Sunday, April 19, 2009

Miss Penn-Hughes

In the 50 years up to and including the First World War South Wales was the Persian Gulf of its day. Great fortunes were made in and around the coal, steel and tinplate industries of the valleys and it was hardly surprising when some of the heirs to this wealth decided to spend it on the racing tracks of 1930s Europe.

Welsh born toffs such as Charley Martin, Tim Rose-Richards, the Eccles brothers, Dudley Folland, Owen Saunders Davies, Clifford Penn-Hughes, as well as plausible rogues such as Donald Marendaz and Philip Turner were amongst the leading racers at Brooklands and beyond.

The pre-war period was also a time when women drivers often competed on equal terms with the men, Kay Petre and Gwenda Stewart for example were amongst the sixteen drivers who lapped Brooklands at more than 130mph. So surely there must have been plenty of Welsh born lasses amongst the fast ladies of the period. Well actually no ...... one I did find was 21 year old Elizabeth Penn-Hughes (don't worry that's her brother pictured) who co-drove Clifford's Frazer-Nash in the 1930 Double Twelve Hour race at Brooklands. A hairy moment later in the year at Shelsey Walsh seems to have ended her short-lived career behind the wheel.

Were there any more Welsh born girl racers on the pre-war tracks?

No comments: