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1934 Phoenix Park Senior Race

Victory for car built in Statham's Garage, Patrick St.

In 1904, John Robert Statham opened 'Statham & Co', Kilkenny City's first motor garage at 70 High Street. In 1910, they opened an additional garage on James Street. In 1917, they sold the James Street garage premises to the 'Kilkenny People' newspaper and relocated to Patrick Street where they took over a fine garage, 'Lambert & Co'. They became Ford main dealers the same year and extended the garage significantly.

As John got older, his son George played a more prominent role in the business, and in 1929 set about building his own 'special', a car completely designed and built in Statham's garage using a stripped back Ford. George drove the car himself until 1930 when driving duties were taken over by Statham's sales manager, Michael Joseph Hynes. The car raced to many victories on road and sand circuits around Ireland and with it's custom racing body, the Statham-Ford Special became a distinctive figure on the Irish motoring scene. Below is one of it's most notable victories in the Phoenix Park Senior Race in 1934.

Stathams Ford Special takes Victory

The Phoenix Park Senior Race was organised by the Irish Motor Racing Club. Out of 31 entries, there were 29 starters. The course was 100 miles and watched by 70,000 spectators while many more listened by radio. Indeed in Kilkenny, "every wireless set in the city was tuned in to hear the description of the race".


The car's driver was salesman at Statham's garage, M. J. Hynes. He originally raced motorcycles but built up quite a reputation racing the special to numerous victories on the sands of Tramore, Duncannon and Portmarnock. He gained recognition as 'Kilkenny's speed King' and 'Ireland's fastest sand-racer'.


The car had taken part in the race on the two previous occasions; 1932 and 1933. It was a case of third time lucky as the car showed impressive cornering throughout the race and crossed the finish line in first position.

Due to confusion from the timekeepers at the end of the race, all results and previous communications were cancelled to allow a thorough investigation to be held. After a heated discussion, the revised results were announced showing the 'Statham-Ford Special' to correctly be the winner at a speed of 80.2mph (129kph).

The car had raced to victory in one of the biggest motor races in the country and claimed it's place in the history books.

You can find out more about the car at the site of the former garage on Patrick Street at the Pembroke hotel and Stathams Bar & Restaurant.



1. M. J. Hynes (Statham-Ford)

Handicap - 3 laps I min

Time - 68m 30s

Speed - 80.2mph


2. Alan Corry (M.G. Magna)

Handicap - 4 laps 30 secs

Time - 68m 49s

Speed - 76.5mph


3. R. E. Tongue (Aston-Martin)

Handicap - 3 laps

Time - 70m 55s

Speed - 76.85mph

4. J. Wasson (Singer)

Handicap - 6 laps

Time - 71m 17s

Speed - 66.9mph

5. A. C. Dobson (Alfa-Romeo)

Time - 71m 40s

Speed - 88.7mph

6. F. O'Boyle (O'Boyle-Riley)

Time - 71m 52s

7. H. A. Delap (Riley)

Time - 72m 13s

8. A. S. Wright (Ford)

Time - 72m 16s

9. F. O'Connor (Singer)

Time - 72m 47s

10. Flight-Lieutenant Briggs (M.G.)

Time - 74m 10s

11. A. H. F. Verschoyle (Frazer Nash)

Time - 74m 31s

12. W. G. Bailey (Chrysler)

Time - 75m 7s

13. D. O'Cleery (Riley)

Time - 75m 32s

14. C. G. Neill (Bugatti)

Time - 75m 46s

15. J. R. Hodge (S.S.I.)

Time - 77m 7s

Statham Ford Special in Kilkenny People

Learn more about the car in the video below:

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