Niall Murray won the first BRSCC Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championship race at Kirkistown, bringing his victory tally up to five wins in the first 10 races.
The Irishman took pole in his Van Diemen, but it was Swift Cooper’s Luke Cooper who led the early laps of the race after a strong start.
A mistake at Colonial allowed Team Dolan driver Murray back through, just before a safety car was called out to move the stranded Ray of Cliff Dempsey Racing’s Nico Gruber.
Cooper, in the Swift, made the same mistake once the safety car had returned to the pits, allowing the Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum of Michael Eastwell through into second. Cooper regained the position at the final corner of the same lap, but by that point Murray had a comfortable lead and took a 1.8 second victory.
Third for Eastwell has made him Murray’s closest challenger in the championship, with Cooper moving from sixth to fourth in the standings.
Just behind the podium trio was Northern Ireland FF1600 Championship regular Alan Davidson, who guided his Clubman Pre-’90 class Mondiale M89S from 14th on the grid up to fourth place overall.
CDR’s Neil Maclennan also made a big gain from qualifying to climb from 12th to fifth in his Ray, ahead of the Ray of American rookie Carter Williams, championship returnee Jordan Dempsey’s Spectrum and Maclennan’s title contending team-mate Jamie Thorburn, in another Ray.
BRSCC Northern FF1600 championship leader Rory Smith finished ninth in the B-M Racing Medina, with William’s Don Hardman Racing team-mate Joey Foster completing the top 10 in his Ray.
Murray’s team-mate Matt Round-Garrido followed up a difficult qualifying session with a non-finish after the battery failed on his Medina.
As the only Clubman Post-’89 entrant, Vincent Jay only had to finish in his Ray to take the maximum points on offer, and in doing so he moved into the championship lead.
|1||Pro||Niall Murray||Van Diemen||19 laps|
|12||Pro||Sebastian Job||Van Diemen||+16.197|
|13||Pro||David McArthur||Van Diemen||+17.552|
|Fastest lap: Murray, 1:01.086|
|1 Murray 274 2 Eastwell 181 3 Thorburn 176 4 Cooper 163 5 Round-Garrido 159 6 Foster 152 7 Maclennan 151 8 R Smith 115 9 Michael Moyers 95 10 Gruber 95|
|1 Jay 242 2 Richard Morris 226 3 Daniel O’Beirne 106 4 John Svensson 97 5 John Ferguson 94 6 Sam Street 74 7 Henry Chart 53 8 George McDonald 28|