguese, Acropolis and Brazilian rallies.
1986 - Retired from rallying. Organised the Race of Champions event since this time.
Posted 09 January 2001 - 12:06
My note in the book says she went on to compete 'extensively at Brooklands and other British venues, Le Mans and the Monte Carlo Rally.'
She even embarked on the hazardous adventure of driving a Riley to England from Australia, in company with two other women in similar cars!
John Blanden notes in his book ('A History of Australian Grand Prix - 1928-1939') that she was the first woman driver in the AGP, she was a well known sportswoman of the time, was subsequently to be the first Australian to drive in the Le Mans 24-hour race. He gives the names, too, of her accomplices on the trip to England in their Riley 9s, Jean Robertson and Kathleen Howell. They drove to Darwin (an adventure in itself in 1931!), shipped the cars through Malaya to Penang and then on to Calcutta. They drove through Bengal to New Delhi and Bombay. On reaching Alexandria they shipped the cars to Italy and then entered the three of them in the Monte Carlo Rally, with their starting point at Palermo in Sicily, and all three finished.
The group finished up in England (the rally was merely part of their trip!) in February, 1932, having covered 16,000 miles.
She then contested the Junior Car Club 1000 mile race at Brooklands, co-driving with Mrs Wisdom (Anne Wisdom?) in a Brooklands Riley and won the event at an average speed of 84.41mph, continued running other events at Brooklands and at times used Malcolm Campbell's 3-litre Ballot and equalled the 108mph lap this car had previously recorded with Dunfee at the wheel. She is said to have been disappointed not to have beaten the time.
She went on to contest the Monte Carlo Rally each year, with Kay Petre in 1933, and with a factory Triumph in 1936, in which she won second prize in the light car class.
She competed at Shelsley Walsh mostly driving the Fuzzi Special, a car with two engines and four pedals (!) for the driver to master, with a best time of 44 seconds, said to be a little faster than the owner could master.
This car would be interesting, Blanden records that it had to be driven barefoot because of the need to feel the pedals.
She drove an Aston Martin in the last Ulster TT, but was in trouble throughout with oil loss, apparentely, but finished in the time alloted despite several pit stops.
Donington also saw her, a supercharged Triumph and an HRD being her mounts there, and at Crystal Palace she drove a 1.5-litre Frazer Nash, and is said to have lapped as fast as A P Fane in a 2-litre works car.
She returned to Australia shortly after the second world war. The story ends there...
Posted 09 January 2001 - 15:48
What about Odette Siko ?
She is in the Godlden book of LeMans for year 1932 at a very good ranking : isn't the best result for a woman in this race ? :
4th : Odette Siko-"Jean Sabipa" (Louis Charaval), 2417kms on an Alfa-Romeo 6C 1750 . Winner of her class (1500-2000).
The same team with the same car did not finish in 1933.
Miss Hellé-Nice was also at the start but didn't finish (accident), classified 16th but with only 25 laps (337kms). Her co-pilot was "Heldé" (Pierre-Louis Dreyfus) on an Alfa-Romeo 8C 2300.
In 1933, the same car was entered by Miss Hellé-Nice for Guy Moll but didn't finish (~1000 kms) and JP Wimille was DNS on a Bugatti with another lady, Mme Mareuse ?
In 1934, another good performance by a 100% "féminine" (I prefer to female ) english team on a small Riley, 13th with 2327 kms : Miss Dorothy Champney, GB and Mrs Kaye Petre, CDN/GB.
1935 saw a "pléiade" of english ladies on MG Midget PA finishing completely grouped :
24th : Miss Joan Richmond, AUS-Mrs Gordon Simpson, GB 2077kms
25th : Miss Doreen Evans, GB-Miss B Skinner, GB 2068kms
26th : Miss Margaret Allan, GB-Mrs Hugh Eaton, GB 2054kms
Same entrant for the three cars : George E.T. Eyston, GB
Posted 09 January 2001 - 16:20
the first wonen in a racing car ?
1898 Marseille - Nice
27° in De Dion
Countess Elsa Albrizzi
9° in Benz
the first wonen in a internationale race
Madame du Gast
1901 Paris - Berlin (VI GP of ACF)
33° in Panhard (9:57'17 after the winner Henri Fournier)
Posted 09 January 2001 - 16:45
1934, GP de Picardie on Bugatti T51A 3rd at 2'13"
1936, GP des frontières on T51A, 3rd at 9'27"
Not too bad, isn't it ;) ?
Posted 09 January 2001 - 17:05
Miss Eileen Ellison - GB
Posted 09 January 2001 - 17:09
Yvonne Simon, DNF in 1950 but 15th in 1951 with Betty Haig from GB on a Ferrari 166MM, and with the cherry on the cake, the car is here :
or this one in the original colors :
[p][Edited by Yves on 01-09-2001]
Posted 09 January 2001 - 18:40
That should keep you all going for at least ten minutes.
Posted 09 January 2001 - 19:05
The Brooklands-winning Riley was the very one which later won the AGP in Bill Thompson's hands. No buyer coming forward in Oz, the car was taken to New Zealand and sold to W P Galpin
Posted 09 January 2001 - 22:19
Posted 10 January 2001 - 13:05
Capt. John F Duff, AUS/Frank Clement, GB, Bentley #8 finishing 4th with 1933 kms.
And next year he won :
Capt. John F Duff, AUS/Frank Clement, GB, Bentley #8, 2077kms
He was less fortunate in 1925 :
Capt. John F Duff, AUS/Frank Clement, GB, Bentley #9. He was DNF, with "Carburator fire" at his 64th lap.
He looks to be back to Australia ;) after this last year and didn't reappear at Le Mans.
But is this gentlemen really australian ? There is no detail on his nationality on the Bentley Web site :
The results I give above are from this site :
Posted 10 January 2001 - 13:23
Posted 10 January 2001 - 15:37
Not long ago David Greenhalgh wrote about him as an Australian in Motor Racing Australia magazine. It was the first I'd ever heard of him mentioned as Australian and I wondered where David had read it.
This is only the second time I have seen reference to him as an Aussie and this might be where David saw it.
I wonder did they have him confused with Bernard Rubin?
I have many books relating to Bentleys, Le Mans, and Bentley drivers and I don't remember ever reading about him being Australian. If he is I would like to know about it.
Posted 10 January 2001 - 15:55
I sent an email to Stefan Ornerdal and ask him if he can enlight us on his sources !
Posted 10 January 2001 - 19:24
He didn't "return to Australia" after his last Le Mans, but spent at least one season on the US board tracks. Didn't disgrace himself either.
(No questions yet, please - I'm still checking it all out!)
Posted 10 January 2001 - 22:10
Posted 11 January 2001 - 08:18
Posted 11 January 2001 - 12:14
"The information about John Duff being Australian is from British Magazine "Motor Sport", but I don't think this is right! They have also referred to him as being a Canadian in that magazine! It was not long ago I read it, I do not remember in which issue, but I think it was last year (2000). Most probably, he is english.
This has to be sorted out..."
And also find this stuff from http://www.autoweb.c...91/article.html :
"W. O. Bentley was present for the first Le Mans race in 1923, with a single three-litre belonging to sales agent John F. Duff, who had previously established a British 'Double Twelve Hour' record at Brooklands driving alone for two twelve-hour daylight stretches with the same car. Bentley thought it very risky to try a 24-hour race, but was persuaded to prepare Duff's car and even loaned Bentley Motors employee Frank Clement to serve as co-driver."
About the Bentley's boys :
Woolf Barnato (whom W.O. Bentley described as his best driver) was South African, while Jean Chassagne was an accomplished French racing driver. But most of the 'Boys' were British.
The Earl Howe, the Baron d'Erlanger and Sir Henry R. S. 'Tim' Birkin were part of British aristocracy. S. C. H. 'Sammy' Davis was a journalist with The Autocar,
Frank C. 'Jack' Clement an employee of Bentley Motors, and the brothers Clive and Jack Dunfee were mechanics who had to stretch their resources to the limit to afford Bentley racing cars. Doctor J. D. 'Benjy' Benjafield was a respected and fashionable Harley Street physician, John H. Duff - the first to take Bentley to Le Mans, and thus perhaps the first Bentley Boy - was a motor trader, while Glen Kidston, Bernard Rubin, H. Kensington Moir, Clive Gallop and other favoured Bentley drivers were what was then commonly called 'sportsmen.'
Another french site on LeMans explicitly reports Franck Clement as french, which isn't an evidence
All this looks like as a convergence to some common source : Australian ? Canadian ?
Concerning Yvonne Simon, there is one pointer to Yvette Simon on the web, refering most likely to the same person : same car ?
to be compared to previous pointer :
Posted 11 January 2001 - 12:34
Posted 11 January 2001 - 12:52
I mentioned a Miss J. Rackham in a TC at Woodside... any more on her Barry? Anyone?
Posted 11 January 2001 - 15:50
Posted 11 January 2001 - 16:17
Posted 11 January 2001 - 16:21
Posted 11 January 2001 - 16:30
Posted 11 January 2001 - 16:31
Sarah could go farther because, even if IRL isn't that much competitive, she is very young
Posted 11 January 2001 - 17:02
Posted 11 January 2001 - 18:11
The IRL is much better than most people think - and btw it's the *real* Champ Car championship. CART should stop using terms like Champ Car or Indy Car, it's just another Formula XYZ series!
Posted 11 January 2001 - 20:40
Posted 11 January 2001 - 20:46
Originally posted by fines
Mike, full points to you!!!
The IRL is much better than most people think - and btw it's the *real* Champ Car championship. CART should stop using terms like Champ Car or Indy Car, it's just another Formula XYZ series!
So what does this mean? It includes the Indy 500, or is there more to it than that?
Posted 10 February 2001 - 01:52
I was reading Rodney Walkerley's "Brooklands to Goodwood" GT Foulis, 1961 (1st ed) tonight. On page 61 I find...
"... well known drivers were joining the club... John Duff, the genial Irishman who won the Le Mans 24 hours for Bentleys in 1924...
How does the saying go? Pity the poor historian...
Posted 10 February 2001 - 04:44
Posted 10 February 2001 - 13:36
I am not sure what she has been racing lately. I also remember some forays into the Andros Trophy (where Cathy´s brother Yves is dominant). Somewhere in my head it says she has been racing trucks, but I might confuse her with someone else.
Here is Cathy during her Group C days :
Posted 10 February 2001 - 17:12
Posted 10 February 2001 - 17:48
Also, does anyone (besides me!) remember American racer Roxie Lott, who made one unforgettable (for the wrong reasons!) appearance in British Formula 3 in 1984 before going back to the U.S. for a crack at the Indy 500?
Posted 10 February 2001 - 19:32
Probably married and got pregnant! (Sorry, I don't know offhand)
Originally posted by Paul Hartshorne
Speaking of fast German woman racers, whatever happened to Beate Nodes?
Posted 10 February 2001 - 19:39
BTW: who remembers Mercedes Stermitz? She was my choice for best looking racing driver ever. Raced in GpC,F3000,F3 7 Touring cars. In Jan93 in was reported she was seriouly injured in a road accident in Austria.
Posted 10 February 2001 - 19:48
And Mercedes Stermitz had good reason to be an attractive racing driver, she was a former Miss Austria!
Posted 10 February 2001 - 19:57
Originally posted by Rob29
BTW: who remembers Mercedes Stermitz? She was my choice for best looking racing driver ever.
But don't forget Liane Engemann! Another talent lost to pregnancy!
Also very pretty: Ines Mühle and the sister of Dieter Glemser, can't remember her name.
Less pretty, but fast: Waltraud Odenthal and Hannelore Werner
Posted 11 February 2001 - 10:08
Gwenda, daughter of Sir Frederick Manley Gubb, the famous soldier, drove ambulances on the Russian and Rumanian fronts in WW1 and was decorated with the Crosses of ST George and St Stanilaus.
It is said that in her youth she trekked alone in the northern wilds of Canada and that she wore her hair in a "mannish" cut and disguised her femininity.
As Mrs Janson she competed in motorcycle events at Brooklands using a Ner-a-car and a Trump-Jap.
Later she married Colonel Stewart and co drove with him in long distance events.
In 1937 she married Douglas Hawkes, who had a share in the Paris based Derby factory.
She had an impressive record on banked tracks but fared less well on the circuits
2. A lot of the material written about lady racers is promotional guff and they have often been "manipulated" by the promoters of race event to generate publicity.
3. An interesting story about lady race drivers ...
Paul Hawkins, who apparently was the son of a Protestant minister!!! (Hard to believe)was leading the 1968 Sebring 12 hour in his GT40 after 8 hours of racing. A win would have been really great for the privateer and "opened" doors for the talented, tough Australian.
Then he collided with a Porsche which had swereved to aviod a Javelin driven by Liane Engeman/Janet Guthrie.
Hawkeye, not amused, said something like this :
"It wasn't the Porsche fault. It was those @#$%&% girls. They drove as though they were going to a ..censored..blankety-blant..funeral. The place for a woman is the #@%$* kitchen. When shes not in the $#%@^&% kitchen she should be tending the -@#$%@!* cradle. When shes not doing that she should be in bed."
3. Of all the lady racers the exploits of Elisabetta Junek are to me the most impressive.
Source : "The Fast Ladies", by Robert Young October 1991.
Posted 11 February 2001 - 13:41
Posted 11 February 2001 - 15:29
Louise Atkin Walker, RAC rally entrant, women champion, delivered milk in Wales or somewhere,