1929 Irish Grand Prix

'Inspired by the success of the 1928 Tourist Trophy race, the Royal Irish Automobile Club decided to run its own event, the Irish International Grand Prix. This was held over two days on a 'D' shaped circuit of 4 miles, 460 yards length, based in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Setting out the circuit required moving the Phoenix monument. The 'Star' reported noted that 'Experts say that the course is one of the most difficult upon which a motor race has ever been held.'' Michael Hay, Bentley 'Old Number One', 1999. The first race was for cars up to 1500cc; the second for those larger. Both were held over 70 laps, roughly 300 miles, with a handicap system. This meant that Glen Kidston driving the works Speed Six (race no. 4) gave Boris Ivanowski, in the supercharged Alfa Romeo, a start of four laps. No fewer than seven Bentleys were entered: two Blowers (Birkin and Rubin), the Speed Six (Kidston) and four 4 1/2 Litres (Harcourt-Wood, Cook, Scott and Holder). At the start Thistlethwaite in the Mercedes got away well, followed by Birkin and Kidston. By the second hour Kidston was in 4th place, averaging 80.7mph and reaching 110mph on the straight; the Alfa in comparison was averaging 78.2mph. 'It was clear that the race was going to be very close indeed' says Hay. 'The circuit became more tricky as the tar surface melted in the heat.' The Sunday Times observed: 'Then came two terrific skids, Kidston almost coming to grief twice at Montjoy Corner. The first time he skidded and turned completely round, stopped, and then continued for a few laps. Later, he skidded at the same point and mounted the green bank, nearly overturning. Again he stopped and again he went on, the intrepid driver looking as unconcerned as he sped by the stands as though nothing had happened.' Hay takes up: 'Birkin pressed hard, but it was Kidston who moved steadily up the field, into third and then second place.' 'There is a quarter of an hour yet to go. Up the straight comes a little red car, its engine screaming steadily. In it crouches Ivanowski, always looking a little too big for his vehicle...Seconds drag wearily by, and presently there is a deep throated roar and a long green car flashes towards the same corner, doing over 110mph. It is Kidston in the veteran big six Bentley, and the spectators in the grandstand turn to each other with the same question: 'Can the big green Bentley catch the little red Alfa Romeo?' 'As the six cylinder Bentley flashes past again a great chalked board is thrust out with 'Faster' on it. 'He can't go any faster' half groans a man beside me in the stand, but he does' reported the Morning Star correspondent. 'Over the closing laps it was touch and go, as loudspeakers broadcast the gap between the leading cars. Finally Ivanowski finished 14 seconds ahead of Kidston, who, at an average of 79.8mph was fastest on the road. Birkin brougt the Blower home third.' Michael Hay.