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Cork grand prix takes you back in time

Thursday, 20th June, 2013 1:00am

A unique event is being organised in Cork this weekend that will take people back some 75 years in time. A commemorative 1938 Cork Grand Prix 75th anniversary event is taking place on Sunday 23 June, facilitated by The Munster Vintage Motor Cycle and Car Club.

Gathering at Cork County Hall at 10am, car enthusiasts and their families will see up to 50 pre-war race and sports cars stage a re-enactment of the famous race. In 1975 the event was the equivalent of a modern formula one race and brought some 70,000 spectators to the city.

The Cork Grand Prix ran for three consecutive years on the 1930s, peaking in 1938. Bringing back memories of the era, The Munster Vintage Motor Cycle and Car Club will recreate the race in the vicinity of the Carrigrohane Straight, Cork, with several of the cars that participated in the actual race, re-living the experience 2013 style.

“The Cork Grand Prix circuit remains largely unchanged in layout from when it was used in 1938. Beginning at City Hall the cars will venture out via Victoria Cross, to Dennehy's Cross, zipping out the Model Farm Road past the Motor Tax Office to Poulavone Roundabout, returning back by Carrigrohane Straight to the County Hall. Three laps of the original circuit, led by the Garda Traffic Corps, will begin at 10.30am with cars beginning to assemble outside City Hall from around 10am onwards," said Alan Cavanagh, event manager of Munster Vintage Motor Cycle and Car Club.

“What we are running on Sunday is based at County Hall where at least 45 vintage cars will be on display. A lot are Irish registered and from Northern Ireland but we also have some coming form the UK and Switzerland. Exemplary marques joining in the fleet include vintage favourites MG, Austin, Bentley, Bugatti, Riley, Jagonda and Alvis," said Alan.

Spectators are in for a treat as one of the race's most famous cars returns to the track. “We're very excited that Tom Dark from the UK has entered the Cork Bugatti in the race. It's was very well-known at the time as its first race with a three litre super-sized engine to suit the new 1938 International Formula regulations was the Cork Grand Prix in 1938. Although it retired from the race it had set the fastest speed over a flying kilometre on the Carrigrohane straight at 147.25 mph. The car has been fully restored in recent years and is now used for historic racing in the UK and Europe," Mr Cavanagh said.

The event is sure to appeal to those who have an innate appreciation of the classics. “People will be able to watch the cars all the way round the route with plenty of parking available on the day. The parade laps can be viewed at any point around the route and spectators should stand in safe places, on the footpath, at all times."

After three laps the cars and drivers will retire to City Hall where there will be an indoor display of old photographs and news paper cuttings. Programmes and souvenirs will be available for purchase on the day with proceeds from sales going to Marymount Hospice. The overall event is free.

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