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County Kildare History and Heritage

Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903

Intro and Menu | July Articles

Leinster Leader, Saturday 11 July 1903 – Page 8.




Now that the great Motor Race is over and popular interest relieved of the tension of which it was to cause, accounts are beginning to arrive of the minor accidents attendant upon it. As yet particulars are available of only three of these, which took place on the Curragh. The most serious was that in which a valuable mare was killed. This animal, which was bought for 800 guinneas 18 months ago from Lord Fermoy by Mr. Samuel Watson, was being led along the road to the stud farm at Tully on Tuesday week. It was in charge of a groom. On the way, the groom saw a tourist car approach. He put up his hand to stop it, but the driver of the car paid no attention to the signal, and continued on his way. The mare taking fright, turned on the road, the motor crashed into it, and broke its leg. The motor pulled up momentarily, but the driver, with a gross disregard to the seriousness of the accident and of his responsibility, set off at full speed again before he could be properly identified. The mare, which had a foal at foot, had to be shot later on by the Kildare police. The sympathy of all true sportsmen will be extended to the owner in this unhappy occurrence. Whilst the conduct of the driver of the motor is deserving of the strongest reprobation.

A man and a boy had an extremely narrow escape on Thursday week, an are at present undergoing treatment in the Drogheda Memorial Hospital on the Curragh. About 1 a.m. on the day named, a private touring car came into collision with them on Ballymany Hill and knocked them down. The man was dragged partially under beneath it, his left knee was badly torn, and he received a very severe shock. The boy had his left leg injured, and his scalp lacerated. In striking contrast to the owner of the car in the last case, the gentleman driving the car immediately pulled up, and conveyed the two injured persons to the Hospital in his car.

One day last week, whilst going over the course preparatory to the Gordon-Bennett Race, Mr. Gabriel, the famous French driver, struck into a sheep on the road between Ballymany and Kildare. He was going at a terrific speed at the time, and the sheep was literally cut in two. With admirable thoughtfulness, M. Gabriel, on arriving at Kildare, informed the police of the accident, and gave his name and address. By the end of the week, the head ranger on the Curragh, Mr. J. S. M’Elveen, discovered that the sheep belonged to Mr. Farringdon, a County Wicklow grazier, and as soon as this information was conveyed to him M. Gabriel forwarded the owner a cheque for 25s., the sum at which the sheep was valued.
Two other accidents in Kildare are also reported. In one a boy crossing the Square at Kildare was knocked down by a touring car and had his collar-bone broken. The owner of the car drove off before he could be identified. The boy was detained in the infirmary:- In the second case, a lad named Arthur Jones, who was watching the Gordon-Bennett Race from the top of a tree at Kildare, fell to the ground, sustaining severe injury to the back.

The members of the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland on Monday commenced their tour northwards to Castlewellan. Leaving Dublin in the morning, some forty or fifty motorists proceeded in their machines, both racers and touring cars, to Newcastle, Co. Down, for the purpose of taking part in the hill-climbing and other competitions on Tuesday at Castlewellan. Between Dundalk and Newry, Mr. Ocks, of London, driving a 16 h.p. Napier, collided with a cow. His machine was thrown over an embankment into a bog, but fortunately he and his friends succeeded in jumping out and escaped without injury.