“Long time no see!” – with Niall Murray

February 21, 2014 by Niall Murray  

I feel like it’s been absolutely years since I’ve last written a blog… probably because it has!

I’m studying Engineering in Bolton Street and as you may guess it takes up a lot of time, but I promise more of these throughout the year.

Well I suppose I’ll start by just giving a brief recap of 2013

As you know it was my first season in single seaters, racing the Murray Motorsport Van Dieman, and I can’t really describe it as anything other than a success! I aimed to win a race (check!), finish in the top five of the Irish Championship (check!) and also to travel over and compete in the two main ‘trophy’ events, the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy (check and check!). To top the season off, as I’m sure most of you are aware, I won the highly competitive Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. I’ve always really enjoyed driving that circuit and have had great success at it by winning three of the eight races I did there in Ginetta Juniors and finishing on the podium in five!

The big high of winning the Festival was brought down slightly the following weekend when we went to Silverstone for the Walter Hayes Trophy. Having had problems with the car during both test days, getting pole position for the first heat in wet conditions was a bit of a pleasant surprise! After that though it just got drier over the weekend and the problems I’d been having in testing seemed to come back. We struggled big time with straight line speed and couldn’t figure out why. My final was ended early with a 3-into-1 doesn’t go sort of a move from about seventh place and it was then I decided to just forget about that weekend and focus on 2014!

 

Over the winter I’ve been training hard in the gym and also doing a couple of multivenue events in our 1.3ltr Toyota Starlet which are brilliant fun and help a lot with car control! I’ve also done the first round of the Irish Rallycross Stockhatch 16v Championship in Eoin’s immaculate 106 GTi (of which he has two, both for sale/rent!). Over the last season Eoin won the championship by winning every race he entered so there was a lot of pressure with me driving the car that hasn’t finished lower than first in a long time! I really really enjoyed the event and although there were only six of us entered in the class, it provided for great racing and very close times between everyone! I managed to put the car on pole for the final and after a bad start I did my joker lap at the right stage and won the race. The time I did in the final was quick enough to put me on the front row for the Super Final – a race at the end of the day for the fastest eight cars from all of the finals – I was swamped at the start by the 4wd 500bhp+ supercars and the rear-wheel-drive modified off the line, but the little 106 could match their lap time pace! Running in third for a couple of laps the driver of the Lotus Elise in second pulled off with a mechanical issue and I was left to pursue Deco Kelly in the Fiesta RS ahead. I managed to finish up just less than two seconds behind him and would have really enjoyed a few more laps! I hope to do a few more events in this championship but obviously my main aim is FF1600 so I won’t be focusing on it too much!

I feel I may be going a bit over the recommended blog length so I’ll leave it here for now and be sure to keep an eye on motorsport.ie next week for my next blog regarding my 2014 season!As always keep following @niallmurray5 on twitter and watching www.niallmurray.com for updates!

Till next time,

Niall


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