Dublin’s Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn launched an anniversary reissue of Toomevara author Brendan Lynch’s book, Triumph of the Red Devil. The 1903 Irish Gordon Bennett Cup Race
“We are indebted to Brendan who worked so diligently on his celebration of such a significant event in Irish sporting, motoring and social history. He also deserves great credit for his three books on Dublin’s literary history, including the newly-published City of Writers,” said Cllr Quinn.
Sponsored by Mercedes, the launch attendance included former international rally winner, Rosemary Smith, along with retired racing drivers Don Kissane and Larry Mooney; Mercedes chief executive Stephen Byrne, members of motoring clubs and the Belgian ambassador, Robert Devriese..
Emer Costello, MEP, praised Margie Lynch’s encouragement of her husband’s work, and said: “We are now very much a European nation. But in July 110 years ago, Europe came to Ireland, when the best drivers in the world contested the Gordon Bennett Cup. Even James Joyce was moved to write a story in Dubliners about the event and he mentioned race winner Jenatzy in Ulysses.”
Triumph of the Red Devil is the definitive lap-by-lap account of the 327-mile race which took place on a circuit centred on Athy, County Kildare. Drivers included 1902 winner Selwyn Edge, France’s Rene de Knyff, who won many of the early motor races, and Fernand Gabriel, winner of the Paris-Madrid, the last of the early city-to-city races.
The day-long race was won by Mercedes driver Camille Jenatzy at 49.25mph. The world land speed record was broken at 84mph in the subsequent Phoenix Park Speed Trials by fellow-Belgian, Baron de Forest. Rolls-Royce founder, Charles Rolls, won supporting events in Cork and Kerry.
Mr Lynch represented Tipperary in cycle racing and raced cars for three years.
”The Gordon Bennett was a marathon crammed with drama, excitement and sportsmanship,” he said.