BRSCC National News

Murray delivers perfect comeback in chaotic National race at Knockhill

Niall Murray became the first double winner of the Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship after a hectic second race around Knockhill.

Murray shared the front row with Team Dolan team-mate Matt Round-Garrido, but lost out through the first corner after being edged out onto the gravel, dropping him towards the bottom of the top 10.

Round-Garrido established an early lead despite an early charge from Neil Maclennan who briefly passed the round 4 winner heading into the chicane, only to lose the position once again at the hairpin a lap later.

Maclennan wasn’t about to give up however, and two laps later positioned himself around the outside of the hairpin to sneak past Round-Garrido and take the lead as the pair charged down to Hislop’s.

Having pulled that same manoeuvre on Maclennan yesterday, Murray was on a fightback and copied Maclennan’s move to rob Cliff Dempsey Racing’s Jamie Thorburn of fourth.

Fourth soon became third for Murray as drama was about to befall Round-Garrido. The throttle on his Media was stuck open, meaning he lost it through the chicane and got beached in the gravel.

That left Maclennan out in front with Nick Gruber up in second, ahead of the hard-charging Murray, Thorburn and Ross Martin.

Murray’s job became that bit easier however when Gruber ran too deep into Scotsman. The Cliff Dempsey Racing driver lost time as he scrambled for traction on the kerbs, allowing Murray and team-mate Thorburn to pass.

Murray then set his sights on race leader Maclennan, who was vying to become the fifth different winner from as many races this season. Maclennan, whose Ray was set up for a wetter track, lost a lot of time to Murray who made his move for the lead stick as the pair completed their ninth lap, stealing the inside for the hairpin.

The safety car was then brought out after incidents for Fergus Paton and the fourth Cliff Dempsey car of Jonathan Browne, but the action wasn’t done yet.

With two minutes left the racing resumed and individual entrant Martin executed a clinical manoeuvre up the inside of Gruber to steal fourth place.

However, just one corner later the Scotsman’s race was over after his Ray fired off into the gravel at Clark’s. This prompted a red flag and froze everybody’s positions, leaving Maclennan and Thorburn to join Murray on the podium with second and third respectively.

Gruber ended up fourth, ahead of Kevin Mills Racing’s Michael Eastwell. Joey Foster and Luke Cooper made quiet progress after starting eighth and ninth respectively, with Cooper getting the better of his rival to pinch sixth.

After the race Foster was disqualified for his part in the incident that led to Martin’s retirement, promoting Cooper to sixth.

Seventh place therefore went to Joshua Smith after a great recovery drive following hub bolt issues yesterday, with Rory Smith and Carter Williams and Sebastian Melrose completing the top 10.

Jack Wolfenden, James Clarke and Sebastian Job were 11th, 12th and 13th.

Vincent Jay headed the Clubman Post89 class in 15th, one lap ahead of Richard Morris. The pair have now moved to the top of the class standings, with Jay heading Morris by seven points.

Race results

Pos Class Driver Car Gap
1 Pro Niall Murray Van Diemen 12 laps
2 Pro Neil Maclennan Ray +0.174
3 Pro Jamie Thorburn Ray +0.644
4 Pro Nico Gruber Ray +1.293
5 Pro Michael Eastwell Spectrum +1.397
6 Pro Luke Cooper Swift +1.631
7 Pro Rory Smith Medina +2.115
8 Pro Joshua Smith Van Diemen +2.828
9 Pro Carter Williams Ray +3.721
10 Pro Sebastian Melrose Ray +5.342
11 Pro Jack Wolfenden Firman +5.559
12 Pro James Clarke Mygale +5.976
13 Pro Sebastian Job Van Diemen +7.317
14 CM89 Vincent Jay Ray +9.271
15 Pro Fraser Gray Ray +10.172
16 Pro Davide Meloni Van Diemen +14.152
17 CM89 Richard Morris Swift +1 lap
18 Pro Jonathan Browne Ray +2 laps
DNF Pro Ross Martin Ray
DNF Pro Fergus Paton Van Diemen
DNF Pro Matt Round-Garrido Medina Sport
DNF Pro Hugo Bentley-Ellis Spectrum
DSQ Pro Joey Foster Ray
Fastest lap: Murray, 53.235

Championship standings

Murray 146   2 Cooper 104   Round-Garrido 93   4 Thorburn 87   5 Foster 79   6 R Smith 76   7 Gruber 70   8 Eastwell 68   9 Michael Moyers 53   10 Maclennan 51
Clubman Post89
1 Jay 123   Morris 116   3 John Ferguson 94   Daniel O’Beirne 78   5 John Svensson 34   6 George McDonald 28   7 Sam Street 26

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