History of Kerry Motor Sport – part five – sort of! A side note linking Ireland with UK and Belgian closed road events

By Sean Moriarty

It is worth sharing this message I got from Middlesex County Automobile Club in London

  Followers of previous posts will know that I am trying to piece together the history of Kerry Motor sport

Photo taken in Bastogne, Belgium in 1907 – Sean Moriarty, owner of this website stayed in Hotel du Sud, in the background during this year’s Legend Bastogne Rally

Background on this info includes

Charles Rolls, of Rolls Royce fame, won the Kerry Hillclimb in 1903, the first motorsport event in the county.

His mechanic (co-driver) Lord Brabazon of Tara went on to become the president of Middlesex County Automobile Club – this club still has  massive connections with the Herts Auto and Aero Club  in north London and Brabzon was better known for his aviation work as well as being a motoring pioneer.

In 1907 he won the Circuit des Ardennes in a Belgian-made Minerva and served as president of the Middlesex County Automobile Club from 1946 until his death in 1964.

The Circuit des Ardennes passed through the town of Bastogne (seen main picture)  – home of the Legends Boucles Rally which took place in February – Craig Breen and Paul Nagle were due to contest this rally until they got a late call up to tackle WRC Sweden with Hyundai.

Lord Brabazon of Tara, Charles Rolls’ mechanic when he won the 1903 Kerry Hillclimb seen here (centre)winning the 1907 Circuit des Ardennes in Belgium


Middlesex County Auto Club are in the process of running a closed road rally – the first one in the north London region – (deferred from July this year until 2021) and approached London Irish Motor Club for advice and support.

 The County Kerry Cup, presented to Rolls for winning the 1903 event in believed to still exist and Mike Hurst of MCAC is enquiring through his Aero Club contacts

Here is the note from MCAC


I didn’t know of the links between the two clubs, it was a long time ago! Lord Brabazon of Tara was a character. Like many early Automobilists he was famous for his Flying. He was the holder of the first flying licence in the UK and had the registration number FLY 1.

The attached link has a photograph which Includes Brabazon, Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright, C.S. Rolls, J Andrews, Oswald Short, Horace Short, Eustace Short, Frank McLean, Griffith Brewer, Frank Butler, W Lockyer, and Warwick Wright. A historic gathering. Warwick Wright was a MCAC member whose business is now the Peugeot Garage at Chiswick Roundabout.

Unfortunately our new Rally this year has been postponed until next year, and will have a very Irish input to it thanks to you and your fellow members of London Irish Motor Club.What was planned as a low key introductory event this year will be a full blown event next year.

I have Brabazon ‘s book currently in a safe place! And the RAC and MCAC centenary books. It would be good to do some more research into the links, especially as we are working with Herts Auto and Aero Club on our event next year. Fascinating stuff


Mike Hurst Chairman Middlesex County Automobile Club.


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