Murray continues to impress at The Martin Donnelly Trophy!
October 3, 2013 by P1 Digital
Single seater rookie Niall Murray has certainly been a driver to watch all season, having made the transition from Ginetta sportscar racing to the highly competitive Formula Ford series. Having not finished outside the top five all season, Murray was confident as the first of the seasons three highlight Formula Ford events got underway at the Martin Donnelly Trophy race in Kirkistown.
Niall’s weekend got off to a mixed start as he qualified his Murray Motorsport Formula Ford fourth on the grid for the afternoon’s qualifying heat.
Having worked hard between the sessions with his team to achieve a better balance on his Van Dieman, Niall pulled up to the grid to start his qualifying heat. A poor getaway from the line put Niall in the middle of a four-car wall coming into Debtors. Contact from the left kicked off a domino effect causing John Ferguson to roll his car heavily, which stopped the race. Luckily, John was unhurt in the incident and on the restart Murray was able to get a better start and challenged Ivor McCullough in the early stages of the race for the lead. However Neville Smyth was now closing on the pair and Murray found himself having to defend his second position in a thrilling battle for the majority of the race. Cruelly for Murray, a missed gear was all it took to lose the position towards the end of the race.
The much-anticipated Martin Donnelly Trophy Final race approached and Niall started from fifth on the grid. A good start was hampered when Niall got boxed out at the first corner but managed to hold his position. Over the next sequence of laps Murray again found himself in battle with Neville Smyth but this time Murray got the upper hand to find a way past quickly followed through by Jonny McMullan. The young pair worked together to make their way towards challenging for the leading positions. Quickly dispatching Ivor McCullough, the duo now had their sights set on the leaders Kevin O’Hara and Noel Dunne. However a mechanical issue caused Dunne to spin out which promoted Niall to second. Neville Smyth and Ivor McCullough had now worked their way back into the fray and a four-way battle ensued for the remainder of the race. On the final lap of the race, O’Hara had managed to open a comfortable advantage in the lead while Murray and McMullan battled over the entire lap for the runner up spot. Crossing the line in a grandstand finish, McMullan just kept his nose ahead to take second with Niall just behind taking a well-deserved final podium position.
Speaking after the race, Niall reflected on a very good weekend overall, “Another good weekend for us in FF1600. To be on the podium in one of the most competitive FF1600 races is great and I can’t wait to see what we can do at the Formula Ford Festival in Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy in Silverstone. Big thanks to my dad Joe and brother Eoin for coming up with me this weekend to run the car! Of course a massive thank you to my brilliant sponsors Murray Motorsport, SuperB Lithium Batteries, CL Brakes, Schroth and P1 : Digital.”