Another two heats and a final format for this the annual Croft International meeting with each heat getting a generous 2 hours of practice over Friday and Saturday morning. Taking his accustomed pole position for the first heat was Dave Walker in the works GLTL 69, second was Ulf Svensson’s Brabham BT35. Setting the same time as Svensson were James Hunt in the works backed March 713M and Barrie Maskell in the works Chevron who was much happier with the handling of the B18 after experimenting with rollbar settings. Next was Sandy Shepard ahead of Conny Andersson and Jody Scheckter who was suffering from a down on powered engine caused by a broken piston ring. Torsten Palm should have followed Scheckter but his Novamotor snapped its crank and with no spare he had to withdraw. Monaco sensation Giancarlo Naddeo bought his Tecno
Walker completely dominated heat one, leading from start to finish, Svensson and Hunt gave vain chase whilst Maskell muffed his second to third change at the start and dropped back. Hunt moved up to second for a few laps but dropped back again first behind Svensson and then the recovering Maskell. At the race end it was discovered the March had a loose bolt on the bottom rear wishbone which has caused Hunt to have erratic handling. Scheckter was initially fourth but fell back to finish eighth, Naddeo was in similar difficulties starting fifth but finishing ninth. Only retirement was Lamplough who only managed one lap before his fuel pressure vanished.
Sutcliffe took the lead in the second heat but unlike Walker he couldn’t get away and on the third lap Williamson moved into the lead from Sutcliife, von Opel, Ferreira and Rollinson. Williamson and Sutcliffe continued to swop the lead between themselves whilst Rollinson was closing in on Ferreira who had received a one minute penalty for a jumped start, the Ensign driver taking fourth on the last lap. McInerney took sixth which became fifth after Ferreira’s penalty, next came Pettersson, Guitteny, Kottulinsky and O’Brien.The grid for the final was based on finishing times in the heats so the first four runners came from the faster first heat and so it was that once again Walker took the lead from pole and by driving the Lotus at the very limit pulled out a narrow lead on his pursuers. Hunt was in second place from Svensson, Maskell, Sutcliffe and Williamson with a gap back to Rollinson and von Opel. An early retirement was Brendan McInerney who had to pit his March 713 with its throttle jammed open. By lap 8 Rollinson had broken away from von Opel and was closing in on the group ahead which was now minus Sutcliffe who was in trouble when fourth gear stripped and he spun at Sunny trying to find third Sutcliife managed to get going again but he was now in 16th place, he deserved better after a good drive. Rollinson moved up to fifth after passing Svensson while Maskell and Hunt were having a great battle over second with the position changing on almost every lap. Williamson was starting to have brake problems and he fell back to 14th place when a spin at Tower was caused by his rear brakes locking. Svensson now moved forward and took second from lap 22 to 26 but then Hunt and Maskell reasserted themselves, Hunt firmly shutting the door on Maskell on the last lap to take second behind Walker who coasted home to win by over 14 seconds. Rollinson took fourth ruing the fact that he had been held up twice by the spinning Sutcliffe and Williamson, his fastest lap was 0.6 quicker than Walker which led to thoughts of what might have been. von Opel was unlucky to loose sixth when his fuel pump drive failed on the penultimate lap allowing Shepard through to take the place. Next up were Ferreira, Andersson, Guitteny, Pettersson and the recovering Sutcliffe. Retirements were recorded by Kottulinsky who blew a head gasket, Naddeo with low oil pressure, Yeates with a loose rear wheel and Lawrence who crashed the Palliser on the last lap at Oxo when the throttle stuck open.