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Rally driver Jill Robinson


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#1 LotusElise

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 22:16

I'm looking to write one of my blog posts on Jill Robinson, who rallied in the UK and Europe in the '60s and '70s.

 

I have a list of her international rally results, and I know that she married David Sutton, and that her sister, Judy Simpson, was also a rally driver.

 

Does anyone have any results, or even records of entries, for British rallies she must have entered? And does anyone have any images of her? I'm sure there used to be one on one of the threads here, but I can't find it.

 

For someone who seemed well-connected in the world of motorsport, including being part of the "celebrity" team in the Tour of Britain, she doesn't seem to have been photographed much.

 

Any useful stuff gratefully received, as ever.



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#2 RS2000

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 23:16

One rally entry you probably won't want to mention is the 1973 RAC Rally, which she did with Jimmy Saville. Planned to be a full spec Clark and Simpson "works replica" Escort but a standard Mexico engine then had to be substituted to enable Mr. Saville to drive it on the road.

Assume you are aware of the relationships regarding Clark and Simpson Ford dealership (Jill Simpson/Robinson/Sutton and Judy Simpson, with David Sutton originally working there as a salesman(?) and then later running the rally activities.

Don't think Judy Simpson did that many rallies.

The 1970 RAC had the now politically incorrect idea of seeding all the female entries at the front for publicity and Jill Robinson was given number 1 in an ex-works Clark and Simpson Escort in some hideous gold colour scheme.

Another entry you may not easily find is the 1974 1000 Lakes, where she drove a local Alfa Romeo, co-driven by Kirstie Airikkala, wife of Pentti.



#3 john aston

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:18

I was lucky enough to spend an evening with her and David Sutton at the wonderful B and B In Priors Marston which was a mecca for Silverstone Classic attenders and the local motor sport community (including one Richard Hudson Evans .) She was delightful and very trenchant in her views of the odious Savile. If you look her up in Priors Marston(where she and David live - or did a couple of years ago ) I'm sure she'd help.  



#4 ReWind

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 14:53

10 years ago David Sutton wrote a book called "The Choice of Champions". It was described as follows:

ONE of the best-known and colourful characters in the rallying world has committed his experiences of the high-octane life to a new book.

David Sutton, who lives in Warwickshire, is masterminding Subaru's challenge for Group N rally cars, but in the past the 52-year old team manager worked with no fewer than five world rally champions, including Timo Makinen, Hannu Mikkola and Bjorn Waldegard to Ari Vatanen, Walter Rohrl and Stig Blomqvist.

At his peak in the years following his World Championship triumph with Vatanen and Ford in 1981, he enjoyed all the trappings of success.

He had a 50-acre farm in Warwickshire, an Audi/VW dealership in the Midlands and holiday homes in Marbella and California.

But within a few years, Mr Sutton, who lives in Priors Marston with his wife Jill, had lost everything and found himself on the dole, thanks largely to Saddam Hussein, who chose to invade Kuwait the day after David Sutton Motorsport had moved pounds 350,000 worth of cars and equipment there for a rally event.

The entire stock was lost.

It's a highly readable tale of Sutton's ups and downs.

 

But I think David Sutton's age at that time wasn't 52 (since AFAIK he was born in 1940).



#5 LotusElise

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 16:22

He was about that age during the first Gulf War, then.

 

This is all good stuff, thankyou. And interestingly, Priors Marston is near where my parents live, and I used to do some work for someone there. I have probably passed Jill in the street, or sat next to her in one of the many nice pub/restaurant places around there.



#6 ReWind

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 16:27

If my deductions are right Jill's real name is Margaret Jane Sutton, and she was born in 1934, which would mean she is some years older than her husband.



#7 RS2000

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 22:12

You've probably found this one already - posted on this French forum page by Carles Bosch, who used to post here but hasn't been seen for a while:

 

Jill Robinson and Dilys Rogers on the 1972 RAC Rally.

 

Beware foreign sites not according copyright.

That photo is from Tony Gardiner's book "RAC Rally Action" and is attributed there to its author, so should be at the very least acknowledged as such on here. 



#8 Tim Murray

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 23:17

OK thanks Keith - post deleted.

#9 LotusElise

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 16:34

I've nearly finished my Jill article - writing it has been very interesting, in part thanks to the help I've received on here. I'm still looking for a picture, if anyone has one? If not, I'll have to try and "borrow" one and attribute.

 

As always, research into Ms Robinson has opened some more doors. I'm now looking at Kirsti Airikkala. Jill was co-driven by a Kirsti Patiala (sp) in Finland in 1972 - could the two Kirstis actually be the same person? I don't know the date or year of Kirsti and Pentti Airikkala's wedding, which would help.



#10 ReWind

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 16:48

Did you try to contact Andy Howdle? Apparently he was in touch with Jill one year ago.

 

 

Edit (re: Airikkala):

I also wondered about Kirsti Pätiälä but I think she is another person.

According to ewrc-results.com Kirsti Elisabet Airikkala already competed under her married name in 1969.

Furthermore her son Niko Juhani was born on 10 June 1970.


Edited by ReWind, 16 March 2014 - 18:46.


#11 LotusElise

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 21:36

Kirsti must be a commoner Finnish name than I thought. In the 1970s, at least. 

 

Finnish names are hard to interpret for an English speaker. I have still to work out any way of knowing whether a given name is masculine or feminine, especially names ending in "a" or "i", ie most of them.. 



#12 RS2000

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 21:51

I think in the Castrol film of the 68 1000 Lakes "The Flying Finns" (the event in which Pentti made a name for himself in an Isuzu Bellet but was somewhat overshadowed by Mikkola's first works Escort drive) Kirsti briefly appears driving or co-driving another car and is referred to by the surname Airikkala.