When the Mondello Historic festival first pinged on my radar back in 2019 I was intrigued. Clearly inspired by Goodwood Revival, I was interested to see if the team behind it could, in any way, pull something similar off.
The main attraction was the presence of the iconic Guinness liveried March 811 owned by the late John Campion and alongside some historic Minis and Formula Libre cars, there wasn’t much to write home about.
Then covid happened and the whole event took a bit of a back step.
Until 2022, when the team decided a revival of historic motorsport and a revival of the event itself was needed and considerable amounts of promotion were thrown at it to get it off the ground. For whatever reason, I missed out on attending but from the imagery put out afterwards, it looked like a great success.
So when this year rolled around, I made sure I could attend.
Now, the problem with shooting the best motorsport events in the world is that they skew your opinion on every smaller, local event back at home, and I found myself trying to compare the Mondello Historic festival to Goodwood Revival or Members Meeting. But when I took the rose tinted glasses off, the festival genuinely suprised me with how much I enjoyed it. It's proof that when you appreciate things with an open mind, you can leave impressed.
The absolute star of the show for me, though. was seeing the BMW M1 Procar that lives as part of the Martin Birrane collection at Mondello Park in action for the first time. This is a car that has eluded me a few times, I've seen 917/K's, 956's but never a M1 Procar.
And it did not disappoint. You'll struggle to hear a better sound than that six cylinder M88/1 engine singing through its ITB's at full chat. I'd highly recommend you read Paddys in-depth feature on this very car over on the pages of Speedhunters.
I really hope this is the beginning of something good for Mondello Park which has relied too often on drifitng to bring in big crowd numbers of late. This circuit is steeped in history with cars like those seen last weekend having graced its tarmac for decades, so it is only right that they are celebrated annually. With a bit more funding and attention, the festival has the potential to grow into a strong fixture on the Irish motorsport calender. The foundations are certainly there.
Mondello Historic Festival 2023.