As the season began to develop the number of starters was beginning to increase and for this Shell Sport Oil round 22 cars came to do battle on the Brands Hatch Club circuit. The race format was two 10 lap heats with the top 10 from each heat moving on to the 40 lap final.
Pole position for the first heat fell to Claude Bourgoignie ahead of Colin Vandervell, Dave Walker and James Hunt. Interesting newcomers were Steve Thompson in his new Ensign, German driver Harald Ertl who was giving the British debut to the Alfa Romeo engine in his Lotus 69 and Richard Longman’s new Lotus-Novamotor 69. Poor James Hunt found himself being wheeled off the grid as the 2 minute signal was shown, his car was leaking oil due to a broken pipe.
Vandervell and Walker made the best starts and the Brabham led as far as Bottom Bend when Walker eased the Lotus past into a lead he would hold to the finish. Vandervell maintained second place despite a rear end instability that left the Brabham driver feeling far from happy. Bourgoignie, Ertl and Lawrence (Palliser-BRM) had an early battle for third until Bourgoignie pulled away and Thompson joined in with the other two. Ertl lost his nosecone but held onto fourth at the flag helped by Lawrence spinning and hampering Thompson.
Roger Williamson took pole for the second heat with another newcomer, Freddy Kottulinsky in his Lotus 69 with its sohc BMW unit. Jose Ferreira’s updated Brabham BT28 completed the front row ahead of another débutante Sandy Shepard also in an updated BT28. Further back than normal were Bev Bond’s Ensign that was throwing out oil and Bob Evans in his Puma who suffered an oil pump failure. James Hunt was allowed to join this heat after repairs to his 713S in order that he could qualify for the final.
Williamson made the best start and at the end of lap 1 it was the March 713M ahead of Shepard and Sutcliffe (Lotus 69) with Bond and Kottulinsky right behind, Hunt must have wondered if his day could get worse after a flat battery meant a push start and a one minute penalty. Gradually Williamson eked out a small lead while Kottulinsky and Bond moved up to battle for second as Shepard and Sutcliffe fought over fourth. Bond and Kottulinsky caught right up with Williamson by lap 8 but the March driver held on for a narrow 0.1 second victory. Hunt was fourth on the road but his penalty dropped him back to tenth allowing Shepard to take the place after an promising F3 debut. Alan Joy would have qualified for the final but he spun his Brabham BT28 at Bottom Bend and a push start and a 1 minute penalty ruined his chances.
Williamson again got a good start with Walker, Vandervell, Bond and Kottulinsky close behind, Walker quickly pushed the Lotus past the March and was in the lead at the end of the first lap with a small gap back to Vandervell, Bond, Kottulinsky, Bourgoignie, Sutcliffe and the rest. As Walker pulled out a lead at the front Bond began to make a move taking third on the second lap and second on the fifth. Kottulinsky also passed Vandervell and began a huge battle with Williamson and Bond whilst Hunt was also making good progress up to sixth although a long way behind Vandervell. At the back of the field Bob Evans was in trouble with a failing clutch and an engine that was fast loosing all its oil.
The order remained static until lap 12 when Lawrence crashed the Palliser at Paddock, then on lap 15 Kottulinsky passed Williamson. Purley was going well and dicing with Rossi, Thompson, Ertl and Ferreira until Purley put a wheel of his Brabham in the dirt causing Ferreira to spin, unfortunately taking his team mate Rossi with him. Williamson began to slow as his handling deteriorated due, it was subsequently discovered, to loose lower rear wishbone mountings. Hunt had caught up with Vandervell and got past him although the Brabham held onto the March and the pair of them got ahead of the luckless Williamson, Vandervell got past Hunt again on a couple of occasions but in the end Hunt held the place at the flag. At the front the long battle between Bond and Kottulinsky resolved itself in the Lotus driver’s favour and Kottulinsky took second at the flag behind Walker and his victorious Lotus. David Purley’s good drive came to naught when the battery went flat towards the end of the race and he dropped back to last place.
This was not the end of the story as after the race the scrutineers checked the BMW engine in Kottulinsky’s car and on finding a leak the unfortunate Freddy was disqualified.