Part of our Women in Motorsport series by guest writer Lara Platman
The 2023 Monte Carlo Rally is beginning to take shape. For the first time in the event’s history, five mountain passes in a row will create the longest special stage; Col de l’Orme, Col de l’Albie, Col de Braus, Col Saint-Jean and Col de Castillon will provide twists and turns for the drivers. It is an event I truly wish I was attending, and a rally that was a firm favourite for the lady I would like to introduce you to here.
Out of all the women racers I have written about so far in my Women in Motorsport series, Pat Moss is possibly the most suitable and notable. Although her brother rose to fame first, she made her own lasting mark on the rallying world.
She drove many recognisable cars over the years, amongst them Saab, Cortina, Capri and of course the Mini. I can hear you all now – ‘I know someone who had one of those’, or ‘I’d love one of those’ – Pat Moss certainly drove the cars that we recognise today as decent, solid classics.
Now, buckle up and let me introduce you to Pat Moss-Carlsson.
Pat was born in Thames Ditton in 1934. Growing up, her passion was show jumping and she reached Olympic level at the age of eighteen. Meanwhile her brother, Stirling, was making a name for himself in motorsport.
They both enjoyed success in their respective sports; however, one day Ken Gregory (Stirling’s manager at the time) invited Pat to go on a motoring treasure hunt with him. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to have a go herself, and that is where her new-found passion was ignited.
Soon she was regularly competing in rallies in her Morris Minor convertible. At this time, show jumping was still her main career, so any rallies that Pat entered had to fit in around her work. She used money she won from show jumping to buy a Triumph TR2 in 1954 with a view to taking rallying more seriously.
Pat began rallying in her Triumph and asked Pat Richardson, the Triumph Competitions Manager, if they would cover her expenses, enabling her to enter the 1955 RAC Rally. Richardson said they would only offer up a car, without any budget, which allowed Marcus Chambers of MG to step in and offer a brand-new MG TF 1500 with expenses.
Pat entered with Ann Riley (née Wisdom; Elsie Wisdom’s daughter). Triumph lost out as Pat and Ann became really rather good at rallying, and they were soon known as Mossie and Wizz.
Both of Ann’s parents were racing drivers so it was no wonder that Ann would follow suit. When she wasn’t rallying, she worked as an office clerk. Ann’s manager at the time discovered her love of rallying when he saw a photo in Motorsport Magazine of both Pat and Ann having won a rally. The problem, however, was that Ann had pulled a week-long ‘sicky’ to navigate for Moss!