Rookie Juniors

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Stock Rods

Ian O'Leary Cup
Waterford Raceway


For Round 5 of their 2017 championship, Waterford Raceway took the unusual step of scheduling their meeting for the June Bank Holiday Monday to avoid clashing events (not all of which were racing events – congratulations Seamus and Mags!). The scheduling paid off in one respect at least as, despite a dismal weather forecast, the Pike’s attendance continued to grow with 57 cars in the pits and 62 drivers signed on.


As for that weather forecast – it was right! The rain started just as scrutineering ended and just got heavier and heavier through the afternoon. The racing was hurried through with the two points scoring rounds of heats leading straight into the first of this year’s big cup races, the Ian O’Leary Cup. Even though the programme was somewhat abbreviated, there was no shortage of track time with practice plus two twelve lap heats of the long track. 20 laps were scheduled for those who qualified for the Cup race but as the race was red flagged and restarted from the original handicap positions, those who made it that far got an extra 32 laps in!

As the rain lashed down, rivers ran down the back straight and the main lasting impression of the day was the superb car control displayed by virtually every driver as they pressed on through the deep water, by no means all of them with suitable tyres for the conditions. There were a few cars that simply aquaplaned into the scenery but we’d have expected many more!

First to perform were the ROOKIE JUNIORS with seven Micras on the grid. Darragh Healy win the first heat and the second saw Ian Kelleher at the head of a close four-way dice, holding of Brian Scannell, Tadgh Foley and Darrah. Megan Kirwin was next up in front of Pike newcomer Toby McGuire. Another newcomer, Dylan Ivers, missed out on the second race with three of the family now sharing the car. Ian took the overall win from Darragh and Tadgh.

The PRODUCTION JUNIORS started with nine cars but lost Rachel Ivers with a bit of a bump in the first heat, sidelining the car for the rest of the day. Wexford boy Ben Furlong had a good win over Ben Dunlea in that heat, which moved him well back in the handicap for the second heat. Aidan Heney splashed out in front until a red flag brought an early end to that one. Cathal McGivern held off Joey Dilworth and another Pike newcomer, Tommy McConnell for second, while Aaron Patterson, with a new car, Ben Furlong and Ben Dunlea fought out the other places although Evin Harding got into trouble early on. The overall trophy went to Aiden Heney from Joey Dilworth and Ben Furlong.

The MODIFIED JUNIORS, with ten cars starting, also coped very well with the conditions although Alex Loftus suffered steering damage in the first heat. Cian Deasy won that race after brother Noel led much of the way. The second heat saw Caiomhe Kiely lead all the way, undeterred by sliding straight into the armco at one stage. The conditions didn’t deter the usual close racing in this class and Caiomhe just held off Jack Hickey and Ronan Foley. Caiomhe won overall from Jack and Cian. Other contenders included the ever immaculate Micra of Jack Maher, Gavin Mullally, stepping up from the Production class, and the two Starlets of Mark O’Connor and Jack Pollard, trying out his sister’s new car.

The LADIES’ class actually comprised all Starlets of varying types. Anita Pollard in her newly acquired car and Anita Lonergan were up against the Egan sisters and, of course, Meaghan O’Daly, although it wasn’t a good day for Meaghan, whose engine expired after the first heat. Jamie Egan, in the Fiat-powered Class 2 Starlet, headed sister Katie’s Class 1 version in both heats, while the two Anitas tied for third overall.

CLASS 1B, for the production Micras, ran with the ladies and produced a tie for the overall trophy, with Johnny Patterson and Willie Heney winning a heat each. Joe Fitz brought out a Micra as well as his stock Nissan, and took third after John Ivers had to drop out.

The Modified CLASS 1 only brought out four cars this time and lost Steven White, whose Micra slid into the tyre wall, and Kenneth McCoy whose Starlet succumbed to clutch failure after a good run in the first heat. Michael Baldwin won both heats from Steven Condon.

CLASSES 2 & 3 ran together and produced excellent racing. Jim McCoy passed Stephen Healy on the outside on the last lap to win the first heat, with Ronan Waters’ Class 3 winning Starlet in close pursuit. Second time out Jim bounced off the barriers trying to take the lead from William Hallissey’s Nissan powered Starlet. Ronan Waters then came through to win overall with Stephen Healy just fending off the recovering Jim in Class 2. Stephen and Jim shared the overall Class 2 win, with William Hallissey third, while Ronan won Class 3 from Daniel O’Sullivan and Sean Lonergan after Alan D’Arcy’s Suzuki-powered Starlet retired in the first heat.

Another mixed race proved entertaining for CLASS 4, 5 and 6 although unfortunately Nicky Banville and Donal Linehan never made it out of the pits and we also lost another Wexford recruit, Pat Power, when his Class 4 Micra-Honda started steaming on the grid. That left no finishers in Class 4, and Andrew O’Brien’s Starlet-Honda was unchallenged in Class 5, although that didn’t stop him mixing it with the Class 6 cars. One of the highlights of the day was seeing Raymond D’Arcy return to the track; still working on his Fiesta Hot Rod, he’d received the kind loan of a Pinto-powered Starlet from Classic Hot Rod star Austin Fitzgerald. Raymond made it a winner first time out, before Brian Whelan’s Nissan-powered 205 won the second heat as Raymond diced with Andrew O’Brien and Alan D’Arcy, who was having a go in Martin Fitz’s ex-National Hot Rod Colt. Raymond took the overall class win from Alan and Brian. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see Raymond out again in his new car – and maybe with Pike legend Ray D’Arcy senior joining him on the track!

The STOCKS appeared to have great fun on the flooded track, although Marty O’Riordan ran away from them all to win the first heat with Brian Weston’s new Mazda in second. Paul Weston then took his Mazda to a flag to flag win in heat two, while a tight battle raged for second between Alan Houlihan’s Hyundai, Marty O’Riordan and Steven Condon in Shane Guiry’s Mitsubishi. The overall result was a win for Marty from Alan and Paul, with Steven and Luke Dalton’s Primera the only others to finish both heats after various dramas for Martin Redmond’s Alfa, Joe Fitz’s Nissan and Andrew Burke’s Focus.

That just left the big race for the IAN O’LEARY CUP, with eight of the potential fourteen qualifiers making it out for the 20-lapper. Katie Egan made the early running before Michael Baldwin took over, chased by Jim McCoy until, with twelve laps in the books, a coming together between Stephen Healy and Steven Condon brought out the reds. It was back to the original starting positions and the restart followed the same pattern, Michael passing Katie for the lead and then controlling the pace nicely to take the win, with Ronan Waters’ Class 3 getting close, but not quite close enough. Jim McCoy came in third while Raymond D’Arcy did a fine job of controlling the only rear wheel drive car in the race, coming from the back of the grid to pick off first Jamie and then Katie Egan in the closing stages.

The conditions didn’t prevent this from being yet another most enjoyable day at the Pike – next up will be round 6 of the Driver of the Year series on Sunday 25 June.