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The Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car RunEvery June bank holiday the roads of Laois, Carlow and Kildare are traversed by some spectacular classic cars in celebration of the Gordon Bennett Classic Irish Road Run, “The Race that saved motor sport”. The event has drawn Classic Car enthusiasts from as far away as California, Australia, South Africa and Malaysia.
Gordon Bennett, son of the owner of the New York Herald loved sport. In 1900 he sponsored the first-ever international motoring race, the Coupe Internationale or Gordon Bennett Cup Race. A precursor to the modern Grand Prix, and the 1903 Irish Gordon Bennett Cup Race was the first ever, international race held on a closed circuit.
Motor sport, now, was popular across Europe was earning a reputation as a dangerous sport. Courses were on open roads, and were badly managed town-to-town affairs with loss of life to drivers and spectators. The sport was in danger of being banned across Europe.
Britain won the 1902 race and hosting rights for the 1903 race. Ireland, still under British rule, became the venue on a closed circuit course through Carlow, Kildare and Laois. There were no deaths and motor sport endured as a result.
The original Gordon Bennett route was first run in 1903 by the playboy son of the founder of the New York Herald and travelled through the charming country sides and villages of Kildare, Carlow and Laois. However, instead of the neck braking race it once was, this event invites you to take a gentler approach and to travel at your own pace whilst embracing the experience of a weekend filled with fun, nostalgia and liked minded individuals. How can vintage motor enthusiasts resist!