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Local Studies Department

The Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903 - Leinster Leader June 1903

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Leinster Leader, Saturday 4 July 1903, Last Edition – Page 5





The “Motor Fortnight,” from the standpoint of local popular interest, opened on Sunday last, when – in the pleasant and sunny weather succeeding the rough, stormy and wintrish[sic] experience of the preceding days – considerable numbers from Naas, Athy, Newbridge, Kildare and other districts made pilgrimage to Ballyshannon Cross Roads on car and cycle. The roads were lively with motors and both wheel-men and car-drivers had to exercise care and caution, more especially at the Grand Stand, where a narrow passage of roadway, encroached upon by the supports of the structure and pulverised for some depth on the surface by the passage of traction engines, had to be negotiated, amidst a crush of vehicles, automobile and otherwise. Though the course and its approaches were the scene of such brisk traffic, no accident occurred worth recording. The various private stands abundantly in evidence were inspected with interest, their strength and points of advantage being discussed. A staff of workmen were busily engaged completing the Grand Stand, whose capacity to bear its probable load was the subject of more than one sceptical conjecture. However, the assurance that all defects had by this time been remedied and the Stand certified as absolutely safe, robbed these suppositions of the element of sensation that they might have possessed. There was not much otherwise to engage the visitors’ attention. A series of very unpicturesque eye-sores such as the stands really were – an odd tent – an atmosphere flavoured with petrol from the passing and re-passing cars – momentary glimpses of veiled heads, “goggled” eyes, and their dust-ful owners – such was the complete picture and impression that Sunday at Ballyshannon provided. There was little to suggest the threshold of a great International event, and nothing but the occasional fleeting glimpse of a foreign car to give the expected cosmopolitan touch to the scene of a great world-gathering.