Motorsport: Murray clinches title

Niall Murray scored two wins to take the Northern Ireland Formula Ford Championship at Kirkistown
Niall Murray scored two wins to take the Northern Ireland Formula Ford Championship at Kirkistown

Niall Murray clinched the Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship at Kirkistown with two convincing wins.

The Motorsport Ireland-supported driver needed a mere point to secure the title and can now put all his efforts into the Leinster Trophy later this month at Mondello Park.

This meeting will also feature the final two rounds of the Northern Ireland series and the battle for the minor placings.

Murray’s next Kirkistown target will be the Ards Borough Council-supported Martin Donnelly Trophy in early October.

Murray started from pole for both races, race one and an incident brought out the safety car, on the restart Murray eased away from the pack which featured a very close battle between Morgan Dempsey, Neville Smyth, Jake Byrne and Adrian Pollock. Race two and more of the same from the impressive Murray with Byrne starring to capture second.

Sean Newsome piloted his Sheane to an impressive win over second placed Anthony Cross who came under the attentions of a quartet of Formula Vees in the opening race for VW powered single seaters. Race two and no great surprise another benefit for Adam Macauley the polesitter, which saw Newsome taking third with Jimmy Furlong a close second.

Boss Ireland made an all too rare appearance and despite the more powerful machinery on the grid it was Mark Crawford who stole the show with his little Jedi leading from start to finish. The first of the Formula Renaults in the entry with Fergus Faherty at the wheel finished almost ten seconds down on the winner. Race two and on a damp track, Faherty got the jump on Crawford with the attention on Noel Robinson in his Formula Renault. He then temporarily went off track found himself fourth but fought back to take a well deserved victory.

One race for Formula Sheanes in far from ideal conditions and polesitter Kevin Sheane edged out at the start by David Parks, but by the conclusion of the opening lap Sheane was out front and on the way to the flag.

Stephen Donnelly had pole in Roadsports and he was the initial pacesetter until Jim Larkham powered his Radical to the front to score yet another race win and he was to repeat that form in race two. Mark Francis and Graham Moore emerged the winners in NI Sevens while Adrian Smyth and David Mutch were excluded for non compliance of technical regulations.

The HRCA Historic Sportscars were a welcome and colourful addition to the programme and no great surprise in that Jackie Cochrane powered his Sunbeam Tiger to two race wins; however he had to deal with a very competitive Bernard Foley in both races.

The highest entry to date lined up for two Ford Fiesta races swelled by a number of visiting drivers from Mondello Park and it was an away win in both races for Keith Dawson.