Coming from his opening weekend at Oulton Park that could be classed as ‘the one that got away’, Niall Murray was keen to make sure he left Silverstone with a strong set of results to strengthen his charge for the 2016 BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 Championship crown.
Just like Oulton Park, Murray was the pace setter of the field during Friday’s pre-event testing, and once more would carry this form into Saturday morning’s qualifying, securing his second qualifying pole position of the season. This result is all the more noteworthy as the weekend marked Murray’s debut around the Silverstone International configuration circuit.
Despite getting a clean getaway at the start, it was James Raven who led at the end of the opening lap, with Murray now firmly attached to the gearbox of the race-leading RAY driver. With his experienced race engineer Bernard Dolan reminding him that the race is only decided at the final corner around Silverstone, Murray moved into the lead on lap three and had the outright pace to lead, but would slip back to second shortly after. With two laps to go, Niall was now in second behind championship rival James Raven. Ensuring he remained within striking distance over the final pair of laps, Murray made his move going through Stowe on the final lap, as Raven just left a Murray Motorsport supported Formula Ford sized gap allowing Niall to take his first win of the day.
Courtesy of his race one victory, Murray returned to the pole position grid slot for race two, with the confidence of a race one victory behind him, Niall was keen to pull off a repeat performance. A poor getaway as the lights went out left the Firhouse man down in fourth exiting the first corner. Knowing a rapid return to the front would now be the only way of adding to his victory tally, Murray managed to get a double tow from the battling pair of Chase Owen and fellow Irishman Stephen Daly down along the Hangar Straight. As Daly focused his attentions on Owen, Niall didn’t need an invitation to slip up the inside at Stowe and now back up to second. With race leader James Raven now leading by a small margin, Murray was gifted an early opportunity to snatch the lead as Raven ran wide at Stowe a lap later.
Now commanding a healthy three-second lead and the fastest lap of the race, Niall suddenly noticed his lap times reduce. Unaware at the time that oil on the track was effecting the overall pace of the field, Murray was able to maintain his lead and controlled his advantage to the flag, securing his second victory of the weekend and with it, promotion to the head of the championship points table.
Niall Murray – #5 Bernard Dolan Motorsport Van Diemen RF99:
“That was what I would call a near perfect weekend! Pole, two wins and one fastest lap! I don’t think I can complain too much, I’ve gone from fifth to first in the championship standings and I’ve set the pace at both tracks so far this year. Now I’m looking forward to Zandvoort in three weeks for a new challenge. Massive thanks to Bernard, Sam & David for their hard work over the weekend and also to all my sponsors!”