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Murray makes most of O'Hara's bad break to clinch NI crown



At the double: Niall Murray

At the double: Niall Murray

At the double: Niall Murray

Motor racing can be unpredictable at the best of times, but sometimes it comes close to being surreal - like Niall Murray flying back from America to defend his lead in the Northern Ireland Formula Ford Championship only to find his closest title rival had suffered a broken elbow.

And like Jonny Kane being ruled out of the Blancpain European GT3 sprint race in Hungary after his driving partner went down with appendicitis.

Murray had been testing a USF2000 car at Watkin's Glen and flew back overnight, arriving just in time for qualifying at Kirkistown on Saturday, and although Kevin O'Hara, second in the WAM/Dawson FF1600 standings, was there he was in no state to race having come off his mountain bike.

He could only watch as British champion Murray won both races to clinch the NI series.

However, Murray did have to fight for victory in race one after his Van Diemen took a trip across the grass, which dropped him to 12th on the first lap. But he clawed his way back through the field to snatch victory by less than half a second from Alan Davidson and Jordan Dempsey.

Race two went according to plan as Murray led all the way to win by six seconds with Davidson second again and David McCullough third.

Jonny Kane, meanwhile, has endured an horrendous first season in European GT3 racing with the Strakka McLaren team, with accidents or retirements marring virtually every race.

But at the Hungaroring it took an even stranger twist when Come Ledogar, the Frenchman he was due to share a McLaren 650S with, was rushed to hospital with appendicitis.

Fellow Ulstermen Andrew Watson and Stephen Kane fared little better.

Watson and Bob Bell finished back in 17th place in another McLaren, and the Bentley Continental Stephen Kane was sharing with Vincent Abril retired after just six laps.

Belfast Telegraph