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Local Studies Department

The Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903 - Leinster Leader June 1903

Back to Introduction | June list of articles

Leinster Leader, Saturday 13 June 1903 - Page 4
District Doings,

In Athy and Carlow.


Messrs. S. F. Edge, C. Jarrott, and J. W. Stocks, the trio selected to represent England in the Motor Race arrived in Athy on Monday evening, and took up their quarters at Castle Rheban where they rented both a pretty and historic residence from Mr. Harry Large.
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All three are young men who have made records in the cycle world.
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Mr. Stocks visited Athy some years ago when a short account of his career as a cyclist appeared in the “Leinster Leader.” He is a man of bone and brawn, and as hardy as nails.
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Personally the three competitors are likely to prove great favourites in Ireland. Gentlemanly and unassuming, with that absence of “side” which so distinguishes men of courage and of parts, they are just the type to win wide-spread popularity.
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The stand which is being erected by Messrs Duthie, Bodley, and Taylor at Russelstown is likely to be largely patronised. It commands a magnificent stretch of road, and can be easily approached from Athy station.

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It has been reparted[sic] that the public would have full access to the Moat on the day of the Motor Race. This is inaccurate, as Mr. Mecredy, with a certain limited reservation, has been granted the sole use of it for himself and his friends.
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In some quarters this is regarded as an advantage to the tenants of the Leinster Estate, as they will have an opportunity of benefitting by erecting stands. It is doubtful, however, if the tenants will adopt this view.
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A large number of motorists visited Athy during the past week. The English competitors were much in evidence and have now become familiar figures.

In Naas and North Kildare
The discussion on charges for accommodation in the neighbourhood of the Gordon-Bennett course still continues. General statements about high charges abound, but the writers are chary about giving specific instances. Vague assertion is safe. Particulars are dangerous for they might be as easily explained away as the £6 for a room alleged to have been demanded by Mr. Kelly, D.C., Kilmeade, Athy.
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From the patronising tone adopted one would imagine that the people are under some enormous debt of gratitude to the incoming visitors. Now, the Motor Race will undoubtedly confer considerable benefit on the locality, but to pretend that its organisation places the districts under a sort of compliment is not alone an absurdity but an insult to ordinary intelligence.
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The real truth is that neither money nor influence would purchase the use of a course for a motor race in any other country in the world at the present time. The sport-loving people of Ireland alone are ready to do what neither France, Spain, nor Germany would permit. It is opulent automobilism that is placed under the compliment.
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Prices must necessarily adjust themselves not only in response to demand but in ratio to the unwillingness of people to disorganise their domestic arrangements for the entertainment of strangers. For there are families who would not undertake this trouble and inconvenience for any money.
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Sane recognition of this fact ought check a lot of the cant and humbug that at present abounds. Silly comparisons with the “moderate prices” charged in Cork, Kerry and Co. Down ought also cease. There is no parallel between say, Mr. Kelly, of Kilmeade, who lives actually upon the course and a hotelkeeper a hundred miles away.
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In any case accusations of over-charge ought be accompanied by particulars. In the absence of such particulars the charges may as sweepingly be declared false and unfounded.
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While we are referring to motoring matters we may mention that serious complaints have already been made by pedestrians and cyclists of want of care and consideration on the part of motor scorchers. In the interests of the race we think the Automobile Club should issue strong and timely admonitions, so that public ire and opposition may not be aroused by the indiscretions of reckless individuals.
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We observe that Mr. Orde in a recent interview at Athy, said that Press should preach in season and out of season the necessity for the exercise of caution by the public on the day of the race. At present we would preach caution to the motorists not on the course or on the race day, but on the public highways on ordinary days. This counsel is in the interests of motorists themselves, for if abuses already in their infancy are not now checked there may ensue an exasperation favourable to the designs of those who have been intriguing against the Motor Race.