Matt Round-Garrido recorded his maiden Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship victory in race one at Knockhill, edging Niall Murray and series returnee Neil Maclennan in a three-way thriller.
Team Dolan’s Round-Garrido led away from pole, fending off a first corner challenge from Cliff Dempsey Racing’s Nico Gruber. However, his new team-mate MacLennan was moving forwards swiftly, picking off Jamie Thorburn at the start and Gruber on the run to Clark’s one lap later.
Maclennan was immediately on Round-Garrido’s gearbox, picking up a tow down the pit straight and pulling off a bold late-braking move around the outside of the leader just before halfway.
His time in first was brief, as Round-Garrido regained top spot exiting the chicane moments before a safety car was deployed to clear up James Clarke’s beached Mygale at MacIntyres.
That safety car allowed Niall Murray, who had calmly picked his way past Thorburn and Gruber before the safety car, to harass Maclennan for third.
Murray sneaked past Maclennan at the safety car restart, and though MacLennan briefly retook second, a last lap run around the outside by Murray sealed second position.
Though both battled while glued behind Round-Garrido’s gearbox, neither could mount a challenge, Murray eventually finishing 0.191s behind race winner Round-Garrido in second place.
MacLennan finished third, just ahead of team-mate Gruber, with the top four cars covered by only 0.677s when the chequered flag fell.
Scottish FF1600 regular and National guest driver Ross Martin was best of the rest at his home circuit, finishing a lonely fifth after battling Hugo Bentley-Ellis for position early on.
Though Martin was able to leapfrog Thorburn, who had dropped back from third to sixth place by the finish, Bentley-Ellis dropped well out of the top 10 post-restart, making his life much easier.
Behind Thorburn was Kevin Mills Racing’s Michael Eastwell, who capped a great comeback drive with seventh place. He had qualified only 17th after a mistake in qualifying put him into the barriers, but methodically picked his way past rivals for a solid points finish.
Joey Foster was not so successful in his comeback quest, climbing only to eighth after starting 11th. Behind was Luke Cooper, who try as he might to keep Eastwell at bay, had no answer to the Kevin Mills Racing driver’s bold move heading into Clark’s, front right wheel locked under braking to make the move stick.
Rory Smith completed the top 10 aboard his B-M Racing Medina, ahead of Carter Williams and Jonathan Browne. Local racer Sebastian Melrose could not advance from his 13th place grid slot, finishing ahead of namesake Sebastian Job and Bentley-Ellis in 15th.
Vincent Jay took Clubman Post89 honours, finishing 16th overall and well ahead of class rival Richard Morris.
|1||Pro||Matt Round-Garrido||Medina Sport||14 laps|
|2||Pro||Niall Murray||Van Diemen||+0.191|
|14||Pro||Sebastian Job||Van Diemen||+11.893|
|17||Pro||Davide Meloni||Van Diemen||+25.473|
|18||Pro||Fergus Paton||Van Diemen||+39.314|
|DNF||Pro||Joshua Smith||Van Diemen|
|Fastest lap: Bentley-Ellis, 53.165|
|1 Murray 112 2 Round-Garrido 91 3 Cooper 86 4 Foster 79 5 Thorburn 63 6 R Smith 61 7 Michael Moyers 53 8 Stuart Gough 48 9 Gruber 48 10 Eastwell 48|
|1 John Ferguson 94 2 Jay 89 3 Morris 89 4 Daniel O’Beirne 78 5 John Svensson 34 6 George McDonald 28 7 Sam Street 26|