Rookie Juniors

Junior Class 1B

Junior Class 1

Ladies & Class 1B

Class 1

Class 2, 3 & 6

Class 1,2,3 4th race

Stock Rods

Helpers' Race
Waterford Raceway

The sun shone on The Pike for the first championship meeting of 2017. Admittedly there was a bit of a chilly wind, but there has to be a small price to pay for racing in a spot sandwiched between the mountains and the spectacular Copper Coast of Co Waterford.

With the sunshine came a good turnout with 47 cars and 55 drivers signed on for the main action and, as ever at the Pike, they all got good value with a practice session and four 12-lap races (6 laps for the Rookie Juniors). The only slight disappointment was again a lack of cars in the bigger classes, but we know of a few in the course of preparation and in any case the massed ranks of Micras and Starlets always provide excellent entertainment. Close racing was the order of the day. The Pike's a long and fast track but to be fair it's only realistically two cars wide - so we were quite impressed that out of the many drivers who tried racing three-abreast, most of them got away with it!

Some of the closest racing through the day came from the LADIES, with a great battle between Meaghan O'Daly in her trusty boxy Starlet and Aiofe Murray, having her first Pike outing for three years or so. Meaghan and Aoife took a win each in the two reversed grid heats and then battled side by side in the third race before Meaghan sneaked up the inside in the last corner and just inched ahead of the Limerick girl over the line. Wexford racer Katie Egan, more accustomed to the dirt at Ballymitty, had a good first tarmac outing to take third in her Starlet ahead of Michelle Fitzgerald and Anita Pollard. With most of the ladies in shared cars, only Meaghan and Katie made it out for the bonus fourth race when Meaghan took her third win of the day.

Out with the ladies were the standard CLASS 1B cars, a class with potential for great growth. Jamie Condon and Daryl O'Regan battled it out with Jamie taking two wins to Daryl's one. 

The restricted ROOKIE JUNIORS' grid grew to seven cars and the best part of it was that the four races all had different winners; Ian Kelleher, Brian Scannell, Tadgh Foley and Liam Kersey took the wins with Darragh Healy and Jack Browne both well in contention, while newcomer Megan Kirwin continued to pick up experience.

With eight cars on the grid the JUNIOR CLASS 1B boys laid on plenty of action. Cathal McGivern made a break to win the first heat, but with the drawn grid reversed for heat two, Evin Harding (shortly to make his Autograss debut) led heat two all the way. With the top point scorers going to the back for round three, Leon O'Shea held off Aidan Heney for a very close win. The fourth race got a bit fraught with Leon O'Shea leading until a tangle with Evin Harding brought out the reds - the result taken from the previous lap put Leon back in front from Evin, Cathal McGivern, Aiden Heaney, Aaron Patterson, the slightly bent car of Gavin Mullally and Joey Dilworth's down on power car. We lost a smoky Ben Dunlea after the second heat.

The seriously quick JUNIOR CLASS 1 "Modified" brought out nine drivers and ten cars. Caoimhe Kiely had a good run through the field in race one and just came up a few inches short of winner Rolan Foley. Shane O'Shea took the second race before Caoimhe led race three all the way. The fourth race was maybe the closest fought of the day; Jack Hickey passed Adam Browne for the lead and held on in front of a six-car battle until a three-abreast finish saw Jack winning from Caoimhe, Orla O'Sullivan, Adam Browne, Ronan Foley and Cian Deasy, with Jack Pollard completing the finishers after Shane O'Shea and Noel Deasy had problems.

There were nine runners in senior CLASS 1; seven Micras plus the Starlets of Kenneth McCoy and top Wexford racer Andy Foley. Steven Condon took the first race after battling with Colm O'Sullivan, Jamie Bowen and Michael Baldwin, with Paddy O'Sullivan close behind. The second race was joined by Tomas Kiely in Caoimhe's car and Mick Boland in Adam Browne's car, but Steven won again from Michael Baldwin, Tomas Kiely and Colm O'Sullivan. Tomas led the third race all the way. The final heat was interrupted a couple of times with Jamie Bowen and Michael Baldwin both finding the inside wall after the action got a bit too close; a rerun at the end of the day resulted in another ultra-close finish as Steven Condon held off Tomas Keily and Mick Boland.

The other Hot Rod classes all ran together. CLASS 2 saw side-by-side action from Stephen Healy's Starlet-Fiat and Seamus O'Riordan's Micra until Seamus unfortunately collected the wall. Alan D'Arcy lost his CLASS 3 rival when Ronan Waters' Starlet expited in the first race and Martin Fitzgerald's Colt was on its own in CLASS 6 but Alan and Martin both still contributed to some spectacular racing as they caught up from behind in the well-handicapped races.

There was no shortage of entertainment from the varied STOCK ROD class. Alan Houlihan's Hyundai caught, but couldn't quite pass, Johnny Patterson's Mazda in race one, but Alan then led all the way in race two with Joe Fitzgerald's Almera in pursuit. Race three saw Andrew Burke's Focus and Johnny Patterson taking turns in front before Alan came through to win again from Joe. Marty O'Riordan's Focus dropped out when well in contention but came back to win the last race from Joe, Alan and Johnny. Also in the thick of it were Brian and Paul Weston's Mazdas, Martin Redmond's Alfa and Luke Dalton's Primera.

The day ended with a HELPERS' RACE in which Nathan Whelan took the hard worked 394 Micra to another win, chased by Kevin Healy in the Starlet, Paul Hally in the Almera Stock, Kevin Corcoran in the second 394 Micra, and the battling Adrian Power (in the Pollard family Micra) and commentator Anthony Lawton, giving Gavin Mullally's Micra what turned out to be its last race.

Once again we must thank everyone at the Pike for their welcome and hospitality, with a final highlight of the day being another trip down to the coast at Ballyvooney to meet Gertie, the most famous dog in Ireland (we're sure most of our readers will have followed on Facebook and other media the saga of Gertie's miraculous recue from the cliffs.

With our other commitments likely to get a bit busy in the coming weeks, it may be a while before we can get back to the Pike, but we hope it won't be too long as this venue always rewards our 800 mile plus round trip!