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This June bank holiday, the roads of Co Laois, Co Carlow and Co Kildare will be adorned by some of the most spectacular classic cars in celebration of the Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run.

The road run takes place every June to commemorate the original 1903 race which shaped modern motorsport by being the first to use laps of a closed circuit and was without fatality.

It was a precursor to the modern grand prix.

This year’s launch of the Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run was held at the Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park, where it was attended by representatives of the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Siochana.

The event has an unblemished road safety record, linking it to the proud record of the 1903 race, “the race that saved motorsport”.

This record set the 1903 race apart from other early races, whose hosts ran it on open roads, resulting in multiple fatalities.

Adding glamour to the launch was iconic Irish motor racing star Rosemary Smith, who arrived in a stunning red 1965 Sunbeam – but she was quick to point out she still drives one of her original Hillman Imps, which brought her so much success on the rally circuit.

The Gordon Bennett Irish Classic Car Run is a fun weekend which attracts growing numbers of Irish and overseas visitors every year, a popularity which the organisers attribute to its amazing heritage and the success of the very first race in 1903, which attracted more than 150,000 spectators, a record which still stands.

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