Rookie Juniors

Junior Class 1B

Junior Class 1


Class 1

Class 1B

Class 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

Stock Rods

Helpers' Race
Waterford Raceway

The third round of Waterford Raceway’s “Driver of the Year” Championship continued the pattern from the previous rounds of strong entries, with several new faces among them, brisk and efficient organisation and highly entertaining racing – the races are long enough to be interesting and the excellent handicapping results in a high proportion of them brewing up to extremely close finishes. In these respects The Pike has a lot in common with one of our favourite independent UK venues, the Oval Raceway at Angmering – although The Pike is all about Hot Rod racing (apart from the annual Demolition Derby, which is a rare enough event in Ireland to retain its novelty) whereas Angmering’s Hot Rods usually share the bill with some other classes that have to be seen to be believed!

Back to The Pike, where support continues to grow with, among others, an influx of drivers from the Wexford area. It’s a shame that the demise of their own club at Ballymitty prompted a change of scene for them, but those who’ve joined The Pike so far are relishing the new challenge of tarmac racing. They were among an entry of 49 cars and 57 drivers with the three Junior groups, Class 1 and the Stocks being the strongest, and the Ladies showing an encouraging growth. The faster classes were still short on numbers, but several cars are nearing completion that should swell the entry over the next couple of events.

CLASS 1 had three different winners; Kenneth Corbett and Michael Baldwin won the heats before Stephen Condon, in Nathan Whelan’s Micra, overhauled early leaders Ger Russell and Sean Lynch to take the final. Michael took the overall trophy from Kenneth and Stephen, who’d missed the second heat replacing the gearbox after loaning the car out. Also in the mix was Jamie Bowen while Kenneth McCoy continued to pick up speed in the lone Starlet among the Micras.

The entry-level CLASS 1B was given a boost with some of the Junior Production cars gaining second drivers; the 1Bs started the day running with the Ladies, as they have so far this year, but a crowded first heat led to them being split for the rest of the day. Johnny Patterson, in brother Aaron’s car, Keith Kirwin and Willie Heney were the three race winners – the skilled handicapping at The Pike yet again helping to share the wins round. Willie took the top trophy from Johnny and Shane Harding, while John Ivers, the only one of the group driving his own car, led a lot of laps but lost out after a tangle in heat two.

CLASSES 2 and 3 featured three cars each, all examples of what we’d consider the archetypal Irish Hot Rod; FWD Starlets with Fiat, Honda, Nissan or even Toyota power! William Hallissey’s Nissan Starlet crossed the line first in the opening Class 2 race, unfortunately closely followed by a massive cloud of smoke that signified that his engine had blown up exiting the last corner. William continued racing thanks to the loan of Stephen Condon’s Class 1 Micra (rather like SEGTO, anyone wanting to share a car is allowed to race in the next class up). Overall winner was Wexford’s Andy Foley whose Fiat Starlet battled with Stephen Healy’s similar car.  Ronan Waters’ Honda Starlet, flying after a few problems earlier in the year, won all three heats to take the Class 3 honours from Alan D’Arcy and PJ O’Sullivan. 

Paul Power’s Fiat Starlet was the only CLASS 4 entry but soon succumbed to a very sick engine. CLASS 5 featured another of the welcome Wexford crew, Andrew O’Brien’s Honda Starlet, while the only CLASS 6 was Martin Fitzgerald’s National/Outlaw Hot Rod Colt. That all sounds very thin on the ground, but when all these five classes were combined, with expert handicapping, and with Martin Fitz starting a full lap down on the leaders, the result was spectacular. Martin came through to win all his three races but really had to go for it to catch the on form Ronan Waters, Alan Darcy and Andrew O’Brien – the second heat came down to Martin passing Ronan round the outside of the last corner.

The LADIES’ races also saw a battle against the handicapper, this time for Meaghan O’Daly, whose Starlet moved progressively back on the grid until she too had a full lap to make up in the final. Meaghan rose to the challenge, despite the Egan sisters, Jamie and Katie, both being on good form in their Starlets. Meaghan won a restarted first heat, but had her battery die while chasing Jamie Egan in the second race.  Anita Pollard had to borrow Gavin Mullally’s production Micra after the first heat and she led most of the final until Jamie, Katie and Meaghan caught her all at once. Jamie in the Fiat-powered Starlet then did a fine job of holding off Meaghan, but a dive down the inside at the last corner while lapping a backmarker saw Meaghan triumph in yet another typical close Pike finish. Jamie and Katie took first and second overall with Meaghan third. First time out, in a couple of the Stock cars, were Jenny Arrigan and Carol Sheehan.

The STOCK RODS featured an amazing finish, even by Pike standards, in their second heat. 2017 newcomer Luke Dalton led virtually all the way in his Primera, but was shuffled down to third as Brian Weston’s Mazda and Alan Houlihan’s Hyundai dived past in the last corner. Luke hung on round the outside and the three cars crossed the line absolutely level, with Luke actually inching back ahead for the win! Joe Fitzgerald’s Almera won the first heat and Brian Weston fended off Marty O’Riordan’s Focus, Joe Fitz and Alan Houlihan in the final. Brian took the points win from Joe and Alan, beating the other contenders Paul Weston’s Mazda, Shane Guiry’s Mitsubishi and newcomer Brian Dalton’s Mazda.

The CLASS 1 MODIFIED JUNIORS provided their usual fast and furious racing with wins for Cian Deasy and Alex Lotus in the heats. Cian led for a long time in the final before running wide at the hairpin and letting Jack Hickey through, Jack then fending off Shane O’Shea and Cian to the end. Alex was the overall winner from Jack and Cian. Jason Corbett and Ronan Foley were also in contention, but Jack Pollard had to pull out after damage in the first heat. Two newcomers joined in fray in Starlets, Mark O’Connor and Luke O’Donovan.

The JUNIOR PRODUCTIONS featured the latest recruit from Wexford, Ben Furlong enjoying his first taste of tarmac. Cathal McGivern, Aidan Heney and Gavin Mullally were the three race winners, with Evin Harding chasing Gavin home in the final while Cathal was unlucky to smack the inside wall after a last corner bid for third. Evin’s consistent results brought him the overall win from Cathal and Aiden. Regular contenders Ben Dunlea, who led most of the way in heat one, Aaron Patterson and Joey Dilworth all put up a good show.

The restricted ROOKIE JUNIORS enjoyed exceptionally close and well controlled racing. Ian Kelleher held off Tadgh Foley, Brian Scannell and  Darragh Healy to win the first heat and the final, while Tadgh won the second race after passing Darragh on the outside of the last lap. Liam Kiersey kept a sick car going to finish every race, while Megan Kirwin continued to gain experience with a few laps in the lead. Tadgh Foley was the overall winner from Ian Kelleher and Darragh Healy.

The day finished with a good turnout in the HELPERS’ RACE, which got a bit fraught.  Alan Loftus raced on with a crumpled bonnet after running up the back of Michael Fitzgerald in the Almera, while Nathan Whelan raised a few heartbeats as he spun Meaghan O’Daly’s Starlet through the middle of the pack while challenging for the lead. Jamie Condon brought the Stock Hyundai home just ahead of Stephen O’Shea’s Micra, with Alan Loftus and Nathan Whelan recovering to third and fourth ahead of Seamus Healy, Mike Carey in the hard worked 202 Micra, Michael Fitzgerald, Anthony Lawton, giving the Minions another ride in Gavin Mullally’s Micra, and Adrian Power in Shane Guiry’s Mitsubishi.

The Pike’s season continues on May 7, unfortunately clashing with the All Ireland Autograss opener at Carlow and the East Cork Hot Rod Club’s first round of the year at Midleton, then Round 5 is provisionally scheduled for Bank Holiday Monday , 6 June.