Race Report: Brands Hatch, 25 June 1972
There was a good field for this round of the Lombard North Central Championship and taking pole position in his first race since he broke his leg at Monaco was Tom Pryce. The talented young Welshman was still limping from his injury but was going well, equalling the lap record in his brand new Royale RP11.
It was the RP11 of Pryce that leapt into the lead at the start with the similar car of Val Musetti an astonishing second after an excellent start from row two, by the end of the first lap it was Pryce ahead of Andy Sutcliffe’s GRD and Rikki von Opel’s Ensign, Musetti having fallen away to sixth. Over the next eight laps Pryce extended his lead leaving Sutcliffe and von Opel to fight over second, fourth was Tony Brise who had started well down the grid and was catching the two in front of him. Suddenly Pryce’s lead began to dwindle as the Royale began to misfire with suspected fuel starvation and by lap 10 Sutcliffe had caught Pryce and on the following lap the GRD driver took the lead. Pryce managed to keep von Opel at bay for the next few laps although the Ensign driver was getting worried by the sight of Tony Brise looming ever larger behind him. Pryce started to lap some backmarkers on lap 17 and in the confusion von Opel was able to find a way past and a lap late Brise joined him.
Out in front Sutcliffe kept a cool head and took the flag 2 seconds ahead of von Opel who managed to hold off Brise to the tune of 0.2 seconds for second and third respectively. Pryce managed to hold onto fourth ahead of a tight battle between Russell Wood, whose March was running the new-style bodywork, Peter Hull (Brabham BT38) and the second gear-less Chevron B20 of Chris Skeaping, they finished in that order 0.8 second apart.
Major retirements were the GRDs of Masami Kuwashima and Neil Ginn who collided at Druids on lap 3, Ian Ashley (Royale RP11) with a broken fuel pump and Brian McGuire’s Brabham BT38 with no oil pressure.