Today in sports history: July 21 - Irish priest invades British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Today in sports history: July 21 - Irish priest invades British Grand Prix at Silverstone
Photo credit: Image and video - YouTube

On this day in 2003...

In one of the strangest scenes in Formula One history, an Irish priest runs onto Silverstone racetrack in the middle of the British Grand Prix.

Father Cornelius Horan, a defrocked Roman Catholic clergyman, invaded the course to announce the world was coming to an end. 

But the only thing nearly stopped was the race itself and his life, as the world's fastest race cars swerved to avoid Horan, whom commentator James Allen described as an "utter lunatic".

A safety car was deployed and for a moment the race was at risk of cancellation, as police converged to arrest Horan, who had been tackled to the ground by a race steward. 

Luckily for motorsport fans, the race went ahead and provided thrilling entertainment, with Brazilian Rubens Barrichello clinching arguably his greatest-ever win, overtaking Finn Kim Raikkonen in the final stages with an audacious manoeuvre.

Horan was later charged with aggravated trespass and pleaded guilty, saying an open gate onto the track was a sign from God. 

He was jailed for two months, but went on to enjoy more fame several years later on the Britain's Got Talent TV show.


England and Australia contest the first-ever international cricket test match at Old Trafford in Manchester.

The match was drawn, but England would win the series 1-0, after a second test victory at Lord's. The 1884 Australia side played 32 matches on a five-month tour, winning 18.


England completed arguably the greatest comeback in test cricket history, beating Australia by 18 runs in the fourth test at Headingley.

A day after Ian Botham had turned the match on its head with a swashbuckling 145 not out, new skipper Bob Willis took eight wickets, as England became the first side in 87 years to win a test after following on. 


F1 great Michael Schumacher
F1 great Michael Schumacher Photo credit: Getty

German motorsport legend Michael Schumacher clinches his fifth Formula One World Drivers Championship with a record six races remaining, after victory at the French Grand Prix.


All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter lands seven penalty goals, as the All Blacks top Australia 26-12 at Auckland's Eden Park. The win guaranteed New Zealand a third straight Tri Nations title, while they also locked up the Bledisloe Cup for the fifth consecutive year. 


1945 - Former South African cricketing great Barry Richards 


John Davies (right_ celebrates his bronze medal alongside Sir Peter Snell (centre) and American John Davies
John Davies (right_ celebrates his bronze medal alongside Sir Peter Snell (centre) and American John Davies Photo credit: Image - Photosport

2003 - NZ Olympic 1500m bronze medallist John Davies, aged 65

Newshub 12 months ago.... 

Silver Ferns beat England to reach Netball World Cup final

The Silver Ferns have booked a place in the Netball World Cup final with Australia after edging hosts England 47-45 in a dramatic encounter in Liverpool.

On Sunday (NZ time), Noeline Taurua's side overcame a three-goal halftime deficit to lead by three heading into the final quarter.  

The world champion Silver Ferns
The world champion Silver Ferns Photo credit: Photosport

The deficit proved too tough to breach for Tracey Neville's Commonwealth Games champions, who now face South Africa in the third-place playoff.

'We feel like we've already won' - Noeline Taurua

The warning signs were there early on as Maria Folau gave New Zealand a 5-0 lead inside the first four minutes.