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The Older The Fiddle, The Sweeter The Tune – HRCA Preview

Since Matt Damon was spotted in Dalkey, the SuperValu carrier bag is now trendier than the formerly obligatory Brown Thomas one- according to those in the know.

In recent weeks Patrick Dempsey has also been spotted in Dublin’s fair city, with Jane Seymour also strutting her stuff in fashionable South County Dublin in recent weeks. They have competition though, as one man has recently become an absolute star of the big screen. Historic racer Ken McAvoy took it all in his stride when we decided he would be the star of our recent video launching the ICCR. As you will have seen, he fitted the part perfectly- and rumour, if it can be believed, suggests that he now enjoys something of a celebrity status amongst his peers.

On a more serious note, Ken is one of a number of classic motor racing enthusiasts who run the HRCA, or Historic Racing Car Association. Originally run as the Sports Section of the Irish Veteran and Vintage Car Club (IVVCC), the association was set up in the early ‘80s and hasn’t looked back since. The Pre-55s cater for the older machines- yes, yes we know, the clue is in the name. If you think these older cars are a touch staid, or cosseted by their intrepid pilots, think again. Go down and watch at turn one, or if you are inside the paddock, go towards the back gate (always a great place to watch) and have a look at them- watch the drivers saw at the wheel, watch the tyres struggle to stay on the rims- these chaps aren’t messing around!

The main HRCA class is always worth a watch. The steel bodied MG Midgets, Austin Healey Sprites and MGBs compete for the Joe Flynn Trophy. Joe, if you didn’t know, was a highly talented racer back in the day, almost always at the wheel of an MG. Wolfgang Schnittger, Liam Ruth, Ed Rynhart and sometimes our film star mentioned above (no, not Matt Damon) really go at it- with no quarter given nor expected.

Jackie Cochrane, when he appears is extremely hard to beat. His immaculate (he runs JC Restorations) Sunbeam Tiger is fabled to have circa 500bhp and if you have stood on the pitwall when Jackie gives it the beans, you won’t doubt that figure. Unfortunately for the others, with Jackie at the helm, it is equally as impressive on the twiddly bits- a combination which is very hard to beat. The rumbling machine is not at its best off the line though, generally allowing others through for a few laps of glory, before Jackie warms everything up and opens the taps.

Series backer, through Impace Metals Ireland, Bernard Foley has developed his MGBGT V8 extensively over the past decade and the former Modsport racer is also what they call in the Mondello Paddock a “handy pilot”- and he has, on occasion, taken the Tiger’s scalp. Former FF1600 star and well known Dublin motor trader Bill Griffin has recently purchased the ex Billy Crosbie Lotus 7 Series IV. Again, this combination should be strong enough to cause an upset on occasion and Bill won’t be too generous with the tarmac if it gets tight! Brendan Keane is also back with his beautifully presented Holbay powered Mallock, as is Val Thompson, with his Zetec engined TMC Costin. Add to this Clive Brandon’s immaculate Gold Leaf liveried Lotus Europa/47 and a handful of Modsport Midgets and you have one of the most varied and colourful grids on the ICCR programme!