WATERFORD RACEWAY ROUND 10 - 11 NOVEMBER 2018
 

The very successful and enjoyable 2018 season at The Pike came to an end on 11 November, with sponsorship from Jim Scannell Motor Factors. A bright sunny morning soon clouded over, bringing chilly winds and heavy showers for most of the day. This didn’t detract from the racing, which was as closely contested as ever in most classes as 59 drivers signed on for the championship showdown. Although some classes had runaway winners for the year, there were a lot of trophy positions still up for grabs, while Class 4 had just a one point gap at the top of the table at the beginning of the day. There were still new cars and new drivers even at this stage of the season, while added interest was provided by a few drivers turning up with grass cars for an end of season fling.

 

Anita Lonergan lined up her Starlet in the LADIES, for only her third appearance of the year, and just like the two previous times, took maximum points from her three races, putting in a faultless performance once she’d demonstrated, on the very first lap of the day, just how little grip there was going to be. Katie Egan beat her sister Jamie for second overall, while Anita Pollard had more problems with her Starlet, retiring in the first race.

 

In the STOCKS, sharing the track with the ladies, Brian Weston had invested in a new set of tyres for his Mazda, and they paid for themselves as Brian was unbeaten in the three races, maybe also helped by the additional “air brake” he installed for the final! Anne McGuire couldn’t get past the extra-wide Mazda, while Stevie Slattery was well on the pace in his Almera, taking third overall on his second race day. Joe Dilworth’s underpowered 1400 Focus was expected to shine in the wet, but ended up spluttering to a halt in the final.

 

The JUNIOR MODIFIED class, which has been thinly supported all year, but has provided excellent racing from those who have been there, this time brought out a trio of Micras. Jack Hickey celebrated his smart new colour scheme by beating Cian Deasy to win all three races, with Noel Deasy in third.

 

Nine cars raced in the JUNIOR PRODUCTION class, including one newcomer, Alex Prince. Ted McGrath’s immaculately turned out Micra has been the car to beat in the second half of the season and he came from the back to beat Joey Dilworth in the first heat, before unsurprisingly running away with the second heat, from the front of the reversed grid. Joey’s car expired in the second race and he was loaned Evin Harding’s car for the final. Luke O’Donovan built up a big lead from the front but Ted chased him down and went on to win, with Luke doing well to hold second from points champ Aiden Heney, Ben Kenneally, Joey Dilworth and Alex Prince, who had a good debut. James Deane survived the loss of his exhaust to complete the finishers while Evin Harding and Tadgh Foley didn’t start the final.

 

Numbers in the ROOKIES continue to grow, with Dylan Ivers returning in anticipation of a full season in the production class next year, while Liam Power made his debut in Ross Ryan’s grass car, with his own car planned for next year. This brought the field up to ten cars but they all coped brilliantly with the closely packed traffic and the changing conditions and we don’t think anyone put a scratch on their cars! Brian Scannell led the first heat throughout, chased through a heavy shower by Ross Ryan, Dylan Ivers and Martin Power, with nobody tempted to go looking for the end of the splendid rainbow that appeared at the end of the race! The second race saw Liam Kiersey hanging on to win after completing the last two laps side by side with Brian Scannell, while Ross Ryan closed right up in third. The final, started in reverse points order, always provides close action. Liam Power and Toby McGuire both took turns leading before Brian Scannell made it through and pulled out a small gap to win. Aaron Kenneally took second as he held off Ross Ryan, Liam Kiersey, Dylan Ivers, Toby McGuire, Ryan Hickey and Conor Fitz. Martin Power dropped to the back of the pack after a spin and Liam Power completed his promising debut as last finisher.

 

In the four weeks since his heavy shunt at the last meeting, Arek Konieczny had built a new Micra and given it a debut at Rosegreen. This time all Arek’s work was rewarded as he took three straight wins in CLASS 1, each time holding off a strong challenge from class champion Michael Baldwin. Chasing these two home in the final were Ben Hickey, Anthony Cronin, Shane Hickey with an immaculate new Micra, and Ronan Coughlin’s Starlet. Adding further interest was East Cork Class 1 champion Nicholas O’Leary, with a pair of big wheels bolted on his trusty ex-Autograss K10 Micra for a rare tarmac outing, and he led quite a few laps before the car stopped in the second heat.

 

The CLASS 1B field was a smaller than usual four cars this time, but that didn’t stop a close battle for the lead in every race between new champion Willie Heney and recent grass racing convert Liam Fitzgerald, while these two both had to work hard to get past Darren Prince in the second heat and final. After much side by side racing, and a little bit of paint removed from the back straight wall, Willie just beat Liam home in all three races, with Darren in third and Paddy Walsh not quite able to keep up in his Autograss Class 1A spec car.

 

CLASS 2 probably got the worst of the weather in their two heats, with torrential rain and standing water not deterring some close action before Eddie Baldwin and Jason Ryan splashed home with the race wins. Stephen Healy, with his car straightened after trying to find its way through Rosegreen’s wall the previous week, this time tried out the tyre wall at the Pike as he skated straight on at the top corner. The final saw Jason Ryan holding off Eddie Baldwin with Michael Coughlin’s shared Starlet in third and Jack Pollard’s Micra sputtering to a stop. Kieran Deasy raced the first heat in Noel’s Junior Micra.

 

A rapid selection of CLASS 3 cars could do nothing to hold back Ronan Waters’ Honda-powered Starlet in the two championship heats. In the final, though, Shaun Lonergan, not to be outdone by his sister, pulled out an uncatchable lead in their Starlet, with Ronan making do with second and Pat Nolan defending third from his guest driver Mick Boland, out in Jamie Egan’s car, while Pat Ryan, sharing Jason’s Class 2 Micra, completed the field.

 

All eyes were on CLASS 4 where, after dropped scores, Peadar Wall’s spaceframe Opel-powered 206 (the only RWD car in the meeting) held a one point lead over Wexford’s Kieran Cooney with his Honda-powered Micra, while the third member of the trio fighting out the class, Alan Houlihan’s Civic, had a slight disadvantage having only joined in from the third round this year. In the very damp first heat, Alan struggled round with what sounded like a well drowned engine, with Peadar beating Kieran. Next time out Kieran turned the tables on Peadar, but as Alan this time was in front of them both, the NASA-type scoring system gave Peadar a two point advantage, subject to him claiming the bonus points for completing the final, which he duly did, playing safe behind Alan, although Kieran dropped back with an off course excursion. In CLASS 5 the ever battling Wexford men were missing, leaving Padraig Smiddy to complete his very successful first half-season with a full points score in his rapid Toyota-powered Micra.

 

CLASS 6 was a bit different this time – with none of the regular Outlaw Hot Rod contenders turning up, the class didn’t appear on the schedule until some rather noisy engines were heard unloading during the drivers’ briefing! They turned out to be 16 valve Vtecs belonging to three of the quickest Wexford grass racers, who were slotted into this class and laid on a spectacular show on a flooded track until the fun ended with Willie Martin, in son Lionel’s Autograss spec Starlet (the one that caught all the BAS racers by surprise at Mallow!) spinning firmly into the wall. Wez Martin’s Civic also disappeared after that, just leaving Anthony Moran’s Starlet to race with the 4s and 5s for the rest of the day.

 

The day ended with a HELPERS’ RACE, won by Christopher Mahon in Jamie Egan’s Starlet, just holding off Adrian Power in Alan Houlihan’s Civic, with Jakob Konieczny a competitive third in Arek’s Micra. Pat Power returned to the track to take fourth in the Heneys’ Micra while Kieran Cooney dropped out in Katie Egan’s car.