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Last gasp Smith beats Murray in epic Formula Ford Festival finale

Sunday, October 21 2018

Joshua Smith claimed an emphatic Formula Ford Festival victory, after stealing the lead from Niall Murray on the final lap of an eight-lap dash to the line in the Final. 

The final was twice interuppted by on-track accidents, before its final eight-lap running, and it was well worth the wait. Smith took the lead at the start after surging around the outside of Paddock Hill Bend to take the early lead. 

Smith's advantage didn't last though, as Murray slipstreamed him down the Brabham Straight at the start of the next lap to re-take the lead, whilst Oliver White held onto third position behind.

At the half way point of the truncated finale, White appeared to be the man on the move, as he closed on Smith, as the lead three continued to surge away from those behind. 

After remaining in order until the final lap, White was the catalyst for change as he launched an audacious bid for victory by attempting to overtake both of his rivals in one swoop at Druids. This disruption allowed Smith to move on Murray and lead by the time the trio exited Graham Hill Bend for the final time.

Smith was hardly able to relax though, as Murray closed on him through the Clearways section of the lap and attempted to regain the lead on the start-finish straight. It wasn't to be however, the Irishman missing out on a third Festival crown by just 0.087s.

White completed the podium, wilst Matthew Cowley took fourth just ahead of Neil Maclennan.

Result

1, Joshua Smith, Van Diemen, 8 laps
2, Niall Murray, Van Diemen, +0.087s
3, Oliver White, Medina Sport, +0.337s
4, Matthew Cowley, Van Diemen, +3.698s
5, Neil Maclennan, Ray, +3.850s
6, Keith Donegan, Van Diemen, +3.954s
7, Guillaume Archambault, Ray, +4.081s
8, Colin Mullan, Ray, +4.720s
9, Matt Round-Garrido, Medina Sport, +4.841s 
10, David McCullough, Van Diemen, +8.325s