This was a non-championship race but sponsors Petonyer had provided a generous prize fund including £300 to the winner so most of the regular British F3 runners arrived for the two heats and a final programme.
Heading qualifying in heat one was Colin Vandervell’s Brabham-Vegantune BT35 whose Thruxton problems had been trace to a broken spring in the distributor, second and third fastest sharing the same time were Andy Sutcliffe’s Lotus 69 and James Hunt in the works March 713M. Roger Williamson was next up despite breaking a cylinder head in practice and equalling him was Steve Thompson’s
Contac Ensign LN1. The third row was led by Chris Skeaping (Chevron B17) ahead of the Brabham BT28s of Peter Hull and David Purley.
The fourth row belonged to an understeering Richard Longman (Lotus 69) and Jody Scheckter in his hastily rebuilt EMC (after its Thruxton accident), Scheckter contriving to hit the sleepers at Ramp but only damaging his oil cooler. Also making contact with the sleepers, this time at North Tower was Alan Jones and his Brabham BT28 but the damage was repairable for the race. Finally came Randy Lewis (Brabham BT35) and Lee Kaye (March 703).
Nine cars appeared for the second heat and the competitors had to put up with rain showers half way through the session curtailing their track time. Fastest, unsurprisingly, was the Lotus 69 of Dave Walker from Brendan McInerney (March 713M) and Chris O’Brien (Brabham BT35). The second row consisted of Jose Ferreira, his Brabham now sporting a new Novamotor, and Alan McCully. Cavan Riley (March 713M) sat on the third row alongside Rikki von Opel whose Lotus 69 suffered a broken battery and Brian McGuire who twice suffered a broken throttle cable. McGuire decided to withdraw from the race to allow his car to be cannibalised to repair Jones accident damage. Slowest was Sandy Shepard was was using his BT28 for the first time since a Snetterton testing shunt and with no miles on the car found it suffering from fuel feed problems.
Roger Williamson’s March heads the similar car of Hunt and the Ensign of Steve Thompson during the first heat.
Rain began to fall as the cars came out for the first heat and everybody rushed for wet tyres, more panic set in as the rain stopped and the track began to dry. All this indecision caused the cars to end up on a variety of choices, Vandervell (who changed his tyres after the warm-up lap and was therefore relegated to the back row) chose wets as did Williamson and Scheckter, Hunt and Thompson opted for intermediates whilst Sutcliffe and Purley went for the dry route. Hunt took the lead from the start followed by Thompson and Williamson, these three began to pull away from Sutcliffe, Purley, Scheckter and Vandervell. Purley promptly lost it at North Tower damaging the suspension on his Brabham and delaying Vandervell in the process. Williamson got ahead of Thompson as Hunt tried to pull out a lead at the front, Scheckter got ahead of Sutcliffe for a few laps but then the Lotus driver reasserted himself and pulled away from the EMC which then lost another place to the recovering Vandervell.
On lap 6 Williamson got ahead of Hunt with Thompson very close at hand in third but on lap 9 Hunt regained the lead he would hold to the end which was impressive as it was discovered after the race that Hunt’s March was stuck in third gear for the latter stages of the race after the gear lever came out due to a broken bolt. Williamson just managed to hold Thompson off for second who in turn headed Sutcliffe, Vandervell and Scheckter. The only other retirement besides Purley was Peter Hull who lost a wheel from his Brabham at North Tower.
It was dry for heat two but that didn’t stop the start being a little tricky, it appeared that Walker got away slowly and McInerney missed a gear, Ferreira accelerating hard from the second row found himself boxed in and his Brabham was launched over the GLTL car. Walker slowed sideways into the unfortunate von Opel and all three cars were forced out on the spot. O’Brien found himself in the lead from McInerney with McCully closing up rapidly in third. McCully got past McInerney on lap 3 and O’Brien on lap 5. O’Brien tried to retake the lead on lap 8 only to go off into the North Tower sleepers, he was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure with suspected concussion. McCully held the lead easily to the finish from McInerney, Shepard and Riley who had a quick spin at North Tower.
Once again just before the start the rain reappeared but it turned out to be a very short, sharp shower, unfortunately a few drivers mistakenly decided to fit wets notably Vandervell and Scheckter. Also at the last minute the Lotus mechanics tried to get Walker’s hastily repaired 69 onto the grid but since the maximum number of starters were present and no one seemed inclined to give up their place the car was returned to the paddock.
Hunt, wearing intermediates, jumped into the lead at the start from Williamson, McCully, Thompson, Sutcliffe, McInerney, Vandervell and Scheckter. Lap 2 saw significant action when firstly McCully had a moment at North Tower and Thompson in trying to avoid him left the track and hit the unyielding sleepers then, at New Link, Hunt made a major error, spun sideways, and was instantly collected by Sutcliffe who cannoned off into McCully. All three cars were instant retirements leaving Williamson in a comfortable first place from Vandervell, McInerney, Scheckter and Jones. Williams continued to increase his lead for the rest of the race but there was a good battle going on for second between Vandervell, Jones, McInerney and Skeaping. Vandervell was soon in tyre trouble with his wets and had to yield to Jones but going best of all was Skeaping who passed all of the group to finish second and set fastest lap. Jones held third to finish ahead of Vandervell and a fast finishing McInerney. Scheckter who had been up with the leaders fell back to an eventual eighth hampered both with his wet tyres and a not very good engine. Purley in tenth was another driver to make the mistake of fitting wets and duly came home in last place..