120th anniversary of Ballyfinnane Hillclimb to be celebrated in July  

120th anniversary of Ballyfinnane Hillclimb to be celebrated in July  


The 120th anniversary of the most significant event in the history of Kerry motorsport and motoring will be celebrated in style this July. 

On July 15, 1903, the first ever closed road motorsport event in Kerry took place on a hillclimb near Ballyfinnane.  

The event was won by Charles Rolls, who later went on to become a founder of the Rolls Royce Motor Company. 

He won the County Kerry Cup, a silver trophy provided by Kerry County Council, by setting the fastest time over a 500-yard course near the mid-Kerry village. 

The July 1903 event is hugely important to motoring historians and motorsport enthusiasts all over the country and beyond and was the first closed-road motorsport event in Kerry. 

Now two motoring clubs in the county hope to celebrate the 120th anniversary of this hugely important milestone over two days next July. 

On Saturday, July 15, exactly 120 years to the day after Rolls won the event the Kingdom  Veteran Vintage and Classic Car Club in association with the Irish Veteran Vintage and Classic Car Club will collaborate to remember this historic occasion. 

Previously,  in 1993 the KVVCCC erected a monument to Rolls on the finish line to mark the 90th anniversary of the historic event and since then the location has been a popular stopping-off point for visiting car clubs. 

This year the KVVCCC will run a classic car run over the original course on the morning of July 15. A few hours later members of the Brass Brigade arm of the Irish Vintage and Classic Car Club will follow the same route. 

The Brass Brigade hold annual rallies all over Ireland but specifically chose Kerry for this year’s event as club members wanted to mark the 120th anniversary of the famous hillclimb.  

Up to forty cars, from the early 1900s, are expected in Tralee on the weekend of July 15/16.  

After visiting the Rolls Monument in Ballyfinnane on Saturday both clubs will enjoy a tour of West Kerry.  

On Sunday, Kerry Motor Club, one of the two motorsport clubs in the county, is planning to run a closed-road motorsport over the original course.  

While this event is still subject to Motorsport Ireland approval and course safety inspections the club is pressing on with preliminary plans to mark this historic occasion. 

Both events were confirmed at the two clubs’ Annual General Meetings which were held last weekend.

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