PAT MOSS. RALLY ICON AND TRAILBLAZER.
We take a moment to look back on the remarkable life of Pat Moss, one of the first – and most successful – female rally drivers of all time.
BORN TO COMPETE.
Had any of the doubters of ’62 taken the time to look into the background of Ms Patricia Ann Moss, few would have been so disparaging. Born in Surrey in 1934, Pat’s racing spirit was arguably a rare phenomenon of both nature and nurture. The daughter of British racing driver Alfred Moss and younger sister of Formula One legend Stirling Moss, she grew up immersed in the world of motorsports and was taught to drive aged just eleven by her car-mad elder brother.
Pat initially chose to channel her energies into show jumping, a far more likely sporting career for a young, highly competitive woman in mid-century England, and by 1953, the 18-year-old was an Olympic-level equestrian. While Pat’s passion for horse riding continued throughout her life, it was in this year that her boyfriend first introduced her to the world of rally driving. Hooked on the male-dominated sport, she began entering – and ranking highly – in races.
ON A MISSION TO BEAT ‘EM ALL.
Even though she disliked the term ‘lady driver’ because she wanted to compete against (and beat) men and women on equal terms, Pat’s profile in the racing world grew steadily throughout the 50s. She initially competed in rallies in her own Triumph car, but after the car company turned down her sponsorship request, she switched to MG, who saw the overlooked potential in the fiercely competitive 22-year-old woman.
Pat rose up the ranks in races in Britain and across Europe, and finally, in 1960, began to win trophies and break records. Despite driving an Austin Healey that was so big that the 5ft 4 driver had to tie blocks of wood to pedals to stay in control of the vehicle, she raced to first place in the four-day Liege-Rome-Liege and became the first woman ever to win an international rally.