Jun 08, 2015
Formula 1 car demos, celebrity rally driver displays, daring track feats, iconic Group B cars from the heyday of rallying and the original Wall of Death show are amongst the exciting events taking place at Gowran Park on 11th and 12th July as part of the inaugural Gowran Festival of Speed, details of which have been announced.
Wexford Sport & Classic Car Club and the board of Gowran Park, who are the main organisers, are promising to bring the spectacle, excitement, speed and noise of Formula 1 and world rallying to the Kilkenny track this July for what will be the first festival of its kind in Ireland.
Celebrated rally drivers Rosemary Smith, Billy Coleman and Aaron McHale, amongst others, will be joined by members of the car group Slowly Sideways to partake in daring track speed demos in a variety of rally cars, including the Audi Quattro, Metro 6RV and the Porsche 911 RSR. Other riders will carry out motorbike feats. Demos will take place every half hour, using the ambulance track, and beamed onto giant screens, with commentary, around the race course.
A festival highlight will be the presence of the iconic Group B Cars, courtesy of rally car group Slowly Sideways, to the delight rally fans across the country. Group B was a set of regulations introduced in 1982 for competition vehicles in sports car racing and rallying and which fostered some of the quickest, most powerful and sophisticated rally cars ever built in a golden era of rallying. However, a series of major accidents were blamed on their outright speed and led to them being banned and the class disestablished. As a result, Group B cars enjoy legendary status among rally fans.
A busy fringe will offer a food quarter, live entertainment, helicopter rides and a full children’s entertainment area to ensure the festival has mass appeal and brings thousands to Gowran Park in mid-July. Its highlight is surely the original tented Wall of Death that will allow crowds throughout the day to enjoy a traditional wall of death show featuring stunt riders on 1920s Indian motorbikes who will ride a vertical wooden wall and perform stunts of skill and balance mere inches from the top of the wall. Wall of Death performances have appeared in various films including the 1986 Irish movie Eat The Peach.
Planned ‘static’ events include trucks and car displays of various makes and models from all over the world. There will be the option of on-site camping at Gowran Park for visitors from outside the county who wish to stay close to the action.
Gowran Festival of Speed is the result of a collaboration between the race course and Wexford Sport & Classic Car Club. The festival is to be the Irish alternative to the world-famous Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK that currently attracts crowds of 100,000 on each of the three days it is held in June. The UK’s Historic Vehicle Research Institute (HVRI), working with the University of Brighton, calculated that the Goodwood Revival meeting creates an overall spend of more than £32 million – of which over £12 million is invested in the local economy.
Speaking at the announcement, Joe Connolly, Chairman, Gowran Park commented, “Goodwood is a massive injection of visitors and capital for West Sussex. Gowran Festival of Speed has the potential to be a huge draw for families, as well as car enthusiasts, interested in having an alternative day out”.
Gowran Festival of Speed takes place from noon to 6pm on Sat. 11th and Sun. 12th July at Gowran Park. Tickets are €10 per adult and €5 for seniors and students. Children under 16 go free. Tickets are available from www.tickets.ie or at the gate. Visit www.gowranpark.ie, Gowran Festival of Speed on FB and @fosGowran on Twitter using #FOSGowran.
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