Naas Rugby and Lions Clubs teamed up on Saturday last (3rd March) to hold the Michael Roe Challenge at Mondello Park, International Race Circuit. The event was named in honour of Michael Roe who is a Naas man and long serving member of Naas Rugby Club and who was one of Irelands first International Motor Racing Stars. Michael competed as a professional racing driver throughout Europe, USA, North America and Japan from 1980 achieving considerable success in Sportscars, including competing at LeMans 24hour race in France and winning the North American Can-Am Championship. He also competed in the American Indy Car Series (US Formula 1 equivalent) and raced for the Paul Newman Racing Team. He was also a test driver for Aston Martin. Michael was inaugerated into the Irish Motor Racing, Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his considerable talent and achievements in motor racing.
This event was a joint fundraising initiative by both Naas Rugby Club and Naas Lions Club. The organising committee who did excellent work in planning the event comprised: Paul O' Brien and Michael Roe, both of Naas Rugby Club and Paddy Glass of Naas Lions Club.
There were approximately 100 event participants who attended Mondello Park on Saturday last and who comprised mostly members and friends of both clubs and also some very talented drivers who, with the help of professional instructors, fancied the challange of attempting to get close to or perhaps beat the early lap time set by Michael. Having set a blistering lap time in the morning session Michael's time was narrowly beaten in the late afternoon by son, Shane Roe, who eventually won the Challenge to be the first winner of the Michael Roe Challenge Cup.
All who participated found the experience to be most enjoyable and challenging and completed the Mazda 3 Starter Course which comprised: a detailed safety briefing; Four laps in-car tuition in race-prepared Mazda 3 with instructor driving; Ten timed laps by challenge participant accompanied by instructor and the presentation of a course certificate with recorded lap times.
Naas Rugby Club & Naas Lions Club and the organising committee would like to sincerely thank all of those who participated in the event and those who attended the event. A special thanks to Grace's of Naas for their generous sponsorship and to Mondello Park Motor Racing School.