Motoring trailblazer Rosemary Smith dies aged 86

by Gazette Reporter
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Dubliner Rosemary Smith was a motoring trailblazer and pioneering rally driver whose career spanned almost seven decades.

From the time she won the ladies’ prize at the Circuit of Ireland Rally in 1964, she  became a household name and this was underlined the following year the year when alongside co-driver Valerie Domleo, she secured victory in the four-day Dutch Tulip Rally.

Although disqualified in the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally, she continued to blaze a trail which saw her win the 1969 Cork 20 Rally before adding  the Scottish Rally, the Alpine Rally, the Canadian Shell 4000, the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon and the 1970 London to Mexico World Cup Rally to her long lists of triumphs.

In 1978, Rosemary set a new land speed record in Cork, another achievement in her star-studded career. Later in the 1990s, she founded a driving school but always loved the thrill of competition. This led her in 2017,  at the age of 79, to become  the oldest person to drive an 800bhp F1 racing car in a test drive with the Renault F1 Team at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France.

The following year,  her memoirs  ‘Driven by Rosemary Smith’ was published to great success and last year she was inducted into the FIVA (Federation International des Vehicules Anciens) Hall of Fame.

PHOTOS -MICHAEL CHESTER

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