Niall Murray completed his season-long aim of winning all three races in a weekend in the third BRSCC Avon Tyres National Formula Ford 1600 Championship race at Castle Combe.
The reversed grid format of the final race of the weekend meant Team Dolan driver Murray started from eighth in his Van Diemen RF99, and was up to sixth by the end of the first lap.
On the third lap he jumped to fourth, and positioned himself on the rear of the battle for second between Don Hardman Racing’s Joey Foster and Cliff Dempsey Racing rookie Nico Gruber.
It only took two corners for Murray to move past Gruber’s Ray GR15, and he was ahead of Foster’s Ray GR08 before entering the Esses.
Kevin Mills Racing’s Michael Eastwell, Murray’s closest rival in the championship, had built up a substantial lead during this time in his Spectrum 011C.
A lairy run through the Esses cut down that gap, and it wasn’t long before Murray was putting pressure on the leader.
Murray took the lead on the inside of Avon Rise just two laps after moving into second, and spent the rest of the race ensuring Eastwell wasn’t close enough to snatch the lead.
Eastwell did get close, getting two important points for fastest lap in his mission to reclaim the lead and take his first win in the championship, but ended up 0.4 seconds short.
Matt Round-Garrido followed team-mate Murray up the order from seventh on the grid in his Medina Sport JL17, but had no answer to the pace of the top two and spent the second half of the race preoccupied in holding off Foster.
Castle Combe lap record holder Hugo Bentley-Ellis (Spectrum 011C) beat Gruber to fifth, with Clubman Post-’89 Class winner and Combe expert Felix Fisher finishing seventh.
The battle for eighth came down to Rory Smith (Medina JL18) and Jamie Thorburn (Ray GR18), who both had to come through from the back of the grid after trouble in the previous race.
Luke Cooper failed to make an impact in his Swift SC16, and actually dropped from sixth on the grid to 10th come the end of the race.
Foster’s DHR team-mate Carter Williams had an impressive beginning to the race from second on the grid, but a smoking rear end led to a retirement and a disappointing end to what has been his most successful weekend yet.
|1||Pro||Niall Murray||Van Diemen||14 laps|
|3||Pro||Matt Round-Garrido||Medina Sport||+4.651|
|13||Pro||Sebastian Job||Van Diemen||+22.906|
|17||Pro||Davide Meloni||Van Diemen||+51.942|
|DNF||Pro||David McArthur||Van Diemen|
|Fastest lap: Eastwell, 1:09:691|
|1 Murray 406 2 Eastwell 303 3 Round-Garrido 277 4 Cooper 242 5 Foster 240 6 Thorburn 221 7 Neil Maclennan 195 8 R Smith 167 9 Bentley-Ellis 156 10 Gruber 150|
|1 Jay 382 2 Richard Morris 307 3 Daniel O’Beirne 106 4 Fisher 104 5 John Svensson 97 6 John Ferguson 94 7 Sam Street 74 8 Fisher 36 9 George McDonald 28|