Fay Taylour

Frances Helen Taylour was born in Birr, County Offaly, in April 1904, known as Flying Fay, she learned to drive a car at the age of 12 and while she was at Alexandra College, graduated to motorcycles. During the 1920s, she took up motorcycle trials and grass track racing and became a major attraction, she then moved to speedway, which was more spectacular and better paid. She was already travelling the world, becoming a familiar speedway competitor and a big attraction in England and Australia. Fay switched to cars in 1931. Competing in a women's handicap race at Brooklands in the autumn, driving a Talbot 105 and lapping at 107.80 mph. In a similar race at Brooklands in the autumn of the following year, she came second and, in excitement, made several more fast laps, not stopping until a flagman stepped out in front of her Alfa Monza. For this she was fined and disqualified. In 1934, she went home to Ireland and won the Leinster Trophy road race, in a front wheel drive Adler Trumpf. She was the only woman competitor in the race, as she had been when she drove a works Aston Martin in the Mille Miglia. She also took part in the Craigantlet hill climb in County Down in 1934. Her last major race before the War was with a Riley in the 1938 South African Grand Prix, where she received a hero's welcome, though she was unplaced.

Fay at Brooklands

In the late 1930s, she became a follower of the fascist Oswald Mosley (father of Max), joined the British Union of Fascists and the Right Club, an anti Semitic organisation. Like Mosley and his wife, Diana Mitford she was interned as a danger to the state between 1940 and 1943, first in Holloway prison and then on the Isle of Mann. The Home Secretary only approved her release on condition that she left Britain and resided in Ireland. The MI 5 notes leading up to this decision in June '43 described her as "...one of the worst pro-Nazis.....she is in the habit of hoarding pictures of Hitler and had in her possession a hymn in which his name was substituted for God's."

In 1949, she moved to Hollywood where she sold Jaguars and MGs and discovered midget car racing on dirt tracks. In around 1952, Fay returned to Europe and attempted to rebuild her career, unsurprisingly, her fascist affiliations were omitted from her post-war publicity, however they were well known in the paddock. She achieved little success:

Thruxton, 4th August 1952, DNF

Skarpnäck, 14th September 1952, 12th.

Castle Combe, 4th October 1952, DNF.

Skarpnäck, 11th & 12th September 1953, 12th in final and lost match race to Olle Nygren

Right; Fay sitting in one of the Prototype Coopers. We are not sure if this was at a real event or an arranged photo opportunity.

After retirement in the late 1950s, she went to live in Dorset, dying from a stroke in 1983. She never married.

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