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Kildare > Heritage > Gordon Bennett Motor Race > ‘Gordon Bennett Races Again’

Gordon Bennett Motor RaceBack To Main Menu


Media / Press Release on behalf of
Athy Heritage Centre, Emily Square, Athy, Co. Kildare



A century ago, County Kildare was a hub of motor sport activity, with the running of the “Irish Gordon Bennett Race”, the route of which crossed through Counties Kildare, Carlow and Laois.

An English driver won the 1902 race and England was required to host the event the following year. Westminster passed a Special law allowing the race to take place in Ireland in 1903, which was won by Camille Jenatzy for Germany in a Mercedes, many motor racing commentators regard The Irish Gordon Bennett Route and Race as the birth of modern Grand Prix racing.

The three counties of Kildare Carlow and Laois have come together to commemorate the centenary of the race over the June bank holiday weekend. On Saturday 31st May time trials will be held at Moate of Ardscull in Kildare, the original road is being reopened for the occasion. Trials will commence at 9:00am and continue until 5:00 pm. At Bagenalstown on Sunday 1st June, the programme will be repeated and at The Heath in County Laois the time trials will take place on Bank Holiday Monday. Approx 70 racing cars will participate in these events, including a 1903 Napier (The English entry in the original race was a 1903 Napier) driven by John Bentley, a 1916 Hudson driven by Jane Tomlinson. Kieran White drives a 1930 Thomson Racing Special (This car was built in Mallow in 1930’s and won the last European motor race before the Second World War.)

Additionally, the Ballknakill Vintage and Classic Car Owners Club will be driving the full route on Sunday 1st June, with planned stops in Athy and Kildare town to display the cars between 2:00 pm and 4:30pm. In the following week the Irish Veteran and Vintage Car Club will be staging their Centenary celebrations along the same route.

The original 94-mile route will be signposted later in the year. This route will be marketed internationally as a tourist route by The Gordon Bennett Company Limited, a Company formed by representatives from Counties Kildare, Carlow and Laois. Towns and villages along the route will be encouraged to develop their tourism potential to entice tourists to leave the motorways and bypasses while heading south.

For additional information please contact
Sean Cleary, PRO, The Gordon Bennett Company Limited, The Heritage Centre, Athy, County Kildare. Telephone 0507 24164 or 087 9090044

Pictures of the entries may be obtained by e-mailing

Further background information regarding the race may be downloaded from or by contacting Mario Corrigan at 087 9871046

Trials information may be obtained from Declan Grogan at 0503 31337, the full programme may be downloaded from

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