Mid-August is the time for the main Cup meeting of the year at Waterford Raceway, with the Tony Dunphy and Maura Walsh Memorial Cups, both in honour of members who made a great contribution to the club, being up for grabs, while the classes excluded from the big cup races, the Juniors, Stocks and Class 1b, all had their own annual perpetual cups to fight for. In contrast to the July meeting, when the rain arrived to finally end ten weeks of heatwave in Ireland, this time the expected rain passed overnight, leaving perfect racing conditions, warm and sunny but with a bit of cloud and breeze.


After a small turnout in July, this time the car count matched the opening round of the 2018 championship, with 54 cars, while 61 drivers signed on, not quite equalling the 63 in February. Encouragingly these included a few making their first outing of the year, plus some welcome newcomers. Cork’s Martin Power had a promising first outing in the Rookie Juniors, while Mallow-based James Deane, the East Cork Rookie champion last year, joined the very competitive Junior Productions. The best grid yet of adult Class 1b included Liam Fitzgerald, yet another Wexford driver to be drawn to the Pike after racing at East Cork, and Robert Carroll, an addition to the Tipperary-based Heney team. Another 1b addition was Brendan Moore, driving the Darragh Healy Micra.


A 7-car grid in CLASS 1 saw Anthony Cronin on good form but in all three rounds he had to settle for second in the end, behind the flying Michael Baldwin, who made it through from the back of the grid. Also in close contention were meeting sponsor Ben Hickey, Jamie Bowen and surprise entry Alan D’Arcy, who’d temporarily dropped a 1-litre Micra engine into his familiar Starlet. Ronan Foley dropped out early on while Ronan Coughlan’s Starlet lost its exhaust.


CLASS 2 had six entries, although Michael Coughlan was a non-starter after Ronan’s problem in their shared Starlet. Stephen Healy’s Starlet-Fiat won both heats after close battles with Charlie McNamara’s Nissan-powered Starlet and Eddie Baldwin’s Micra. In the final, though, Eddie took the advantage to win from Stephen and Jack Pollard, again going well in his Micra. Charlie had problems and dropped to the back behind Adrian Power’s Fiesta.


A trio of CLASS 3 and CLASS 4 cars raced together, leading to a pair of spectacular side-by-side battles in the first heat between Alan Houlihan’s Civic and Kieran Cooney’s Micra-Honda in Class 4, and between PJ O’Sullivan’s Starlet-Suzuki and Ronan Waters’ Starlet-Honda in Class 3. Sadly PJ dropped out leaving Ronan to beat Shaun Lonergan’s Starlet in Class 3. Peadar Wall kept his 8 valve Opel-powered 206 in front of the battling FWD Class 4 cars in both heats but Alan and Kieran managed to get past Peadar in the final.


CLASS 5 and CLASS 6 also ran together. Davy Wall beat Martin Fitz in both heats, but Martin failed to get away in the final, with a broken halfshaft. Davy also pulled out of the rerun, hoping to help get Martin back on track, but eventually Davy had to come out on his own to race with the 3s and 4s. In Class 5 battle was rejoined between Andy O’Brien and Andy Foley in their Starlet-Hondas. Andy O’Brien just fended off his fellow Wexford man in both heats, but Andy Foley came out on top in the final. Padraig Smiddy, having his second Pike run in his Micra-Toyota, made smooth progress by comparison, but was never far behind at the finish.


With just two entries in JUNIOR MODIFIED they agreed to run with the LADIES. Cian Deasy won all three Junior rounds to take the cup, but was given a very good fight by Mark O’Connor in his Starlet. Anita Lonergan won the first two Ladies’ runs from Anne McGuire, having her first outing in the Class 4 Civic, and Anita Pollard, back in action in her Starlet. Anne got quicker all day and won the final, with Anita Lonergan second in her by now slightly overheated Starlet.

With his Micra obviously adequately straightened after his big Rosegreen shunt, Aidan Heney was back in front in the JUNIOR PRODUCTIONS, winning the first heat chased by Ted McGrath, while Ted reversed the result in the second heat. New boy James Deane made the early running in the final, with Aidan Heney’s rear bumper being a victim of the close racing, but Aidan quickly came through to the front, securing the cup as Ted McGrath again chased him home. Joey Dilworth held off Evin Harding for third, chased by Luke O’Donovan, Ben Kenneally, Tadgh Foley and James Deane, while David Browne retired after the first round. A bonus fourth round was on offer to fill the gap between the two main cup races, where Ben Kenneally beat Luke O’Donovan.


A good field of eight JUNIOR ROOKIES got stuck into some close racing that got a bit too close in the end. Toby McGuire led most of the first race, but got shuffled down to fifth as Liam Kiersey took the lead on the last lap. Brian Scannell won the second race and there was a fresh winner in the final as Tommy Cronin, only on his second Pike outing, passed Toby McGuire for the win; Ross Ryan came through to second ahead of Toby as Brian Scannell and Liam Kiersey tangled on the last lap. Martin Power made a promising debut to finish all three races in a competitive place, despite a scary moment at the start of the final.


The STOCKS had a better field than so far this year, with Johnny Patterson joining in with the 1.6 Zetec Focus he’s been running in the Premier Rods at Rosegreen. Jamie Condon in the Mitsubishi Charisma won both heats but the action got a bit closer in the final, with Johnny Patterson overtaking his own front bumper on the last lap and Kevin Healy’s Primera coincidentally losing a rear bumper! Brian Weston kept his Mazda in front for the win, chased by Jamie Condon, Johnny Patterson, Kevin Healy, Anne McGuire’s Hyundai and Joe Dilworth’s Focus, feeling the effect in the dry of the 200cc he gives away to the rest of the field. Jamie was the cup winner, decided on the day’s total points, from Johnny and Brian.


With a newly donated perpetual cup on offer, CLASS 1b responded with a grid of nine Micras, their best yet. Shane Guiry returned to the track with a win in the first race, chased by Declan Heney until the race was stopped early due to Paddy Walsh crashing out of a good third place in his ex-Autograss K10 Micra.  Wille Heney made it up to fourth after getting delayed when Brendan Moore broke down at the start, but Willie was back in front in round two, taking the lead after a good battle with Shane Harding, while Ronan Foley joined in with his brother’s car after his Class 1 broke. The final was brewing up to a close finish when the red flags came out again, this time with Brendan Moore bouncing off the back straight wall. Ronan Foley, Declan Heney and Willie Heney were three abreast over the line as the flags came out, chased by Shane Guiry, Shane Harding, Liam Fitzgerald, Martin Fitz and Robert Carroll.


The TONY DUNPHY CUP brought out eleven of the eighteen potential qualifiers for the 20 lap race (although a couple of those missing were shared cars). Michael Baldwin set off at a rapid pace in the lead, chased by the battling Class 2s of Eddie Baldwin and Stephen Healy, but when the Class 2s tried to get out of the way of Davy Wall, making up the first of his two laps handicap, they tangled and Stephen was spent spinning into the bank. Under the red flags Davy Wall also pulled out with a holed radiator, leaving nine cars for the restart. Alan D’Arcy led away but Michael Baldwin was soon in front and again set an amazingly fast place for a Class 1, holding a steady gap over father Eddie’s Class 2. Behind the Baldwin family double, Alan Houlihan came through to third, just holding off Andy Foley, with Kieran Cooney and Peadar Wall completing the finishers. Shane Lonergan boiled up again while Alan D’Arcy and Ronan Waters also pulled out.


That just left the MAURA WALSH CUP, from which the top three from the previous race were excluded. Eight cars turned out and it was Jamie Bowen’s Class 1 that set the pace for the first half of the race, but there was no stopping Andy Foley, who came from the back and then pulled away for a dominant win. Kieran Cooney followed Andy home for a Wexford 1-2, ahead of Jamie Bowen, Anne McGuire, taking her turn in the Civic, Jack Pollard, Adrian Power and Anita Pollard with Alan D’Arcy again retiring.


It was a longer day and later finish than we’re used to at the Pike, but an all action day, with only three weeks to wait for Round 8 of the Driver of the Year championship on 9 September.