Motorsport: Niall Murray increases his lead at Kirkistown

James Turkington younger brother of BTCC ace Colin continued his winning ways at Kirkistown
James Turkington younger brother of BTCC ace Colin continued his winning ways at Kirkistown

Difficult weather conditions and incidents were the added challenge for drivers and officials at Kirkistown on Saturday.

Niall Murray extended his lead in the Northern Ireland Formula Ford Championship and James Turkington retained his unbroken record of wins in Fiestas at the County Down track.

Formula Ford 1600 and Niall Murray arrived with a healthy lead in the Northern Ireland Championship and in qualifying secured pole and in race one he was shadowed briefly by his elder brother Eoin who was having his first race in Ireland for fourteen years.

Murray junior had an uncustomary spin which dropped him back into the pack as Noel Dunne and Jake Byrne waged a terrific battle for the top position. At Fisherman’s Byrne got ahead of the vastly experience Dunne but his moments of glory were short lived as Dunne shot to the front and victory.

Race two and wet conditions, Murray junior had pole and a repeat of the earlier race Eoin grabbed second briefly, then Dunne led the pack, they spun and Alan Davidson found himself in second as Niall Murray swept to yet another race win.

Two races for Formula Vee and in the qualifying race it was Sean Newsome who led from lights to flag with a strong challenge mounted by Gavin Buckley.

The final saw Adam Macauley on pole the Irish Festival winner and he shot into an early lead but it was brief as the race was red flagged, two cars off and there was lengthy delay before the restart, once again it was Macauley who briefly lost the lead to Kevin Grogan, a very close race to the flag with Macauley getting the verdict by less than a second.

Both the Saloon/GT races saw Jim Hutchinson on pole with his GM powered Escort and his battle with Connaire Finn’s Ginetta ended on the last lap, contact and Hutchinson was briefly off, but he made a brilliant recovery to finish second.

Best of the saloons Richard Ryan who enjoyed a very close battle in his BMW with Gerry McVeigh’s Mitsubishi. Race two and Hutchinson turned the tables on Finn and McVeigh came out best in Saloons.

James Turkington younger brother of BTCC driver Colin has never been beaten in Fiestas at Kirkistown and he made his first appearance of the season and he set pole position for both races. The first race and Turkington built up a lead from the opening lap never to be challenged. But in race two he faced a significant challenge from series leader Andrew Blair, but again it was Turkington.

Jim Larkham dominated in Roadsports with two victories while Graham Moore and Iain Leinster shared the spoils in NI Sevens and in Strykers wins for Mark Baker and Dave Griffin.

Karts provided high speed, very close racing with wins going the way of Matt Campbell, M McGaffin, Ian Gilpin and Liam Fox.