Joy Rainey, who has died aged 77, was internationally known as a motorsport figure of race, rally, and hillclimb renown who overcame physical limitations – she was born with restricted growth – to champion the cause of women behind the wheel. Australian-born but resident in Britain since 1968, Joy Rainey wrote of her exploits in two books, and in a regular column for The Daily Telegraph from 2000 to 2006.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Known for her speed at the wheel, good company, and blunt responses, Joy Rainey refused to tolerate the description of her stature as a disability, saying: “I was born small and this has never been an issue to me. Other people think it has had a big influence in my life, but I don’t feel that way. And don’t call it bloody dwarfism.”
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Tenacious and competitive, in recent years she had bought more than one high-powered McLaren supercar. She had them modified with a crane to allow her to fit her mobility scooter into the vehicle: onlookers got quite a shock to see a 3 ft tall elderly woman winching herself into a 200 mph sports car. Although her vehicles had to be adapted, she competed on equal terms.
In 2019 Joy Rainey recalled that meeting the New Zealand car designer and racing driver Bruce McLaren when she was a child, and being allowed to drive a racing kart he was testing, gave her the true taste for motorsport.
Muriel Joy Rainey was born in Geelong, Victoria, on December 18 1942. Her father, Murray Rainey, was also of restricted height yet became a noted racing driver and three-time Australian Formula 3 champion. Under the care of her mother Norma, who was not of restricted height, Joy wore leg-irons in childhood in an attempt to straighten her limbs.
Joy grew up among racing cars, notably at the Geelong circuit. Her father was a key figure in establishing the Geelong Speed Trials in the 1950s and was one of the first Australians to race a British Cooper racing car.
“When Dad was racing,” Joy Rainey recalled, “he used to let me sit in the Cooper and the mechanics would push on to the grid for the start with me steering. That really gave me the buzz. I was not going to let my bloody height stop me, ever!”
While she was attending Geelong High School in the mid-1950s her father took her on a trip to Europe and she met many of the famous racing drivers of the day, notably at Le Mans.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Back in Australia, the failure of an early marriage to a fellow kart racer left her free to indulge in motorsport. She was soon to race her father’s newly constructed “Rainey Karts” to competitive success as a teenager, and went on to win the Australian national karting championship.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分“Don’t you dare call them ‘go’ karts,” she warned.
The Rainey family moved to Britain in 1968, settling in Surrey. Joy discovered a love of foreign languages, and studied in Italy. A Triumph Spitfire provided her with transport to and from her studies in Perugia.
Purchasing a red E-type Jaguar in 1972, Joy Rainey won many British events, including her first hillclimb in 1974. Blessed with a racing driver’s eye and lightning-quick reactions, during the 1980s she competed across all the main disciplines and dominated the sport of hill-climbing.
She drove single-seat racers and was rarely off the podium. Prescott and Shelsley Walsh were her favourite British hillclimb tracks, and she held the female speed record at the latter for 22 years.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Joy Rainey had a close bond with her father and the pair vied for victories in a brace of 1930s Alfa Romeo 6C and 8C racing “specials” which they restored and modified. She won the 1983 Castrol Midland Hill Climb Championship Classic Class in the Alfa 6C 2300.
From 1985 she competed in a single-seat Pilbeam-Hart racer and then raced a Murrain – another modified “special” engineered by her father.
Financial misfortune saw her absent for some years, but she bounced back and in 2004 drove in the London-to-Sydney Marathon in a tuned-up Morris Minor with her new partner, Trevor Hulks.
The following year, her autobiography Fast Lady: My Life in Motorsport was published with a foreword by Alan Jones, the Australian 1980 Formula One Champion.
In 2009, a plan to drive a 1904 Oldsmobile (top speed 25 mph) across America with Hulks was foiled by his death from prostate cancer. In 2013 she finally made the 3,000-mile trip with Mark Riley, becoming the first woman to traverse the country in a veteran single-cylinder engined car. In 2014 she drove the Oldsmobile from Adelaide to Darwin, becoming the first woman to drive across the Australian outback in an antique vehicle.
Rainey also promoted the cause of Aboriginal rights and ran a shop selling Aboriginal works near her home in the Vale of Evesham. She wrote for numerous publications, and was a leading member of the Bugatti Owners’ Club.
Joy Rainey, born December 18 1942, died January 17 2020