Brands Hatch was subject to an Irish invasion for the annual Formula Ford Festival, the Grand Prix event of the formula. The coveted trophy is on it way back over the Irish Sea with victory going to Niall Murray in his first year in single seater racing.
Murray a Kirkistown race winner earlier this year now joins the likes of Eddie Irvine, Johnny Herbert and Jenson Button by winning the big prize in Formula Ford racing.
The 20 lap race was staged in gathering darkness at the Kent circuit with a twenty eight car field with semi final winners Noel Dunne and Joey Foster occupying the front row.
Dunne made a perfect start and it looked as if he was on his way to victory but he went wide as the pack moved through and a Titanic battle ensued between Murray and Templepatrick’s Wayne Boyd a former Festival winner.
In the closing laps Boyd made a move on Murray exiting paddock bend, went wide thus giving the young Dublin driver breathing space, Boyd found himself back in third and soon got past English driver Olly White to second, but Murray was clear, the win was his.
Boyd set the fastest lap and was awarded ‘The Outstanding Driver of the Day.
Earlier in the day Jonny McMullan won the Historic Formula Ford Festival Final at the wheel of his Mondiale, another great result from the young Ulster driver in a car equal to his own years.
A large number of Ford Fiestas made the trip to Brands Hatch for two races and included in the line up was the Kirkistown Fiesta Champion, James Turkington.
In the first race it was looking like a runaway victory for the Portadown driver, but again exiting Paddock he went wide, off the circuit and rolled his Fiesta.
Victory went to Sean Lillis from John Denning with Ulster drivers Stephen Hagan and James Hagan third and fourth.
Lillis looked good for a repeat of his first race performance in the second race taking the flag from Denning and James Hagan. However post ace and Lillis and Denning were served with penalities promoting Hagan to first.
A new book which will appeal to rally enthusiasts was launched at the weekend, ‘The Porsche 911 in Irish Rallying’ was written by Mark Copeland who sadly passed away and did not see his work published.
One of the leading authorities on the iconic Porsche 911 he recorded the story of the car in Irish rallying and at the launch in John Mulholland Motors in Randalstown there was also a special rally forum with four of the best known Porsche ally drivers in Ireland taking part, Cathal Curley, Dessie McCartney, Derek Boyd and Ken Shields.
The book is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org