120th anniversary of Ballyfinnane Hillclimb to be celebrated with motorsport festival

120th anniversary of Ballyfinnane Hillclimb to be celebrated with motorsport festival

Kerry Motor Club has announced details of the running of a Hillclimb on Sunday, July 16 in the Ballyfinnane area outside Tralee which will mark a very special occasion in the county.

The club will mark the 120th anniversary of the first motorsport event in Kerry

On July 15, 1903, the very first closed-road motorsport event in the county took place on the hillside in Ballyfinnane, 120 years ago this summer.

That event was won by Charles Rolls, who later went on to become to founder of the Rolls-Royce Motor Company

To celebrate the historic occasion, Kerry Motor Club will run a Hillclimb in the same location, 120 years to the weekend that Charles Rolls took home the Kerry Cup from Ballyfinnane.

Hillclimb racing is one of the oldest forms of motorsport disciplines in the country. While similar to rally stages, a Hillclimb course is relatively short, usually between 1 and 1.5km in length with multiple quick runs over the same course across a day.

While there will be some regular faces in rally cars on the day, single-seater cars (in a similar style to a Formula One car) are normally the fastest over the quick course and some single-seater formula race cars are expected at the event.

The hillclimb will be run under Motorsport Ireland regulations and safety visits to the course are now at an advanced stage.

The first planning meeting took place on Monday last, May 8 in the Shanty Bar, Ballyfinnane with some 50 motorsport enthusiasts getting to work on what will be a historic occasion in the county.

Events will get underway on the afternoon of July 15 with car safety inspections, driver meetings and driver parades.

Sean Moriarty, Clerk of the Course said: “The event, which will be run by Kerry Motor Club in association with the Ballyfinnane Community Association, is at an advanced stage of planning with a fantastic first official meeting in the Shanty Bar on Monday night. We are very much looking forward to bringing the sport of Hillclimb Racing back to Kerry and celebrating this important milestone in Kerry motorsport history.”

Mr Moriarty thanked Kerry County Council officials who are currently processing the road closure requests.

More details will be announced in due course including a classic car show and a host of family entertainment.

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