MURRAY SHINES AT SENSATIONAL SILVERSTONE
Murray has pushed himself into line as a title contender in FF1600 this season – Photo: Rachel Bourne
Niall Murray became the star of the show this past weekend at our two day race meeting on the Silverstone International circuit, as he battled his way to a brace of emphatic victories in the Avon Tyres Formula Ford 1600 National Championship, as the Mazda Road To Indy stopped off in Northamptonshire.
Former FF Festival Murray was embroiled in a scintillating battle with fellow Festival champion James Raven in the first race in the Post ’89 class, with the front row pair swapping places lap after lap until finally, on the last lap, Murray made the all-important pass for the lead to take the win from Raven by just a tenth of a second! Stuart Gough put in a creditable drive to clinch the final podium spot in 3rd after starting 7th. It was a slightly easier task second time around for Murray with a clear victory in Race 2, once again holding off Raven but this time by 1.3 seconds with Gough again reaching the rostrum in 3rd. There was also Class B victories for John Svensson and Daniel O’Beirne as both took a top step finish each. Svensson could have potentially made it a brace, however he was forced to retire a third of the way through Race 2.
Pre ’90 were also represented in the same field, with Ben Tinkler spread-eagling the class with two impressive and dominant wins. Podium places in Class C were shared amongst Michael Beaver, Ian Wolfenden and Nick Barnes throughout both races.
One of the biggest entries in recent times for the Quaife Fiesta Championship saw an immensely populated grid of 33 cars do battle. Class C took their customary place at the head of the field and Specialized Motorsport’s Simon Horrobin put in a cracking drive to take victory in Race 1 from 5th on the grid, with Jam-Sport’s Jamie Going 2nd and double the reasons for Specialized to celebrate with Sam Priest snatching 3rd. Snetterton winner Aaron Thompson was forced out early in the first encounter, however bounced back sensationally in Race 2 to come from 13th on the grid to win from Priest and Going.
Class D is getting ever more popular these days, with a contingent that almost reached double figures. Alastair Kellett continued his win streak with his 3rd of the season in Race 1 from John Cooper and the ever improving Jessica King. Not to be deterred and spurred on by recent results, King drove her best race to date in Race 2 to take a sensational first class win – all of which came amidst birthday celebrations! Stuart Robbins snatched 2nd place, while multiple Mini racing champion Jamie White took an impressive 3rd on his Fiesta debut. Peter Dendy-Sadler and Luke Bannister doubled with wins in Classes A & B respectively.
In Sports 2000, Patrick Sherrington positively blew his competition away, first by qualifying at least 7 tenths ahead of the rest of the field and then charging to an win aboard his MCR of almost 18 seconds in Race 1 in the Duratec Class from Tom Stoten and Michael Gibbins. The latter would fight back in his own MCR in Race 2, taking the battle to Sherrington and overcoming the odds to just hold on to the Race 2 win by 0.157 seconds – a slender margin! Stoten once again appeared on the podium in 3rd. Former Ginetta Supercup driver David Pittard was the man to beat in the Pinto Championship with two wins, while Peter Needham was virtually unchallenged in the Historic Championship as he also doubled up on the top step.
The Scrapco Recycling/ Avon Tyres Intermarques appeared with us for the first time this season, sharing a grid with the Sevenesque Sports Car Series. In Race 1, Lewis Smith led home a Vauxhall Tigra 1-2 at a canter to to finish some 32 seconds ahead of the pack from Malcolm Blackman, with Daniel Smith completing the top 3. Race 2 has a peculiar ending which eventually had to see a portion of the field reinstated after they mistakenly took to pit lane a lap early, presuming the race had finished. Tommy Field was eventually classified as the winner from Lewis Smith with Chris Brockhurst the final man on the rostrum. In the Sevenesque contingent, Gary Bate just held off Ian Conibear for the win in Race 1 with Rob Singleton in 3rd, which then saw the latter produce the goods to score the Race 2 victory from Conibear and Tilley.
Superkarts also entertained the crowds on Sunday with the headline of the entries being those for the BSA National Championship for F125 Open. Kirk Cattermole did his E plate justice as he claimed Race 1 as his own ahead of a close fought battle for 2nd between Danny Butler and Liam Morley, taking 2nd and 3rd respectively just ahead of Matt Robinson. Cattermole made it two from two in the next race, however this time Butler pressed him all the way to the flag, losing out on the victory by just over a tenth. Lee Harpham claimed the final podium place. In the 3rd and final encounter, it was almost a carbon copy as Cattermole again had to fend off Butler to complete a clean sweep by practically the same margin. Jake Coward took over the 3rd place duties on this occasion.
In the pair of races for Formula 250/450 Superkarts, Gavin Bennett won Race 1 with Gareth James some 13 seconds up the road, just ahead of 3rd placed James Hassall. In Race 2, James and Bennett swapped places on the rostrum with Ross Allen completing it in 3rd.
In the Track Attack Racing Club’s Justmotorsportads.com Nippon Challenge races, incorporating the Deutsche Marques Cup and a small invitation class of Tricolore Trophy cars, Richard Hockley’s Honda grabbed the lead and simply ran away with it, as he blitzed the entire field to win by 38 seconds. Vic Hope and Andrew Roberts claimed 2nd and 3rd to complete a Honda Civic 1-2-3. Hockley top the victory again in Race 2, albeit this time from Nerijus Zabotka’s Subaru Impreza and James Mumbray’s fearsome BMW M3 which also in turn took Deutsche Marques honours.
In the Tricolore Trophy’s two standalone races on Sunday, John Whelan came out on top in Race 1 aboard his Peugeot 306 XSi from Tony Hunter and Nick Gwinnett in a pair of Renault Clios. Moving into Race 2, it was more of the same from the top 3 as they finished in exactly the same order, claiming the spoils of the podium all to themselves.
The YourIrishShop.com MR2 Race Series had another populated field with two fast and furious races. Aaron Pullan was the man on forim in race 1, winning by over 2 seconds from Adam Lockwood, with Peter Higton himself a further 10 seconds back in 3rd. There was more of the same for Pullan and Lockwood in Race 2 as they duplicated their Race 1 results albeit with a bigger margin of victory for Aaron at over 4 seconds. Stephen Wright completed the podium on this occasion in 3rd.
For a full breakdown of the weekend’s results, you can find it via TSL timing HERE.