Seb Morris took the win in a rain affected Round Eight of the 2011 Ginetta Junior Championship, his seventh win of the season, but it was Niall Murray who stole the show with a fantastic drive to second place.
Morris started from pole but came under pressure after a good start from Tom Howard, but nudged him onto the grass and held his lead. On part-worn wet weather tyres, the Hillspeed was able to find the early grip and start building a lead, 3.7 seconds clear by the end of the opening lap.
Howard's trip on the grass allowed George Gamble into second, with Howard slotting into third ahead of Tollbar Racing team-mate William Foster, Max Coates and Mikey Day. Losing out on the opening laps were HHC Motorsport's Charlie Robertson and FML's Jake Giddings, with the pair going off at Cascades. Robertson was able to continue, but Gidding's race ended in the gravel.
More drama on lap two saw contact at Lodge corner when Patrick McClughan made a move on Murray. The reigning Ginetta Junior Ireland champion re-joined and began his recovery drive, aided by his Beacon Racing team's decision to put him on dry-weather tyres, while McClughan pitted to remove a damaged bonnet before returning.
Both Robertson and Murray began to slice their way through the order, up to tenth and twelfth respectively by the end of lap four, while producing great entertainment ahead were quartet Foster, Coates, Day and Howard, switching places lap by lap as the race reached mid distance.
While Morris continued to pull clear, lap six saw the start of Murray's charge up the order. Contact between HHC team-mates Robertson and Day at Old Hall lost them momentum, allowing Murray to slide past both at Lodge at the beginning of the lap. He then worked his way past Declan Jones and Coates at the hairpin, before passing Howard at Knickerbrook to make it five places gained in one lap.
He made it past Foster for third at the last corner on lap seven, before passing Gamble at the hairpin on the last lap to take second place. By this time Morris was well into the distance and won by 23 seconds, a margin unheard of in Ginetta Juniors, with Murray taking his richly deserved second podium of the season after starting fourteenth.
TJ Motorsport's Gamble held third, unable to match the front two's pace on new wet tyres, with Robertson working his way into fourth on the final lap, ahead of Foster, Howard and Coates. Sennan Fielding took eighth, with Jones and Day rounding out the top ten.
Morris said: “We worked hard before the race to decide which tyre to go on but, had we been able to see the whole track, we'd have gone with slicks. Instead, we went with low-intermediates rather than full wets but that still worked out well. It's been a really fantastic weekend again.”
Murray commented: “On the grid I knew I had a good advantage with the tyres but I never thought I'd be on the podium, I thought maybe top five at best. When I got a tap at Lodge and I was backwards on the grass I never thought we'd be able to do anything. My brother Eoin made the call with the tyres, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be here on the podium – I can't thank him enough.”