Three weeks after a great turnout for Waterford Raceway’s August meeting an even bigger field assembled for September’s Round 8 of the championship, even though this was to be a regular day’s racing with no perpetual cups on offer. 55 cars was the biggest field of the year to date, while the 63 drivers who signed on equalled the total from February’s opening meeting. The pattern was repeated of heavy overnight rain clearing to give a pleasant sunny day. Again there was a good number of new cars in the pits, with the most attention being attracted by Raymond D’Arcy’s beautifully turned out Fiesta, unrecognisable from the well-used car he’d originally bought. David Wall had played a major part in the ground-up rebuild, finished off with a gleaming paint job by Sean and Jack Maher. Also much admired was the Class 1 Micra in which local lad Tom Hill was making his racing comeback after his recent drifting exploits. Newcomers Arthur Cottrill and Darren Prince had brought their Micra on a solid tow bar from the other side of Cork, sharing the driving in Class 1 and 1B. The Rookie Juniors had another new entry with Ryan Hickey in an immaculate Micra, while leading rally driver Jason Ryan returned to the track with an ex-Stephen O’Shea Micra in Class 2, running alongside son Ross in the Rookies – then Jason’s father Pat joined in, driving the same car in Class 3, to make three generations of Ryans on track. Michelle Fitzgerald joined the Ladies’ class in Conor’s Rooke Micra, while Donal Linehan made his first visit of the year in his unique Honda-powered 206.


Arek Koniecczny made his second appearance with his eye-catching CLASS 1 Micra, although in between he’d had a very successful visit to Rosegreen, and Arek set the pace to win the first heat. Second time out he was just pipped on the last lap by Michael Baldwin and these two proceeded to battle through the traffic from the back of the grid in the final. When they both hit the front, Arek then managed to hold off Michael all the way to the flag, while Anthony Cronin had been in close contention all day and held off Ronan Foley for third. Ronan Coughlin’s Starlet was next ahead of Darren Prince, who went well in the standard Micra. Tom Hill looked rapid in the heats but had teething problems with the new car, although not before he’d shown that his drifting technique could be transferred to a Micra! Ben Hickey dropped out after a good run in the first race. Arek took the overall win from Michael and Anthony.


CLASS 1B was joined by Pat Nolan, putting in some test drives in David Browne’s Junior car. The first heat was a battle of the Heneys with Declan just beating Willie. Declan won again in the second race as Willie couldn’t get by Pat Nolan, however he tried. The Heneys were battling again in the final, but this time it was for second place as Pat Nolan set the pace from the front. Liam Fitzgerald, second time out with his very smart Micra, had clutch problems which meant he spent the day catching up after taking rolling starts at the back of the field, but he did catch up well, taking fourth in the final ahead of Arthur Cottrell, who had a good debut in the shared Micra, and Robert Carroll. This left Declan as the overall winner from Pat and Willie.


CLASS 2 proved very competitive with the addition of Jason Ryan making a close three way battle in both heats. Jason just held off Stephen Healy’s Starlet-Fiat and Eddie Baldwin’s Micra in heat one, while Stephen and Eddie headed Jason home in heat two. Jason and Stephen were side by side most of the way in the final, but Jason just had his nose in front at the end. Eddie dropped back but still took third from Adrian Power’s Fiesta and Michael Coughlin in the Starlet. Jason Ryan took the trophy on his comeback, from Stephen and Eddie.


With Classes 3 and 4 running together, Ronan Waters’ Starlet-Honda cleaned up in CLASS 3, winning the first race outright, and running a close second to Peadar Wall’s Class 4 when the second race was stopped. Class 5 joined this group for the final, but Ronan again won overall, taking the class win from Pat Ryan.  CLASS 4 saw Alan Houlihan’s Civic holding off Kieran Cooney’s Micra-Honda and Peadar Wall’s RWD 206 in the first heat, while Raymond D'Arcy pulled out with a misfire. Second time out Raymond’s car was well on the pace despite still sounding very sick. Peadar led the way until the chasing group tangled, sending Kieran Cooney into the wall and bringing out the red flag, and a black for Alan. Peadar stayed in front again in the final, with Alan taking second and Kieran third thanks to the loan of Katie Egan’s car. Peadar’s best outing of the year so far gave him the overall win while Kieran salvaged second from Alan.


Classes 5 and 6 also started the day together. Padraig Smiddy’s Micra-Toyota couldn’t be caught first time out in CLASS 5 with Andy O’Brien holding off Andy Foley and Keith O’Brien in the battle of the Wexford men. Second time out there was a red flag as the two Andys got a bit too close again, with Andy O’Brien clipping the inside bank and spinning out – Padraig was in front again at the time. In the final, when the 5s were mixing it with the 3s and 4s, Keith O’Brien was never caught, while Padraig held off Andy O’Brien and Andy Foley. Padraig took the class win from Keith and Andy O’Brien. Once more the handicapping proved spot on in the first heat as the CLASS 6 battle engulfed Padraig Smiddy’s leading Class 5 on the last lap, with Brian Whelan’s Nissan-powered 205  holding off Davy Wall’s 206CC and Donal Linehan. In the second heat Donal was fending off Brian and Davy and they’d just caught Padraig when the reds came out. For the final, the Sixes were allowed to run on their own and again Donal held on in front, just holding off Davy and Brian in yet another close finish. Overall, Donal was the winner from Davy and Brian.


A six car grid in the STOCKS saw Shane Guiry return to the wheel of his Mitsubishi, winning the first heat after pouncing on Paul Weston on the last lap. Second time out, with a reversed grid, Shane led all the way as Anne McGuire held off Brian Weston for second. The final was led nearly all the way by Anthony Lawton, having a guest drive in Kevin Healy’s Primera, but eventually Shane hit the front for a hat trick of wins, ahead of Paul Weston, with Anthony, Anne and Brian three abreast over the line, and Joe Dilworth not able to overcome his 200cc disadvantage in the dry with the Focus. Shane took the trophy of course, from Anne and Paul.


With Jamie Egan again away, and Anita Lonergan once more on her travels, it was left to Chantelle Wallace to give Katie Egan a run for her money in the LADIES. Katie narrowly held off Chantelle in all three races, while Michelle Fitzgerald got quicker on each outing in the Rookie Micra.


The JUNIOR MODIFIED class fielded four evenly matched cars. Jack Maher fended off Jack Hickey in heat one, and for much of heat two until points leader Jack Hickey got past in the closing stages, with Cian Deasy close behind. In the final Jack Hickey again came through to win, with Cian Deasy just taking second from Jack Maher, and Mark O’Connor closely watching the Micras from his Starlet. Jack Hickey won overall from Jack Maher and Cian.


In the JUNIOR PRODUCTIONS the reversed grid format again mixed up the heats. Aidan Heney headed Ted McGrath and Joey Dilworth home in the first heat, but second time out Ted had the advantage on the grid and led all the way from Aidan, with Luke O’Donovan holding off everyone else for third. In the final James Deane and Ben Kenneally led until an unfortunate tangle eliminated Ted McGrath and Eoghan Doherty. After the restart James and Ben again disputed the lead, but Aidan Heney eventually came through to win from Ben, Joey Dilworth, Tadgh Foley, James Deane and Luke O’Donovan. Aidan was the overall winner from Ben Kenneally, while Ted still managed third.


Last but not least, the ROOKIES’ grid had grown to eight cars and they put on their usual good show with Brian Scannell holding off Ross Ryan in both heats, but Liam Kiersey beating both of them in the second race. The final produced a new winner as Toby McGuire drove an excellent race to shake off Conor Fitz’s early challenge and then Toby held on to the flag, ahead of Ross Ryan, Brian Scannell, Liam Kiersey, Conor Fitz and Martin Power, with Aaron Kenneally and Ryan Hickey picking up experience just behind the leading bunch. Brian Scannell was the winner on points from Loss and Liam.


The day closed with an 8-car field for the HELPERS’ RACE. Sean Maher took out Jack’s Micra and won chased by Rally Hally and Gavin Keane in the two Heney family Micras. Behind these three came Jimmy O’Sullivan in Ronan Waters’ Starlet, “Damian” in Arek’s Micra and Charlie Ryan in Jack Hickey’s Micra, while Michael Kierney, in Peadar Wall’s car, and Jamie Condon, in Alan Houlihan’s, pulling out.