Niall Murray has made Formula Ford history as the first Kent-powered racer to win both the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy in the same year.
The double success completes a remarkable campaign for the Irishman, who also won the BRSCC British National Formula Ford 1600 champion and the Martin Donnelly Trophy at Kirkistown.
One week on from his second victory in the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, Murray headed to Silverstone determined for more success in his Bernard Dolan Racing Van Diemen RF99.
The former Ginetta Junior racer kicked off the meeting in style by topping the timesheets in qualifying by over three tenths of a second, putting him on pole position for heat three.
Murray initially pulled clear of the field at the beginning of the heat, but a broken gear linkage would restrict him to only second and fourth gears for the second half of the encounter.
Dropping to second behind Wayne Boyd, Murray adjusted to the problem well and would eventually miss out on the win by just nine hundredths of a second, setting the race’s fastest lap en-route.
Qualifying on row two for the opening semi-final, a superb move around the outside through Copse into Becketts for the first time would see him pass both Boyd and Jordan Dempsey for the lead.
Murray would go on to lead the remainder of the race, and with his semi-final being faster than the other, that gave the Murray Motorsport-backed racer top spot for the grand final.
Adapting superbly to a change of weather conditions that saw the field greeted by a soaked Silverstone circuit, a dominant display from Murray saw him take the win by over eight seconds.
The victory means Murray becomes only the second driver ever to win both the Festival and Walter Hayes in the same season, replicating the feat of Joey Foster in 2003.
“It still hasn’t sunk in! BRSCC British National Formula Ford 1600 Champion, Martin Donnelly Trophy, Brands Hatch Formula Ford Festival and now the Walter Hayes Trophy!” said Murray.
“An amazing year and to become the first Kent-powered driver to ever win the Festival and Walter Hayes in the one year is just brilliant.
“I cannot thank Bernard & Sam Dolan and David Healy enough for doing such a great job all year and the sooner people realise Bernard is a genius with Formula Ford 1600 the better!
“Thanks to all my sponsors and everyone involved all year, without which all of this wouldn’t have been possible!”