Murray Wins 2016 Formula Ford Festival After Lights to Flag Domination


Credit: Jack Mitchell / JAM Motorsport Photography

It was a spectacular lights to flag victory from the now Double-Champion Niall Murray. The Irish driver had been on-form all weekend and added another Formula Ford Festival victory to his tally.

Murray was starting second as he was part of the slower Semi-Final, yet skillfully made his way past key rival Scott Malvern to break away. He eventually won by almost four seconds in a race that, for once, wasn’t interrupted by a safety car.

As the lights went out, it had been a clean start from most of the grid, but sadly it wasn’t to be for Malvern. After an astute defence in the opening lap, couldn’t hold on as Murray ran wheel to wheel around the outside of turn one.

The two were inches from touching, but both used their experience to hold on in the cold track as they ran up to Druids. Murray outbraked his competitor, securing his lead on the run down to Graham Hill.

As predicted, there was action further back as the fast starting Luke Williams was quickly up the order. Oliver Askew had gained a place off the start and was running third until Chris Middlehurst made the most of the mistakes ahead to snatch the final podium place.

Askew and Middlehurst would trade podium places until an unexpected failure knocked the Team USA Scholarship driver out of contention. He would pull into the pits to retire one lap later.

Credit: Jack Mitchell / JAM Motorsport Photography
Kyle Kirkwood (left) was the top rookie finisher in seventh while Job van Uitert (right) (also a rookie) was the top Pre ’90 Class driver (Credit: Jack Mitchell / JAM Motorsport Photography)

With Malvern dropping off in the latter stages, it became a tight battle for the podium as Stuart Gough and Williams caught the train. Gough would go on to claim the fastest lap, leaving Williams to battle the recovering Chase Owen.

His success would be short-lived though as Gough was forced to relinquish fourth to Williams with a few laps to go. All of this allowed Middlehurst to battle Malvern though failed to make his way past the 2011 Festival winner.

As the flag dropped, it was Murray who took an unchallenged win by 3.706 seconds, from Malvern and Middlehurst. Williams had caught the podium finishers in the dying moments but would settle for fourth from Gough and Owen.

A few seconds back, a race long battle for the rest of the top ten was eventually won by Kyle Kirkwood. He would finish seventh, ensuring he became the highest place rookie and only Team USA representative at the line. The top eight was eventually rounded out by Oliver White who had a lonely second half.

Jordan Dempsey would also hold off Pedro Matos in the battle for ninth, while Patrik Pasma could only salvage eleventh having fallen from third. Elsewhere, Job van Uitert drove another strong event to become the highest place Pre ’90 Class driver in twelfth.