Oldest steeplechase swaps horses for horsepower

THE purists mightn’t approve, but the world’s oldest steeplechase is about to be recreated – this time with horsepower instead of horses.

Red Bull is to use the historic course between Buttevant and Doneraile to host a major motocross event featuring scores of motorcycle enthusiasts who will be following the exact route of the famous “St Ledger” which was run 340 years ago.

The event, which will revolve around a free, fun-filled family day out, will take place on Sunday, June 20.

Red Bull is hoping that up to 150 motorcyclists will enter the qualifiers which will be held on the previous day.

They will be whittled down to the best 25 for the actual race, which will get under way at 1pm on the Sunday.

“I’m totally psyched for this event. It’s going to be fast, competitive and push all the racers to their limits. It’s just the kind of race I like,” motocross champion Stewart Edmonds said.

In keeping with the historic horse race the competitors will be viewed in a “parade ring” adjacent to Buttevant Castle as the event revs up.

Red Bull will have a DJ playing music from a 1940s-converted Dodge and caterers will dole out food to about 3,000 spectators who are expected to watch the fun.

Special viewing areas will be set up alongside the course, with the main ones located near the river and around a short circuit area alongside Buttevant castle.

Moto cross enthusiasts wishing to enter must be holders of MCU or FIM licences.

Anybody wishing to apply can do so by contacting Philip at dfma@eircom.net.

Further information can be had at www.redbull.ie

Meanwhile, in a separate event, more than 300 people are set to take part in the World Naked Bike Ride when it takes to the streets of Cork city on July 19.

The event, which started in 2003 in Canada to combine a protest against the overuse of oil with a campaign against body shame, is now a worldwide event attracting tens of thousands of participants.

But you don’t have to be naked to take part. The organisers are looking for clothed stewards to help out with the event and body-painting is on offer to add some colour.

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