In view of an expected increase in numbers for this round of the Shell Super Oil Championship it was decided to run it as a two heats and a final format although since only 17 cars actually appeared this might have been a touch optimistic. Leading the entry was the solo Ensign for championship leader Bev Bond, hopes of a second car for Steve Thompson were thwarted by lack of time to finish building it. For the first time this year two Pallisers arrived, the orange Derek Lawrence car that had debuted at Cadwell and a new chassis for Peter Lamplough. Leading the Lotus contingent was the works machine for Dave Walker, now completely updated to 69 specification, once again featuring very low profile F1 Firestones on the front. Other 69s were in the hands of Ian Ashley, Andy Sutcliffe and Claude Bourgoignie. March-Holbay 713M runners were Tim Goss and Roger Williamson whilst the usual Brabham contingent of Colin Vandervell, Brendan McInerney and Chris O’Brien were BT35 mounted, BT28s were handled by Alan Joy (Rowland) and newcomers Ronald Rossi and David Purley (both Holbay). Final runners were Bob Evans in the Puma now fitted with a BRM engine and Chris Skeaping in his ex 1-litre Chevron B17, out for its maiden run as a 1600cc equipped with Rowland power.
Heat 1 pole went to Dave Walker with a time 0.8 secs under James Hunt’s lap record, Roger Williamson and Bev Bond were beside him on the front row. Next up were Colin Vandervell in the chassis repaired after the Brands Hatch fire and Ian Ashley. The third row was headed by Derek Lawrence showing promise with the Palliser and Andy Sutcliffe. Peter Lamplough, Tim Goss, Alan Joy and Chris O’Brien were the final runners. Heat 2 was headed by Bob Evans although some doubted his time, Rossi going well in his Brabham was second fastest, whilst Bourgoignie completed the front row, Skeaping and McInerney were next followed by Purley who had a fraught practice plagued by a faulty fuel metering unit.
Bond and Williamson took the lead of the first heat with Walker slow away but by the end of the first lap the Lotus was ahead of Williamson and challenging Bond. On lap 3 Walker took the lead with Bond apparently happy to sit on his tail, Williamson passed the Ensign briefly but Bond soon reasserted himself and two laps from the end he took Walker to win the heat from Walker and Williamson. Lawrence held a promising fourth for a while but a difficult 2nd to 3rd gear changed eventually hampered him and he dropped back to sixth.
Bob Evans led away in the second heat until overheating and a faulty injection pump dropped him to fourth. Bourgoignie and Rossi now fought for the lead with Rossi coming out on top until he spun at the hairpin, Bourgoignie took the win although Skeaping’s Chevron was closing very quickly at the finish. David Purley crawled around for a couple of laps until he had to retire with a broken clutch.
All 17 cars made it out for the 40 lap final and Walker once again made a tardy start allowing Bond and Williamson to lead away, further down the order Rossi managed to knock his nosecone off and Evan’s had to retire the Puma with terminal overheating. On lap 3 Walker passed Williamson and set off after Bond whom he overtook on lap 5 at the Esses but the Lotus could not escape the Ensign and for the rest of the race Bond hounded Walker every inch of the way, briefly getting ahead on lap 13. Williamson managed to stay with these two until a moment at the hairpin on lap 24 dropped him away from the lead battle. The front two were racing together without problems until the last lap, Bond slipstreamed past Walker along the Stebbe Straight and lead through the Esses to the hairpin, as they arrived the Lotus made contact with the rear wheel of the Ensign damaging the casting and causing the tyre to deflate, Bond kept the stricken Ensign alongside the Lotus into Devils Elbow where the two cars made contact again both flying off the track and hitting the Armco. Bond was able to drive his badly damaged car across the finish line before Williamson arrived but Walker”s Lotus was left immobile in the middle of the track. Things were no better further down the order, Vandervell and Ashley were involved in a heated battle for fourth place during which Vandervell’s Brabham had a number of grassy excursions which Vandervell felt were due to Ashley’s less than fair tactics. After the race Vandervell protested Ashley’s driving and as a result the Lotus driver was excluded from his third place due to reckless driving. Rossi headed Sutcliife home in fourth place after another close, if fairer, struggle followed by Skeaping who was suffering from fluctuating oil pressure and Bourgoignie’s Lotus. Lamplough had a lucky escape when his Palliser unexpectedly veered off the road at the Esses, the car mounted the banking but luckily Lamplough was unhurt.