Castle Combe, Wiltshire, UK – Tuesday 17th July 2018: Current Avon Tyres BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 Championship leader Niall Murray travelled south last weekend to Castle Combe with the unique circumstance of taking on a new British Circuit for the Irishman in his quest to extend his series lead.
With no prior knowledge of the Wiltshire venue, Murray was heavily reliant upon the successful experience of his Team DOLAN crew who in the past put on a superb display on route to taking their maiden British title in 2015. Early indications were looking positive however that a new venue wasn’t going to easily hand the baton to his rivals, and this was proven during Saturday morning’s qualifying. Despite being exceptionally close at the front, the top 13 being split by nine tenths of a second, it was Murray who secured the upper hand to put his Murray Motorsport backed Van Diemen RF99 on pole position for the opening race of the weekend.
With the lights going out on race one towards the end of the day on Saturday, Murray made the most of his top spot advantage to lead from the end of the opening lap. However, such is the advantage gained from sticking in the tow around Castle Combe, it was tricky for the Dubliner to open any margin at the head of the field. Filling his mirrors and looking for any opportunity to find a way past was the rapid Jamie Thorburn. But the wiley fox Murray had all his bases covered. A steller performance on his Castle Combe race debut saw him take a stunning lights to flag victory by a slender margin of just over two tenths of a second, also earning him pole position for Sunday’s second race of the weekend.
Niall was hoping he could repeat his text book performance from the previous day to make it two from two. As the lights went out, Murray shot off the line to lead at the end of the opening lap. Teammate Matt Round-Garrido was also on a charge and going into lap two was now up to second as the Team DOLAN pair set off at the head of the field. From lap two onward, their positions would remain unchanged to make it a Team DOLAN top two overall and Murray’s second win of the weekend.
Niall’s season long ambition has been to secure the golden trio of race victories, but once again he found himself starting from eighth on the grid and with a mountain to climb to make the enviable outcome a reality. However having already built a championship points cushion courtesy of his two wins, Niall was able to throw caution to the wind as the lights went out on Sunday afternoon for the third and final race of the weekend. A the end of the opening lap, he had already climbed two places to sixth. Following a brief slip to P7, Murray’s next moves would come in giant leaps, fourth, second and then into the lead on lap seven where he would remain to the end to secure the ultimate result in race weekend domination.
Niall Murray – #5 Team DOLAN Van Diemen RF99:
“Wow! I’ve finally managed to secure the three wins in a weekend, something I’ve come close to on a few occasions but wanted to achieve for ages! I’m absolutely delighted, but more so for Bernard as it’s his car that enables me to have this pace at every track we go to. I’ve never raced here before, so to be immediately on the pace is absolutely down to him. It’s also given me a healthy championship lead now which is great. It was also great from a team perspective to have Matt on the podium with me this weekend too! As always, none of these aspirations would be possible without my sponsors, so it’s great to be able to deliver a result like this for them.”
Oulton Park, Cheshire, UK – Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th August 2018.