Every man out there will be able to recall times in his life when he has mentally said to himself, “Ouch, I wish I hadn’t said that” or the less painful (even happy), “I’m glad I didn’t say that”. The thing is that these two thoughts are almost always usually associated with women.

I  clearly remember two of these incidents and admit up front that they were of the happier kind. ( I am not the type to embarrass myself on the web when I don’t have to).

The first was when I was a student and my friend Richard, and I were visiting a business. Lo and behold, behind the reception desk was a beautiful young woman with her nose buried deep in a thick textbook. 

Richard and I preened…it’s something male varsity students do automatically because, at that age, you think you are young and intelligent and that the no woman in her right mind can resist your charms.  

Fortunately, Richard, who is now a professional man ( which is why I only use his first name) spoke first.

“I see you are studying,” he said. “I’m at varsity studying for a major in psychology”. (Wait for applause and female adulation).

“So am I,” she said. “ I’ve just been accepted for a masters.”  It was only then that we saw the title of the book An Introduction to Advanced Nuclear Physics.

Desiré Wilson revs male counterparts

The second time it involved Desiré Wilson and cars. 

I was at a skidpan attending the launch of a Jeep Cherokee and was waiting my turn to do so something spectacular. Then a woman stepped forward and began explaining how to master a skid.

The guy next to me said (too loudly it turns out): ”Does this woman really think she can tell me anything about driving?” She heard. 

Without missing a beat, she said: “Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. I am Desiré Wilson, and I have driven Formula One and at Indianapolis, so am here to help you today.”

Man beats a hasty exit…

Female pioneer: Only woman to win F1 race

What she didn’t say, and still should be more celebrated, is that she is a South African who is the only woman ever to have won an F1 race, something she did in a British Championship event at Brands Hatch in 1980. But her story doesn’t stop there.

The 1980 season was Wilson’s finest. She not only created F1 history at Brands Hatch but won the World Sportscar Championship races at Monza and Silverstone as a co-driver. Disappointingly, she didn’t qualify for the British Grand Prix. 

She then went on to drive for Tyrell in the 1981 South African Grand Prix — her last appearance in a Grand Prix.

Desiré Wilson races a Tyrrell at the 1981 South African Formula One GP. Image: Supplied

She was fourth in the Brands Hatch 1 000km in 1982 and drove a Wysard Racing March 83C Cosworth in 19893 and 1984 and competed in about 17 championship seasons, including the World Sportscar Championship in 1991.

She also entered the Indy 500, but unfortunately for local record books, failed to qualify after her teammate Gordon Smiley was killed in a crash, and the team withdrew from practice.

IndyCar: In the heat of the moment

She made amends the following year driving an IndyCar at Cleveland and coming in 10th in a race that was run in blistering 37°C heat.

My advice to couch potato wannabees who think they should have been in an F1 line-up, is: Don’t brag about your advanced driving course to that woman who told you she also loves driving.

It could be another Desiré Wilson.

Onlineautos
Author: Onlineautos