Less than half of the original entry of 29 cars made it to Thruxton for this Forward Trust round, amongst the more notable absentees were Dave Walker, who had already clinched the series, Roger Williamson, whose March wasn’t ready, Barrie Maskell, Andy Sutcliffe, Bev Bond and Brian McGuire.
Tyre choice was a problem for practice with a wet track that was drying out quickly, ultimately those who opted for slicks or intermediates came out best. Fastest was James Hunt who was in the car usually driven by Brendan McInerney as his own still wasn’t ready after its various escapades, Hunt was having trouble with changing gear as his shoulder was still sore after his Snetterton accident, he was on intermediates. Next came the slick shod Palliser of Peter Lamplough and David Purley’s Ensign
who was having problems with his top gear. The second row consisted of two drivers on intermediates, Rikki von Opel (Lotus 69) and Steve Thompson in his Ensign using a Novamotor borrowed from Conny Andersson, Thompson had an inoperative third gear. Slicks were the order of the day for third row runners Ray Mallock (U2) and Tim Goss (March 713) whilst final occupant Chris O’Brien (Brabham BT35) used intermediates. Wet shod Mike Walker was disappointed to be so far down in the works Ensign, he shared row four with David Purley who found his Brabham handling very well on Firestones slicks (instead of his normal Dunlops) following some advice from Ron Tauranac, unfortunately he only managed four laps in practice as a cracked wrist, another Snetterton injury, was hampering his gear changing. Chris Skeaping also found wets the wrong choice for his Chevron B17, Matt Spitzley’s March 713M should have been next but engine problems forced Spitzley to withdraw from the race. Jorge Pinhol (Brabham BT28) and John Finch (Chevron B17) completed the field.
There were a few starters that might have anticipated the flag but he whole field got away without incident, it was Hunt in the lead at the end of the first lap from Purley, Lamplough and Thompson, there was a slight gap back to O’Brien with another space back to Jones (with a one minute penalty for his over enthusiastic getaway), Mallock, Walker, von Opel, Skeaping, Goss, Pinhol and Finch. Lap 3 saw Purley in the lead as Thompson had to retire his Ensign at Church with low oil pressure. Walker and Jones were third and fourth and catching up on the two leaders, Purley and Hunt, who were swopping the lead on most laps. By lap 8 Walker had not only closed the gap but he also took the lead ahead of the other three front runners, further back von Opel and Mallock were having a good battle but out were the Chevrons of Finch with a slipping clutch and Skeaping with some serious vibrations, a missing gear lever and fuel starvation!
Once out in front Walker did most of the leading with the others content to sit back and watch, Hunt was mostly in second place with Purley and Jones close behind. Further retirements were Lamplough who braked too late at Club and ended up in a ditch with minor damage and O’Brien who spun off at Cobb. Walker held his lead to the finish as Hunt’s challenge was thwarted by bad handling caused by a nearly flat tyre, Jones had moved up to second on lap 13 but gearbox problems dropped him to fourth behind Purley at the finish. His one minute penalty dropped him to last place, Mallock had passed von Opel on lap 11 but the Lotus driver got back ahead on the last lap.