The second points meeting of the year at the Pike was run in rather more pleasant conditions than the first; dry, sunny for most of the day and not nearly as cold, which was good news for the crowd who turned up to watch the annual Demolition Derby (postponed due to the miserable weather curtailing the St Stephen's Day meeting) that ended the day.


This event isn’t quite like the DDs we can see every fortnight closer to home, at Standlake Arena, where the regular Banger racers have the use of the whole track, and most of the infield, to run away and hide from each other! The Irish-style DD caters for road cars sourced just for the event, which are lined up in two opposing groups on the top straight with the field of combat defined by two rows of heavy tyres blocking off the track, thus giving the entrants no alternative to knocking seven bells out of each other in front of all the spectators. The only drawback was that they all forgot to paint any numbers on their cars, so we weren’t always sure who was who, but the event boiled down to a contest between a Volvo 960, which we knew had Autograss racer Jack Houlihan behind the wheel, and a Mercedes E Class Estate. When the Merc finally triumphed, it turned out that last year’s winner Kevin Forbes had done the double. The third to last survivor was track commentator Anthony Lawton, in a big Honda, while the other contenders, who made short work of each other, were Luke Dalton, Eimhin Hayes, Andy Coughlan, Shane Guiry, Adrian Power and David Curran (not the one from Kildare!). As an annual one off this has always been a popular novelty event at the Pike, so we hope its appeal doesn't get diluted by too many other tracks jumping on the bandwagon and copying it!


Of course there had already been a full, and very entertaining, day’s Hot Rod racing. The turnout was well down on the chilly opening meeting a month earlier, for which the obvious culprit had to be the clashing meeting at the Tipperary Raceway, although once the attendance at both meetings was analysed, very few of the Pike regulars had actually been in action at Rosegreen. It goes without saying, though, that the two premier oval tracks in southern Ireland would both fare better with full co-operation on race dates. The total was 39 cars and 45 entries (plus the nine Demolition cars and ten drivers in the Helpers’ race) but once again mixing classes and excellent handicapping produced competitive racing all day.


The ROOKIE JUNIORS were again the first to perform, with five cars. Brian Scannell and Ross Ryan won the two reversed grid heats, before the handicapped final, in which Liam Kiersey passed early leader Toby McGuire, with Liam then heading home Ross Ryan, Brian Scannell, Conor Fitzgerald and Toby. Liam was the day’s overall winner from Ross and Brian.


Once again the PRODUCTION JUNIORS had the best grid, with nine cars, and produced sensationally close and clean racing all day. After battling with Darragh Walsh, Aidan Heney got away and pulled clear to win the first heat, with Evin Harding emerging in front of the battling pack for second. The second heat saw Evin grabbing the lead on the first lap and holding on all the way while Aidan finally found a way past James Furlong for second in the closing stages. Darrah Walsh pulled out and couldn’t start the final, but the other eight had a tremendous battle. Darragh Healy and David Browne had turns in front before Ben Furlong took over and narrowly fended off Evin Harding and Aidan Heney to the line. Joey Dilworth took fourth from newcomer Eoghan Doherty, who had an impressive debut in a very well presented Micra and held off David Browne and Luke O’Donovan, returning to his Starlet after problems with his new Micra. Evin Harding was this time the overall winner from the day, beating Aidan and Ben.


There were just four cars this time in the MODIFIED JUNIORS but the first race had a photo finish as leader Cian Deasy lost drive coming out of the last corner and was passed on the line by Jack Hickey. Jack also won the second heat and then took the final from Cian and Noel Deasy, while Jason Corbett’s immaculate new car was a non starter. Jack won overall from Cian and Noel.


The LADIES were down to three cars this time, with Anne McGuire continuing her good form by out-running Jamie and Katie Egan in the first heat. The second heat saw the Wexford girls putting Anne under much more pressure, with Jamie finally snatching the lead on the last lap. It all went wrong in the final with a slight touch sending Katie spinning into the bank, with Jamie having nowhere to go and having a very heavy impact into the bank. The race was rerun with Jamie jumping into Andy Foley’s Starlet. Katie again made the best start but Anne eventually found a way round the outside and won from Katie and Jamie. The overall result was a win for Anne with Jamie second and Katie third.


The STOCKS again had a disappointing turnout; Luke Dalton reappeared in his Primera after a shunt last year, but found himself the only one in the class, sharing the track with the Ladies.


CLASS 1B saw four K11 Micras chasing Paddy Walsh’s Autograss K10 version, but not for long as Paddy’s battery shorted out and burnt out his electrics. Shane Harding won the first race, caught at the end by Willie Heney once Willie had finally got the better of his family battle with Declan Heney. Second time out Willie pushed Shane all the way, but Shane held on to win, with the result repeated in the final. Paddy Walsh managed to get back on track and took a good third from Declan and Kevin Healy. Shane won overall from Willie and Kevin.


Michael Baldwin and Alan Houlihan continued to set the pace in CLASS 1. Michael won the first heat and the second was stopped early when Alan was spun out; Alan was awarded the win. In the final, with Kenneth Corbett and Kieran Deasy missing, Michael passed Alan for the win, with Jamie Bowen in third. Michael won the class trophy with Alan second and Kenneth third.


CLASS 2 started with four cars but Michael Coughlin’s Starlet expired after he loaned it to one of the Juniors and Stephen Healy broke his gearbox in the second heat. Eddie Baldwin won both heats but in the final he eventually spun out and was collected by Jack Pollard, bringing out the reds. It was all sorted out with an overall first place for Eddie, second for Jack and third for Stephen.


After good numbers in CLASS 3 at the previous meeting, Ronan Waters was on his own this time, racing against the Class 1s in the heats although his Starlet-Honda might have looked more at home with the bigger classes.


Naturally the most spectacular action was provided by mixing CLASS 4, 5 and 6. Martin Fitz and Davy Wall in their Outlaw Hot Rods battled all day in Class 6 while carving through the traffic. Martin won both heats with Davy having an off track excursion after a gap disappeared in the second race. In the final these two were handicapped by a full lap, which proved spot on as they passed Peadar Wall’s Class 4 1600 Hot Rod on the last lap, with Martin winning again. Kieran Cooney’s Micra-Honda led the field until it broke down two laps from the end, leaving Peadar unbeaten in Class 4. Class 5 was again the battle of the Wexford boys; Andy Foley won the first heat but picked up a black flag in the second as Andy O’Brien won. Andy O’Brien held off Andy Foley and Pat Power’s civic to win the final, although Keith O’Brien dropped out in the first heat. Overall in Class 4 Peadar Wall won from Kieran Cooney; in Class 5 Andy O’Brien was top from Pat Power and Andy Foley, and Martin Fitz took Class 6 from Davy Wall.


A HELPERS’ RACE was added to the programme while the demolition crew were getting ready. Stephen Condon was first over the line in Davy Wall’s 206 but the trophy was awarded to Jamie Condon, who was close behind in Peadar Wall’s car. Jack Houlihan took out Anne McGuire’s Micra and claimed third ahead of Ben Hickey, Pat Nolan, Martin Morrissey, Dave Browne, Rally Hally, James Furlong and Daire Power.


A good day’s racing all round then, but it will be good to see numbers pick up again for the next round on April 23.