Following a less than satisfactory return to Formula Ford 1600 in Kirkistown last time out aboard the Bernard Dolan Motorsport Van Diemen LA10, Niall Murray was keen to make amends last weekend for rounds three and four of the Dawson WAM Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship and the James Beckett Motorsport SuperSeries for Formula Ford.
Qualifying proved that it was going to be another close affair throughout the day, with just one tenth of a second separating the top three cars of Kevin O’Hara, James Roe and Murray. Kildare man O’Hara had the advantage again, but with Niall alongside in second he was hoping to get the upper hand on the run to the first corner.
As the lights went out for the days first of two races, Murray launched his Murray Motorsport Van Diemen off the line and left the struggling pole sitter O’Hara behind to lead into the first corner. As Niall exited Colonial two, the drama was all starting to unfold behind him with O’Hara getting tagged off, necessitating a lengthy Safety Car period to aid the recovery. After five laps the race was back under Green flag conditions and Niall made the most of being in control of the restart to gain a small advantage over second placed James Roe. However with his teammate remaining in the tow, he reeled Murray back in but was unable to find a way past allowing Niall to take his first win of the day by just seven hundredths of a second.
Starting again from the outside of the front row, Murray was hoping it would be another repeat performance off the line to take an early lead. As the race got underway, his wishes were granted and once again he was the man in front coming out of the first corner, but this time there was no opening lap dramatics behind him. Knowing that O’Hara would be coming through the pack on a recovery drive, Murray and teammate Roe set off on a charge to break away from the main-field. However after just four laps Kevin was with them and a failed move for the lead from Roe at Colonial left him out of contention and handed control of second to O’Hara. Spectators at the track were in for a treat with an all out battle for the lead now unfolding before them. Murray put on a masterclass in defensive driving to maintain his lead for the remainder of the race to take his second win of the weekend. In addition, Niall was also awarded the Quantum Racing Suspension Driver of the Day, earning him a place in the final of the SuperSeries for Formula Ford shootout to win a ticket to the Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship Shootout.
Niall Murray – #5 Bernard Dolan Motorsport Van Diemen LA10:
“I’m really delighted to come away with two wins from the weekend. Qualifying was very close between the top three and I was delighted to do a 60.7 and break my previous best of 60.9 that I set back in 2014. I had two brilliant races with James in race one and Kevin in race two which makes it even sweeter to come out on top both times. Thanks a million to Bernard, Sam and Dave to all their hard work over the weekend!”