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Classical Gas is an independent web site and is not affiliated to any of the clubs or organisers of the events featured. Words and Pictures by Michael unless attributed otherwise. Michael is a proud member of the MCC, ACTC, Dellow Register and Falcon amongst others, but does not represent their views nor the views of any other organisers or clubs.
Gas 03091 - 24 August 2003

Book Review - Women in Motorsport

This book by Susan TP-Jamieson and Peter Tuthill acknowledges the contribution of over 200 women to the sport over the last 60 years. Susan requires little introduction to triallers, inheriting her love of motorsport from her dad, the late H W Tucker-Peake. Sue was introduced to the smell of hot mud from spinning tyres early in her life, in the back seat of the “Tucker-MG”. Later on she passengered her sister Maralyn to two triples before moving on to circuit racing including a spell as a works Skoda driver in the European Touring Car Championship.

I first met Sue in the late 60’s when I joined Falcon Motor Club, through which I also got to meet Susan’s co-author Peter Tuthill. Peter’s is a bit of a scholar, speaking numerous languages and is currently working on a further three books. He was also a successful Castrol Quiz competitor, captaining his team, Camel Vale, to three National Finals. Could have been four if Falcon’s Michael Leete, Pete Smith and Tucker hadn’t knocked them out in 1972!

I am really enjoying reading this book. I say that in the present tense because it isn’t a book you read once and put away, never to be seen again. It’s one you come back to time and time again. It chronicles the motoring careers of a whole spectrum of women, some of whom I had heard off before and some I hadn’t.

Unlike Golf or Athletics Motoring provides an arena for women to compete on equal terms with men, although it is interesting that the fairer sex has been more successful in rallying than racing. Women in Motorsport starts with a resume of Lousie Aitken-Walkers rallying career, one of many ladies who could probably have achieved even more behind the wheel without the pressures of family life.

There is a very interesting piece on Paris-Dakar winner Jutta Kleinscmidt, detailing her early career as an engineering student after graduating with a degree in physics and moving on to her Dakar exploits on a motor-cycle before she moved to four wheels, winning the event outright in 2001 in a works Mitsubishi. There are many, many more fascinating cameo’s and I also enjoyed reading about women I have either met or seen competing, ranging from the charming and successful competitor and business woman, the late Jean Denton, who became Baroness Denton of Wakefield, to the precocious Paula Cooke in more recent times.

The book is a nostalgic read, but also moving in places as the authors try, where possible, to say what people are doing now. I was particularly sad to read about the ladies who are no longer with us, like Jean Denton and Jenny Dell who campaigned some truly delightful sports cars. Man or Woman this is a really super read and if you buy only one motoring book this year then make it this one.

“Women in Motorsport” is written by Susan TP-Jamieson and Peter Tuthill. Priced at £26 it is published by Jaker/BWRDC (ISBN 0 954 4315-0-2) It is available from:- Jaker Projects, PO Box 22, Launceston, Cornwall PL15 7XT for £26 plus £5 P&P

You can order a copy of Women in Motorsport here

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