This was a unique day for the Pike - but one that was such a great success it might well become an annual event. No racing at all was seen (apart from a special celebrity race) but it was a day that offered something for everyone. It was certainly a day of contrasts, starting off with the civilised atmosphere of a village fete, and ending up with total chaos as an impromptu demoltion derby broke out on the infield!


The whole day was planned in memory of Mairéad D'Arcy, and raised money for two local charities nominated by the D'Arcy family; the ASD Unit in St Mary's Primary School, Dungarvan and the Dublin-based Temple Street Children's University Hospital.


We turned up at the familiar track entrance that morning not really knowing what to expect, but once in the pits there was a totally different aspect with colourful stalls setting up, bouncy castles and slides, and the fences bedecked with balloons in Mairéad's purple and yellow colours. From then on, there was something going on every minute of the day - to the extent that we checked the time, thinking it must be nearly lunchtime, and found it was late afternoon, nearly time for the day's climax, the crazy "Car Football" to take to the arena.


So, just to try and pick out a few highlights:


The first event on the track was "Maud's Mile", the mile being three laps of the race track. Billed as a "fun run", we were pleased to see that nearly everyone approached it as a gentle sociable stroll. That was so popular it was re-run later in the day for the late arrivals.


A fine selection of classic cars and bikes started to assemble, and they had a couple of track parades, joined by the Red Bull promotional girls who'd been handing out freebies in the crowd, and a few selected Hot Rods, including Ray D'Arcy in the 368 "tribute" Honda.


Later on the Healy family's two Micras lined up for a series of celebrity match races, with local politician Damien Geoghegan going head to head with Waterford football star Maria Delahunty - and very competitive and evenly matched they were too.


Off track the first visit had to be to the well stocked tea and cake stall - just as well to get there early as there was no time for a return visit even if there was any left. There was plenty to see around the other stalls, but one very special attraction was the 50 Years of Hot Rod display of memorabilia which occupied the signing-on office. It was a pleasure to meet some of the pioneers of Irish racing and hear some of their stories of those first events from which all Southern Irish Hot Rod and Autograss racing eventually grew.


Just outside the office the next generation of racers had a chance to make their mark - literally as a selection of the cars destined for the afternoon's "football" event met some creative children (and, to be honest, some slightly older "children") armed with paint pots.


As everyone enjoyed the afternoon sunshine, the entertainment moved up a notch with the appearance of multi-talented singing/racing duo Anita and Sean Lonergan. They put on a most enjoyable performance, again with a bit of a difference as we think it was the first time Anita had sung a duet with a Honda race engine, as Ray D'Arcy's Civic got a thorough tune-up!


With bike races on the track and a tug-o-war in the field, all too soon it was time to turn everyone's attention to the track as Ireland's first Car Football event kicked off (well, we assume it's the first as we don't know anyone else crazy enough to have this idea). Racers past and present entered into the spirit of this and eight teams lined up for the knock-out competition, each with three cars to field. Most players favoured a Micra or Yaris, but there was a sprinkling of Fiats and a Clio, plus a Colt which made its presence felt later on.


As the whistle blew for kick-off and the tackling began, there was soon a slight technical problem - the two giant inflatable footballs provided were not Micra or Yaris-proof! As the remains of the balls were dragged off to be patched up, the third round onwards saw the rules constantly evolving, with the cars, rather than the ball, actually scoring the goals. At that point, the goalposts didn't last long either. A lot of the cars weren't faring much better either. Somehow they all made it through the four heats and semi-finals to the final, plus a third place tie-off, with just a few substitutes from other teams needed to make up the numbers. At the end of it all, the Fifty Years of Hot Rod team presented the trophies, with first place going to Team Kiersey, Jeff Kiersey being joined by sons Seathrún and Micheál. Runners up were Team D'Arcy and the third place went to Team Pollard.


At the start of it all there'd been some idea of everyone taking their cars home and saving them for another event, but by the time the football tournament was over, there was only one thing that could be done. All the surviving cars were invited back onto the infield for a Demolition Derby. The Pike's annual Demolition is always a crazy event, but this one on the grass was something else! After a tremendous effort was needed to kill Kevin Healy's Micra, Rally Hally  in the biggest car there, the Colt, emerged victorious from a final showdown with Alan Houlihan's Micra.