“The first winner of the Leinster Trophy in 1934 and still the only woman to win the event was Frances “Fay” Taylour from Dublin. Fay Taylour had already established quite a reputation as a dare-devil motorcycle speedway rider and race driver in Australia and the UK. She won the 1934 event in a German-built Adler Trumpf owned by the Irish politician Robert Briscoe who was a veteran of the Irish War of Independence. Taylour was known for her care-free and cavalier attitude on and off the track. She raced in a twinset and skirt, knitted in assembly while waiting to go on track, and had a permanent cigarette out of the side of her mouth!” (From Brian Manning’s piece on the history of the Leinster Trophy)
Fast forward 84 years and even though women drivers are still very much in the minority, we thankfully have a slowly increasing number and here is a brief account of the performance of those who were on the entry list last weekend.
Aimee Woods returned to the Fiesta Zetec Championship, this time with backing from Russell’s Saloon Gin Emporium. Having been in the top 5 last time out, the Dundalk Race Instructor was disappointed to qualify outside the top ten. She avoided the madness in the opening race to move up to tenth and got within a second of Lloyd Murphy’s fastest lap, but still felt there was more to come. A change of tyres for the second race worsened the situation though and despite suffering with huge understeer, she hung on for another 10th place finish.
Nicole Drought has run at the front of the Irish Stryker series in her first full year in the class. Lady luck has not been on her side though in terms of the championship, a few mechanical maladies and a shunt meaning she had four non scores, dropping her from her initial third in the title chase to fifth by the end of the season. She had huge support at the Leinster Trophy weekend as she entertained over 70 guests from sponsors Gem Oils and Naas Tyres and Autocare. A spin in qualifying meant she only got 3 laps, but managed to salvage two top six finishes to end her championship campaign.
Ruth Nugent was also on the Fiesta Zetec grid, the marshal-turned-racing driver getting used to a new car and the International layout too. Qualifying didn’t go her way, starting at the back in P22 but a good start and a run round the outside at turn one gained her four places immediately. Another place gained and a bit of attrition up front meant she came home 14th- a result that delighted both Ruth and her regular #OrangeArmy supporters on the banks. Another 14th place finish in race 2, meant she took 10th place in the championship. She moves to Future Classics for 2019.
The Formula Female duo of Nicci Daly and Emma Dempsey were also back in action last weekend, sharing the Abrakebabra Rover 25 GTI for the two micksgarage.com Future Classics races. As previous performances had suggested, both were on the pace despite a lack of testing. Emma qualified seventh and was classified sixth, just behind the hugely experienced Brendan Travers. As Nicci had not qualified, she started 13th and last for race 2. A good run saw her climb to eighth, with a laptime faster than five of the cars ahead.
Megan Campbell was out in Ginetta Junior Ireland once again. Already a race winner this season, she made a brilliant start in race one to grab second place. Unfortunately her car ground to a halt in front of the grandstand four laps in and she didn’t make the finish in race two either.