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Murray is facing a real battle to land prestigious Donnelly Trophy

By Sammy Hamill

Published 29/09/2016

Winning streak: Niall Murray
Winning streak: Niall Murray

Newly-crowned British Formula Ford champion Niall Murray will head the line-up for the season-ending Martin Donnelly Trophy race at Kirkistown on Saturday.

Murray, a former Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year and the winner of the 2013 Formula Ford Festival, sealed the UK series with back-to-back victories in the final two rounds at Croft and heads to Kirkistown for the 500 Club's most prestigious race of the year.

The Donnelly Trophy, presented by former Lotus F1 driver Martin Donnelly in memory of his father, brings down the curtain on a season in which a two-time winner of the race, Alan Davidson, clinched the Northern Ireland FF1600 title.

Davidson, in his Mondiale, is one of several double Donnelly Trophy winners who will line up against Murray - the 2014 NI champion - at the Co. Down circuit. Others include former Irish League footballer Noel Robinson, runner-up to Davidson in the NI series, and Kevin O'Hara, who won for a second time last year and comes to Kirkistown after racing an LMP3 Ligier sportsca in the European Le Mans series at Spa last weekend.

In the 24-strong starting list, too, is 16-year-old Jordan Dempsey, the 2015 Ginetta Junior champion whose successful switch to Formula Ford has seen him replace Jake Byrne as Motorsport Ireland's Young Driver of the Year.

Byrne, the 2015 NI FF1600 champion, withdrew from the MI programme midway through the season, and Dempsey will now take his place in the Bernard Dolan team's Van Diemen for the final three big events of the year, the Donnelly Trophy, the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone.

Sponsored by Ards and North Down Borough Council, the meeting also includes Ford Fiesta Zetecs, GTs, saloons, roadsports and Formula Vee. Practice and qualifying are from 9.30am.

Belfast Telegraph

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