The Day The Bishop Raced At Mondello!
Bishop Eamonn Casey was larger than life. He was known for his love of fast cars and if the stories were to be believed, was once stopped by the Gardaí at over 130mph in a high powered Mercedes. He was also a Lancia fan and drove a number of cars from the Italian manufacturer.
Back in 1982, Larry Mooney, had added to his famous Production Saloon Golf GTi with the latest, second generation Mazda 323 with the intention of having a go at the Kadett SRs and Fiesta Supersports in the up to 1300cc Production Saloon class. Supported by Mazda Ireland and running number 323 on the door, what better way to get some publicity than to install the above speed addicted cleric behind the wheel for the Mondello season opener. Bishop Casey agreed and decided to raise funds- at the time for the men’s homeless shelter in Galway (well ahead of his time on that one.!) RTE came onboard with the Mike Murphy hosted “The Live Mike” show and the plans began. Larry gave his new protege some training on the Saturday and a special race was set up, during a race meeting proper. About half of the 1300cc regulars were chosen to compete, including pacesetters Frank O’Rourke, Des Cullen and Pat Murphy (father of Murphy Prototypes boss Greg), as well as Fiat exponent Peter Lynch. Was the race scripted? Watch it, and you decide! The quality is not the best, but it is worth it- this is pure gold!!
Watch out too for a cameo from Father Ted- well almost. It’s actually Dermot Morgan’s earlier character Father Trendy!
Header Image from Con Connolly.