The penultimate round of Waterford Raceway’s Driver of the Year Championship brought another good turnout to the Pike despite a couple of clashing events; 54 cars in the pits equated to 59 drivers signed on. Main event was the Dick Mackey Cup, one of the Pike’s spectacular 20-lap events, and with the novelty “Golden Oldies” races also added to the programme, time was at a premium, but despite a few last minute changes to the race order the club raced through the programme in overcast but dry conditions.


Classes 1 to 6 were all featured in the Cup race and everyone fit to run would be eligible, so the class racing was cut down to two rounds – a sensible move as it took three attempts to get the main race run.  The day started badly in CLASS 1 when a slight touch between Arek Konieczny and Michael Baldwin saw Arek spinning into the wall with heavy damage. Jamie Condon just beat Michael to the line in the restarted race. Jamie, busy as ever with his club duties, just missed the gate for the second race in which all the leaders came together on the last corner; Shane Hickey survived to win while Darren Prince, second time out in his shared Class 1B car, took second after Michael Baldwin and Ronan Coughlin got tangled up. Shane Hickey was the overall winner from Michael Baldwin and Ronan Coughlin.


CLASS 2 unfortunately lost Jason Ryan’s Micra with engine problems early in the first heat, but continued with a three way battle between Eddie Baldwin’s Micra and the Fiat-powered Starlets of Stephen Healy and Kenneth McCoy. Eddie won the first heat from Stephen and Kenneth, with the order reversed in heat two. Michael Coughlin in the shared Class 1 Starlet completed the top four, while Jamie Condon joined in briefly after missing his Class 1 race. Eddie got the overall win from Kenneth and Stephen.


CLASS 3 also saw an evenly matched trio battling out both races. Pat Nolan dropped his Starlet from Class 4 to Class 3 trim and held off James McCoy, sharing his brother’s Starlet again with his own now being “nearly” ready, and Paul Fitzgerald, returning after a long absence with a tidy Toyota 16 valve powered Starlet. Pat won overall from James and Paul.


Classes 4, 5 and 6 ran together. Peadar Wall is now on top form with his Opel 8-vave powered 206 in CLASS 4 and beat the FWD cars in both races, just holding off Alan Houlihan’s Civic in the first and beating Kieran Cooney’s Micra-Honda in the second after Alan picked up a puncture. Padraid Smiddy’s Micra-Toyota won the first CLASS 5 heat but was just headed in the second round by Andy O’Brien’s Starlet-Honda, the only survivor of the Wexford challenge in this class as Andy Foley had problems all day and Keith O’Brien didn’t make the start. Brian Whelan’s Nissan-powered 205 was the only CLASS 6 entry but raced well through the field after starting with a lap handicap.


15 cars made the DICK MACKEY CUP race with Darren Prince making the early running until a multi-car pile-up brought out the reds, with Pat Nolan being the only one who couldn’t make the restart. On the second attempt Darren again led several laps before Shane Hickey took over, eventually passed by Alan Houlihan. A spectacular finish was brewing up with Peadar Wall, Andy O’Brien and Brian Whelan all closing in, but Kieran Cooney went out with a puncture, Peadar blew up in a cloud of smoke and Brian came to a halt too close for comfort to the left-hand kink, which brought out the reds.


Brian, Peadar, Darren Prince and Paul Fitzgerald were all missing, while Pat Nolan took over Jamie Egan’s car for the 11-car rerun. Shane Hickey led for around 12 laps before Alan Houlihan took over, but Andy O’Brien was right with Alan and eventually made a spectacular pass round the outside to take the cup away to Wexford, with Alan second and Eddie Baldwin snatching third from Shane. Stephen Healy, Padriag Smiddy, Kieran Cooney, Pat Nolan, Michael Coughlin and a troubled Michael Baldwin were the other finishers, while Kenneth McCoy spun and bounced off the passing Kieran Cooney.


The non-cup classes all had a full three rounds of class racing, the biggest grid being in CLASS 1B with ten cars. Class 3 Autograsser Noel O’Mahony brought one of his family’s grass Micras from the East Cork club and won the first race, with Paul Boland carving through spectacularly from the back in his Class 1 Autograss car to claim second from Mike Carey (in Shane Guiry’s car), Willie Heney, Declan Heney, Shane Harding, Arthur Cottrell, John Ryan, in Darragh Healy’s car and Paddy Walsh, now in the ex-Marie Walsh Class 1A grasser, with Liam Fitzgerald dropping out with a puncture. Second time out Paul Boland dropped out at the start and Declan Heney was flagged off with a flapping door, but a close six-car battle developed for the lead with Mike Carey just holding off Shane Harding, Liam Fitzgerald, Arthur Cottrell, Noel O’Mahony and Willie Heney. An equally close fought final saw Liam Fitzgerald losing the lead to Paul Boland, but Liam fought back to take his first Pike win from Paul. After a good showing from the grass racers, Noel O’Mahony was the overall winner from Liam Fitzgerald and Paul Boland.


A six car grid in the STOCKS featured a couple of new entries; Junior graduate Aaron Patterson in a Mazda and complete newcomer Stevie Slattery, who managed to bring his Nissan Almera to life after problems on arrival. Anne McGuire drove a beautifully defensive race to hold on to the first heat win after running side by side most of the way with Aaron Patterson. Aaron took the second race and then the final was another close three-way flight with Aaron beating Brian Weston and Anne. Stevie Slattery took a good fourth on his debut ahead of Michael Mackey in Kevin Healy’s Primera, who just beat Joe Dilworth’s Focus on the last lap. Aaron won overall from Anne and Brian.


The ROOKIES were the best supported Junior group with eight cars. Brian Scannell held off Ross Ryan and Martin Power to win the first race, while Liam Kiersey took the second from Ross and Aaron Kenneally. The final produced yet another new winner as Ryan Hickey, in only his second day’s racing, drove a faultless race to stay in front of the battling pack, while Ross Ryan came through to second from Martin Power, Liam Kiersey, Brian Scannell, Toby McGuire, Aaron Kenneally and Conor Fitz. Once more Ross Ryan’s consistent finishes earned the overall win, from Liam Kiersey and Brian Scannell.


The JUNIOR PRODUCTION heats gave wins to the current two boys to beat, Aidan Heney and Ted McGrath. James Deane led the final away, with Evin Harding being unlucky as he’d just taken the lead when he was flagged off for an open passenger door. Joey Dilworth and Ted McGrath then hit the front and it was Ted who held on to win from Aidan Heney and Joey. James Deane and Luke O’Donovan were next up, while Ben Kenneally couldn’t start the final. Ted was overall winner from Aidan and Joey.


Mark O’Connor’s Starlet was the only entry in the JUNIOR MODIFIED, but he enjoyed himself racing with the LADIES. Jamie Egan was back for this meeting, but having a few problems with her Starlet. Sister Katie just beat Chantelle Wallace in the first heat, but in the second these two came together, Katie spun out and her car refused to restart. Chantelle won that one, but didn’t start the final in which it was Jamie’s turn to win while Katie tried Kieran Cooney’s car for size, returning the favour from the last meeting.


That just leaves the GOLDEN OLDIES – an idea following on from last year’s successful “Mammies Race” with the idea of tempting former Pike racers back for a sponsored race to raise funds for the track surface. The entry list was declared full when it reached 18 cars and 16 of these lined up for the first races with drivers including Pike veterans, several dads jumping into the next generation’s Junior Micras and one who wasn’t really entitled to be included, never having raced at the Pike or even on tarmac, but we were very grateful for the chance to see the Pike from the other side of the fence! Even more grateful to Raymond D’Arcy for the loan of his very special Civic, and for the massive honour of racing at the Pike under the legendary 368 number!


The racing was perhaps not quite as gentlemanly as envisaged! The crowded first race came to an end when the Class 1 Micras of Stephen O’Shea and Kevin Condon were battling for the lead, until Kevin clipped the tyres into the pit gate bend and took a heavy roll. Next time out the cars were split into standard and modified groups, but the Modified race saw another red flag when Michael Healy was spun into the wall. The standard group saw a close Micra battle won by Jimmy Deane from Mike Carey, Eddie McGrath, John Kenneally and Ger Donnelly. The survivors went forward to a final for the trophies. Kevin Condon had switched to the Alan Houlihan Civic and came home the winner with Eddie McGrath in a good second. We managed to take third with Mike Carey taking the fourth trophy from John Kenneally and Jimmy Deane. Others who didn’t quite survive the day included John McHugh, Jim Scannell and Sean O’Mahony in 1B Micras, Paul Fitzgerald in his new Class 3 Starlet, Pat Smiddy in the Class 5 Micra and Tony Whelan in the Class 6 205.