Smith enters her first rally as a co-driver. After deciding that navigating is not to her liking, she switches to driving. She comes to the attention of the Rootes Group‘s Competition Department, which offers her a works drive.
Smith is controversially disqualified from the 1966 Monte Carlo Rally after winning the Coupe des Dames, the ladies’ class. Ten cars in total are disqualified. She says she will never compete again unless the decision is reversed.
Smith’s other competition successes include an outright win in the 1969 Cork 20 Rally. She has won the ladies’ prize several times on the Scottish Rally and on the Circuit of Ireland Rally, twice each on the Alpine Rally and on the Canadian Shell 4000 and once on the Acropolis Rally. She also has numerous class wins to her name.
Smith founds a driving school in the 1990s. On May 10, 2017, she does a test drive with the show car of Renault F1 on the Circuit Paul Ricard as part of a filming day. This makes her the oldest person to have driven an 800bhp racing car.
(Pictured: Rosemary Smith at the Rally de Monte Carlo in 1965)