Sunday 18 February 2018

In honour of impish racer Rosemary Smith

Rosemary Smith
Rosemary Smith

The petrol head in me jumped when I heard talk about a celebratory lunch to mark the achievements of rally driver, Rosemary Smith.

Fifty years ago, many women weren't even driving, but Rosemary, a trained dress designer, was participating at the highest level in the male-dominated sport of rally driving. And she was winning too in her Hillman Imp: in Ireland, twice on the Alpine Rally; on the Canadian Shell 4000; and on the Acropolis Rally.

Now aged 77, Rosemary's biggest feat was to win the Dutch 'Tulip' Rally in 1965 and fair play to her, she's the only woman ever to win this race. However, she was never even formally recognised at the time.

This gave PR queen, Sharon Bannerton of SB Communications, and a group of Rosemary's friends and racing associates, the idea to organise a special 50th anniversary lunch to honour her.

Sharon said: "We are hoping to deliver a fitting tribute to Rosemary's life and achievements at Dublin's DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Monday April 20 and we are looking for event partners. Tables of 10 will sell for €850."

Chef Rachel Allen and her husband Isaac are taking a table and bringing their second son, Lucca (12) who is currently a Motorsport Ireland Champion. Lucca is the youngest driver in the country to hold a Motorsport Ireland championship. He began karting at nine and hopes to go into Formula One and be a world champion.

I love the old photos of Rosemary rallying in a hat and posing beside her Imp in Monaco, where she won the Coupe des Dames in the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally. Sadly, she was one of 10 cars disqualified and vowed never to compete there again unless the decision were reversed.

For more information, email: Info@SBCommunications.ie

- BP

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