Niall Murray has mathematically clinched a second BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 title by taking victory in race three at Croft, holding off Jordan Dempsey throughout.
Murray’s Team Dolan team-mate Jack Wolfenden had started from pole but relinquished the lead to Murray at the first corner. Wolfenden plummeted through the field, falling to 10th before his race ended in the tyre barriers at Sunny three laps later.
Dempsey kept Murray honest throughout, having also picked off Wolfenden at the start, and remaining on Murray’s tail after a mid-race safety car to clear Wolfenden’s stricken car.
The third Dolan car of Matt Round-Garrido completed the podium after successfully defended the advances of a race one and two winner Josh Smith, who had started eighth on the reverse grid.
Trying to thread his way through the midfield, Smith had run side by side with Round-Garrido through the Jim Clark Esses and towards Barcroft but, when his move failed, was swamped by drivers behind.
Running wide at the Complex, he made slight contact with James Clarke’s Cliff Dempsey Racing-ran Ray, then tangled wheels with Luke Cooper. The Swift Cooper driver tried to pass Oldfield Motorsport’s Smith around the outside at the hairpin, but his left rear clipped Smith’s right front, forcing both to retire.
Don Hardman Racing’s Joey Foster finished fourth, fending off a late challenge from Clarke at Tower on the last lap. Michael Eastwell capitalised on Clarke’s lost momentum, throwing his Spectrum around the outside entering the Complex to steal fifth place away for Kevin Mills Racing.
It was a storming but unintended recovery drive from Eastwell, who had dropped all the way down to 16th on the first lap when trying a similar move on lap one. His recovery drive was crucial, as while Murray wrapped up the main championship, Eastwell secured Tourist Trophy honours.
Clarke would secure sixth place, with B-M Racing driver Rory Smith behind in seventh. Foster’s team-mate Carter Williams claimed eighth, while Sebastian Job took a second consecutive top 10 finish with ninth.
Nico Gruber completed the top 10, clawing positions back in the second half of the race after running as low as 15th. His CDRacing team-mate Jamie Thorburn had been in contention for more points but was forced to pit, encountering an issue just as the safety car period began.
Vincent Jay ensured three championships were settled at Croft, beating Clubman Post-’89 rival Richard Morris to victory by 1.657s.
|1||Pro||Niall Murray||Van Diemen||11 laps|
|2||Pro||Jordan Dempsey||Van Diemen||+0.751|
|9||Pro||Sebastian Job||Van Diemen||+10.745|
|12||Pro||David McArthur||Van Diemen||+12.017|
|DNF||Pro||Josh Smith||Van Diemen|
|DNF||Pro||Jack Wolfenden||Van Diemen|
|Fastest lap: Murray, 1:29.979|
|1 Murray 522 2 Eastwell 422 3 Round-Garrido 372 4 Foster 363 5 Cooper 299 6 Thorburn 273 7 R Smith 224 8 Gruber 203 9 Neil Maclennan 195 10 Hugo Bentley-Ellis 156|
|1 Eastwell 200 2 Murray 182 3 Round-Garrido 168 4 Maclennan 147 5 Foster 133 6 Dempsey 127 7 Cooper 126 8 Gruber 101 9 R Smith 101 10 Thorburn 99|
|1 Jay 516 2 Morris 402 3 Daniel O’Beirne 106 4 Felix Fisher 104 5 John Svensson 97 6 John Ferguson 94 7 Sam Street 74 8 George McDonald 62 9 Henry Chart 53|