Round 5 of the Waterford Raceway championship promised to be a highlight of the season. Firstly, the three Junior classes were competing for their annual perpetual trophies, sponsored by renowned car builder Stephen O’Shea. Secondly, a safety training day was arranged for the Saturday, providing some very useful experience for the club officials and marshals, followed by a club barbecue across the road at the popular Bridgie Terries pub. Also eagerly awaited was the club’s first visiting driver for a long time from over the water. Former Legends racer Alistair Murray, actually from County Down, but based in Romford, Essex, was true to his promise to bring his state-of-the-art Boardley-built Ginetta, which he’s been using to good effect with the Incarace Slick Car class at Hednesford and Birmingham, as well as appearances at many venues in the UK and Ireland.


A drizzly and misty morning soon cleared to perfect sunny conditions in the afternoon, with a good turnout of 50 cars and 52 drivers for the day, sponsored by The Lookout Holiday Apartments in nearby Dungarvan. The format comprised the usual three rounds of racing for everyone. The Junior cups were awarded based on points from the three rounds, but all the non-trophy winners then got an extra consolation race (also for trophies). An added entertainment was drifting demos from the BMW of Tom Hill, who only seems to give up when the inevitable rear tyre goes bang!


Another ten car field for the PRODUCTION JUNIORS gave the usual close action, although Aidan Heney missed it all in the first heat after getting drawn on the front row and disappearing into the distance. Evin Harding worked his way through the traffic to claim second. In the second race Ted McGrath, making his first Pike appearance of the year, with another immaculate Micra after his previous car was written off at Rosegreen, was also a clear winner. A four car battle developed behind Luke O’Donovan for second, but when Aidan Heney joined the back of that group he shot straight through to the front, while Joey Dilworth’s car suddenly cut out while he was in the thick of the action. Although the drawn grids sometimes produce runaway winners in the heats, the handicapped finals are always wide open. This time Eoghan Doherty held on in front of the pack for ten laps while Aidan Heney worked his way through from the back. Aidan was eventually through for yet another win, but Eoghan held on for a creditable second in only his third day’s racing. Ben Furlong made a last lap move for third, ahead of Evin Harding, Ted McGrath, Ben Kenneally, David Browne, Luke O’Donovan and Tadgh Foley, with Joey Dilworth bringing up the rear after his car played up again. Aidan Heney’s successful season continued when he collected the main cup, with Evin Harding second and Ted McGrath third. These three were then eliminated, with the rest of the field getting their bonus race. Luke O’Donovan must be wanting a fourth race at every meeting as he took another win, with Ben Furling snatching second from David Browne.


The MODIFIED JUNIORS laid on a bit more action than they’d intended to, starting with Shane O’Shea’s efforts to wrest the lead of the first race from Jack Hickey. The close racing cost Shane his front bumper and then he found that the line he needed to get past Jack required running over his own debris! Shane finally crossed the line first, but that was the last we saw of him. In the second heat Jack Maher was trying the outside line to get past Jack Hickey, so Cian Deasy took a look at the inside, found the bank at the top corner and ended up on his roof. Jack Hickey was excluded from the rerun due to a slight misunderstanding over the red flags, and Cian Deasy seemed none the worse for his upside down parking; it only took him a couple of laps to blow out all the smoke and he chased Jack Maher home. Jack Hickey was back out for the final and led all the way, while Jack Maher defended second until the last lap, when a sideways moment saw him collect Cian. Both survived with varying degrees of damage, Cian taking second from Jack and Noel Deasy. When points were added up Cian Deasy took the perpetual cup, with Jack Maher second and Jack Hickey third. 


The JUNIOR ROOKIES featured Liam Kiersey winning the first heat from the front of the grid, and the second heat from the back, as he passed Ross Ryan on the last lap. In the final, though, Ross led all the way to win from Liam, Toby McGuire, Brian Scannell and Conor Fitz. Liam Kiersey took the overall cup win from Ross Ryan and Brian Scannell, leaving the consolation race as a straight battle between Conor Fitz and Toby McGuire, with Conor winning.


The LADIES’ field was reduced to two cars, but with no shortage of action. When the Egan sisters have nobody else to fight, they’ll fight each other, sometimes with unexpected consequences. In the first heat they were side by side heading for the chequered flag and somehow got their wheels interlocked, both coming to a halt a few feet from the flag. The only solution was to give them a joint win. Jamie just held off Katie in the second heat and final, meaning that Jamie was the overall winner.


CLASS 1B ran with the ladies again and battle was rejoined between Shane Harding and Willie Heney. Willie narrowly beat Shane in the first heat and then sneakily took the lead of the second race by waiting for the ladies’ cars to catch them, and then following the two Starlets past Shane. In the final Shane held off Willie to the end, with Paddy Walsh taking third in his Autograss Class 1A spec Micra. Ronan Foley made a brief appearance in brother Tadgh’s car after trouble with his own Class 1.


The STOCKS again featured close and fraught racing from a very evenly matched field. Kevin Healy turned out in the ex-Luke Dalton Primera and spent all day exchanging paint with Jamie Condon in the Mitsubishi and Brian Weston’s Mazda, although despite their best efforts, this trio couldn’t dislodge Anne McGuire’s Hyundai from the lead in the first race. In the second race Jamie got away from his sparring partners and made an early move past Anne to take the win. The final saw Joe Dilworth’s Focus given a decent handicap at the start and he led nearly all the way, until a good last lap move by Anne McGuire earned her the win by the narrowest of margins, with Jamie, Kevin and Brian intent on their private battle for third. Anne took the overall win from Jamie, with Joe Dilworth claiming the third trophy.


CLASS 1 featured a newcomer, David Banville, who was immediately on the pace as he chased Michael Baldwin home in both heats before going one better and holding off Michael’s last lap challenge in the final. Anthony Cronin came in third, despite having trouble in the first heat and borrowing Jack Hickey’s car for the second, with his own car running again for the final. Ronan Foley dropped out after the first heat.


Eddie Baldwin started the day as he finished the last one, dominating CLASS 2, but after timing problems in practice caused Stephen Healy to miss the first heat, Stephen’s Fiat-powered Starlet was back on top form, winning heat two and the final, with Eddie in second. Overall though Eddie was the day’s winner, with Adrian Power’s ever improving Fiesta second and Stephen third. Jack Pollard’s Micra had to be retired after the first heat and disappointingly Stephen O’Shea’s Micra didn’t start a race after practice problems.


PJ O’Sullivan made his long awaited return to CLASS 3 in a very nicely prepared Suzuki-powered Starlet, but with Alan D’Arcy having run out of time to get his similarly powered car back on track, Ronan Waters’ Honda-powered car was the only opposition. Ronan won the first heat, before the two ran side by side for lap after lap in the second race. Unfortunately the red flag interrupted their fun and Ronan had problems in the rerun before coming back to win the final. Ronan took the overall win from PJ.


CLASS 4 continued the spectacular progress of Alan Houlihan’s Civic, holding off the Class 5 cars and winning the first race despite a flapping passenger door. The second race was a fantastic spectacle with Alan and Kieran Cooney fighting a side by side battle nearly all the way, while a similar battle was going on between Andy O’Brien and Andy Foley in Class 5. Alan eventually beat Kieran, and Alan went on to win the final, only passed by the battling Class 5s in the closing stages. Kieran Cooney was second, Pat Nolan in his Starlet took third overall, while the only RWD car in the class, Peadar Wall’s 206, went out with a front wheel missing.


The CLASS 5 battle between Andy O’Brien and Andy Foley was as close as it’s ever been; Andy O’Brien just crossed the line first in all three races, but they must have set a record for the number of laps completed side by side during the day. Unfortunately the third member of the Wexford-dominated class, Keith O’Brien, suffered yet another breakdown in the second heat.


Finally, the eagerly awaited CLASS 6, featuring Alistair Murray’s Pike debut. Alistair found out how the Pike look after their visitors; after the Saturday night socialising the day started with a solo practice session to find out how well the Ginetta, still with its Hednesford setup, could get round the challenging track; then an extra session was arranged with the other Class 6 drivers all turning out to set the pace for Alistair. The first race saw Brian Whelan’s trusty Nissan-powered 205 holding off the newer cars with Davy Wall second and Alistair a close third after getting past Martin Fitz’s Colt. Heat two saw Alistair move up to pressure Brian for the lead when a strange problem caused Brian to plough straight on under braking, with Alistair then winning from Davy and Martin. Exactly the same happened to Brian while leading the final, with Davy winning this time from Alistair and Martin, and Brian recovering for fourth. The ultra close racing resulted in an overall win for Davy Wall with Alistair a very happy second and Brian third.


A HELPERS’ RACE was won by Jamie Condon in Alan Houlihan’s Civic, with Jeff Kiersey second in Jamie’s Mitsubishi and Anthony Lawton coming in third in the Primera, after Andy Foley’s challenge for second, in Jamie Egan’s car, ended in the inside bank.  Then, just for a change, it was time to pop over the road to enjoy the evening sunshine and the trophy presentation, in the very pleasant surroundings of Bridge Terries’ beer garden. The next event at the Pike will be on Sunday 15 July.