For the past 17 months, Carrick-on-Suir Motor Club has been busily organising a Festival of Motorsport which will be held next weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at Belline Estate in Piltown.

As previously reported by The Munster Express, some 30,000 visitors are expected over both days, with motoring enthusiasts expected to flock to the South Kilkenny venue from all parts of the island.

The event is being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the club’s foundation, with the National Rehabilitation Hospital and the Children’s Medical and Research Foundation to benefit from all monies raised on both days.

Tickets are also on sale for a raffle with a Nissan car on offer as first prize, along with other prizes to be won, including a €1500 holiday voucher.

Also on offer are: free entry to this year’s Ravens Rock Rally (which will be officially launched this Saturday at 7pm), a day testing with a World Rally Car driver and a day at RallyConnection rally school. The draw for these prizes will be held at the event on Sunday next.

So what’s to see and do at Belline this weekend? The Rally Car Experience (featuring James Foley Rallysport) with full works team looks certain to provide a highlight.

Rides consisting of three laps around a specially designed stage are priced at €30 per ride, with the six lap option also available for €50.

The Rally Car Experience driver line-up includes Eugene Donnelly, Colm Murphy, ex-World Boxing champion Barry McGuigan as well as Paul Kiely, James Cassidy, Gabriel Martin, Michael Murray and James Foley himself.

Austin McHale and his sons Gareth and Aaron will have their Ford Focus WRCs on display at the festival site which is expected to feature 1,000 vehicles on a 70-acre site near Belline House.

Rosemary Smith, Ireland’s most successful lady driver, is to attend the festival on both days and will bring her original Hillman Imp to Belline.

Thanks to Tom Geraghty Tyres, festival organisers have confirmed that a Ferrari F1 car will also be on display at the main arena over the weekend.

Gareth Lloyd of West Wales Rally Spares will attend the Festival with his original ex-Works Roger Clarke RS 1800 Mark 11 Escort.

It’s also just been confirmed that bikes raced by the late great Joey and Robert Dunlop will also be on display in Piltown.

“Everyone that’s been involved in the organising effort, and every one of them on a voluntary basis I might add, has been absolutely brilliant, working so hard to get everything right for the festival,2 said Festival Organising Committee Chair James Coleman.

“We’ve been pulling out all the stops to ensure we’ll have a great couple of days here, and I’m confident we’re going to do just that.”

All disciplines of motorsport will be represented at the festival, including rally, race, autotest, autocross, rallycross, karting, hillclimb, hot rod and drift cars.

Motorcycles, vintage cars, vintage tractors, machinery and stationary engines will also be on display. For the first time in the south-east, a tractor pulling competition will also be held.  

“The support we’ve got from so many sources – the expertise of the Iverk Show Committee, Kildalton College and local businesses, has been incredible,” said James Coleman.

“This has been a great local effort all-round and while there’s still a few outstanding bits and pieces we’ve got to address, everything is coming together well.”

Should the estimated festival attendance of 30,000 be realised, both Dublin-based charities will benefit to the tune of at least €100,000.

Tickets are priced €10 (on each day) with children under 12 free of charge, while student and OAP tickets are priced €5. Parking will be available in the grounds of Kildalton College, while there will also be a catering village on the site.

Camping (with music and bar facilities in Piltown’s GAA complex on Saturday night), trade stands, arts and crafts along with the time honoured festival appendage for kids – the bouncy castle, will also be available.

Let’s hope the hard-working organsing committee of this popular, smooth running motor club get the good weather and the big turnout they deserve next weekend.

* The Ravens Rock Rally, Round Six of the Dunlop Rally Championship, takes place on June 29th and we’ll have further details in future editions.