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Car lovers rally together for historic anniversary

AFTER a 75-year absence, the Grand Prix is finally returning to Cork.

Preparations are under way for a motoring event to mark the 75th anniversary of the Cork Grand Prix. In 1938, top drivers from all over the world, including the Prince of Siam, flocked to the rebel county to race fast cars.

A commemorative event on June 23 will involve a three-lap parade of the original circuit by pre-1950s racing and sports cars, including some that took part in the original race.

Organiser Chris O'Mahony said the 1938 Grand Prix was a huge spectacle against the backdrop of an impending world war.

"More than 70,000 people found their way to Cork. There were special trains running from Dublin and hotels did special deals," said Mr O'Mahony.

"The big publicity was around Prince Bira from Siam, a wealthy aristocrat studying in England, who touched 140 miles an hour with no safety belt or helmet.

The race, which included the challenging Carrigrohane Straight Road, was won by Frenchman Rene Dreyfus in a Delahaye.

It holds the unique distinction of being Ireland's only race held under Formula 1 rules.

Organisers from the Munster Vintage Motorcycle and Car Club have already managed to source three sports cars from the original race.

They include the Smithfield Special, a famous Irish racing car that won the Leinster Trophy twice, a TRS (Thompson Racing Special) and a Riley.

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Mr O'Mahony said that anyone who has items, documents or stories linked to the famed race can contact the organisers at www.corkgrandprix.com.

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