#OTD in 1937 – Ireland’s most successful female rally driver, Rosemary Smith, is born in Dublin.

Rosemary Smith was a successful rally driver during the 1960s. Rosemary was a dressmaker by trade but when she met Delphine Bigger, she was introduced to rally driving. Delphine’s husband was a rally driver and they invited Rosemary to rallies as a co-driver which led her on the path to becoming a major competitor in rally driving.

Rosemary was soon snatched up by Rootes Group (a British car manufacturer). During the 60s, she entered many rallies including the London-Sydney, the RAC and the Monte Carlo. Rosemary won the Scottish Rally and the Tulip Rally in 1965 – a huge feat for a woman during those times. She competed in the London to Mexico world rally, finishing the event when very few competitors did!

At the age of 79, Renault invited Rosemary to test drive a Formula 1 car, Renault Sport, in Marseilles as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations.

Rosemary also opened her own driving school, training many young men and women and is just as passionate about teaching as she is rally driving. But not just content with the school, Rosemary went on to produce her autobiography ‘Driven – A pioneer for women in motorsport’. This book gives a great insight into Rosemary’s life as a rally driver – certainly a woman with an appetite for speed!

Photo by Ted Blackbrow/ANL/REX (1795111a) Rally Driver Rosemary Smith (pictured) And Alice Watson With Bmc Car And Caravan

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