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  • Writer's pictureCat Lund

Lorraine Gathercole 1965-2022

We are very saddened by the death of Lorraine Gathercole, Chair of the BWRDC, racing driver and rally driver, who passed away on 25th September 2022 after a very brave and determined battle with cancer. Known for her laughter, kindness, and fortitude in the face of adversity, she championed women and girls in all forms of motorsport. A much-loved friend of so many, she will be greatly missed.

Having raced for over 25 years with much success, Lorraine joined the BWRDC over 20 years ago, serving on the committee as Club Secretary, Press Officer and Vice Chair.

She was elected club Chair in 2017 and was re-elected in 2020; whilst also maintaining the Press Officer role. Throughout her leadership, she used every opportunity to increase the profile of the BWRDC, its members and their activities on and off the track.

Lorraine masterminded a sponsorship scheme to help provide the funds for the BWRDC’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2012. Each decade was sponsored by a driver from that era. More recently, she was also part of a team of three BWRDC members who appeared in Channel 4’s Mission Ignition Challenge programme, whose task was to rebuild a car after a television crew had stripped it apart, the prize was the rebuilt car. The BWRDC team were the proud winners of a Porsche 944.

Her vision, belief and determination enabled the BWRDC to achieve a British record of the most women racing drivers competing in one race (29). The ‘Race for a Record’ event was part of the annual Walter Hayes Trophy meeting at Silverstone in 2014; where BWRDC members also enjoyed the hospitality of the BRDC clubhouse.

Throughout her illness Lorraine remained actively involved with the BWRDC, offering help and guidance to the committee, and continuing to encourage members in their racing endeavours. Now in its 60th year, Lorraine once again initiated ways to raise funds to celebrate this milestone.

Lorraine began her racing career in 1995 in an MG Midget, winning the MG Owners Club Championship in 2001. She also won the BWRDC Embassy Trophy (now known as the Mary Wheeler Memorial Trophy) in the same year as Club Champion.

Following this success, she went on to compete in a variety of historic racing cars including Formula Ford - 1600cc and 2000cc, Group 6 Sports Prototypes and a Lotus Elan 26R. Her racing highlights include a Le Mans Classic win in 2012 with husband, David; and ladies’ fastest lap at the Goodwood Revival meeting in her Lotus 18 Formula Junior.

More latterly, Lorraine has been racing her Lola 212 with a FVC engine at British and European circuits and rallying her Escort Mk1 with a 2 litre BDG engine, achieving a good finish in the Roger Albert Clark Rally in 2019.

As well as Chair of the BWRDC, Lorraine has served as Chair of the Motorsport UK Historic Committee where she led the agenda discussion items offering a competitor, supplier and female perspective.

We offer our sincere condolences to her husband, David, and to all her family and friends, and to all those whose lives were touched by Lorraine’s special kind of magic.

Helen Allen



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