Newly crowned BRSCC British National Formula Ford 1600 Champion Niall Murray has continued his dominant from by winning the first of 2016’s trio of Formula Ford Trophy Races, lifting the Martin Donnelly Trophy in Kirkistown on Saturday last.
Murray openly admitted before the event that this was one box he really wanted to tick, with a number of near misses in the past seeing him come ever so close on too many occasions for his liking. Following a total domination of this years British series, Murray looked better placed than ever to firmly add his name to the list of former winners of the famous trophy.
Despite a mixed run in testing in the run up to the event, things finally came good for Murray during Saturday morning’s qualifying. Benefitting from being in the second of two qualifying sessions, Niall set the fastest time of the day so far, securing his place on the front row for the heat two race.
When the race got underway, it looked as if Murray’s poor Kirkistown luck was set to make a return, the Dubliner falling down the order caused by his brakes being stuck on during the opening lap. However by lap three, Niall had resolved the issue and was now back up to full speed and closing in on teammate Jordan Dempsey for second. By lap six, Murray was back in the lead, benefitting from the battle for position up in front between Dempsey and James Roe. From there, he went on to win by a margin of just over half a second.
Due to the competitive nature of the heat, Murray’s time in the session was only good enough for second on the grid for the big race of the day, the Martin Donnelly Trophy final. As the lights went out, Murray remained firmly in the mix on the run to the first corner. Aided by poleman Kevin O’Hara running off at Fishermans, Murray was now up to second, before dispatching new leader Alan Davison on the back straight to move into the lead. However as he started to build his advantage, the Safety Car was deployed, meaning Murray was now back under threat. But a superb getaway as the track returned to green almost instantly returned the leading advantage to the Van Diemen driver. By the half way point, it was now teammate Dempsey in second, with Davison slipping back to third.
Out in front however, Murray was putting on a master class in Formula Ford driving, building his lead on every lap and after 20 minutes of racing, Niall took the chequered flag with a winning margin of almost eight seconds to award him the first trophy race win of the year, the second of his Formula Ford racing career to date.
Niall Murray – #5 Bernard Dolan Racing Van Diemen RF99:
“Fantastic weekend here at Kirkistown for the Martin Donnelly Trophy to finally take the win after three times trying! I started on the front row in second and dropped to third off the line but made my way up to the lead and just pulled away then to win by almost eight seconds! It was great to lead home a 1-2 for Bernard Dolan proving once again that he is the best around!”
Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival, Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd October 2016