A good entry was received for this Lombank North Central round despite the clashing event at the Nurburgring and the organisers adopted a two heats and a final format.
Pole sitter for the first heat was Tom Pryce, his Royale RP11 sporting revised narrow track suspension front and rear, other front row occupant was the Ensign of Mike Wilds who was going very well despite his inexperience of F3.
Pryce made the best start and led from Mike Walker, Neil Ginn, Damien Magee and Mo Harness, Pierre-François Rousselot was an instant retirement when his engine would not start. Pryce seemed to be pulling away gradually over the first three laps but on lap 4 the back end of the Royale got away from the Welshman who spun down to the rear of the field.
This left Walker a couple of seconds ahead of Wilds until lap 7 when it was Wilds turn to revolve at Clearways. A tense battle between Ginn, Magee and Harness were now vying for second place with Magee getting the nod at the flag although given the same time as Ginn with Harness 0.2 seconds further back.
Tony Brise was quickest of the second heat runners showing there wasn’t much wrong with his BT38 although he was waiting delivery of his new GRD, next up were Championship contenders Rikki von Opel and Andy Sutcliffe. Sixth fastest was the U2 of Ray Mallock which was running a limited-slip differential for the first time and was going very well.
Brise got away cleanly at the start but von Opel missed a gear and fell behind Sutcliffe and Russell Wood at Paddock. It was still Brise at the end of lap 1 hotly pursued by Wood, Sutcliffe, von Opel, Bob Evans, Bev Bond, Mallock and Masami Kuwashima. Positions remained static for the next three laps although everybody was trying hard to make up positions, it was Sutcliffe who was first to make a move, getting ahead of Wood and chasing after Brise. Wood lost a further spot when von Opel got ahead at Druids on lap 4, the March driver only lasting another 3 laps before retiring with a broken throttle linkage. Brise, Sutcliffe and von Opel were now scraping hard for the lead and Sutcliffe put the GRD ahead at Clearways on lap 7 and von Opel briefly got in front of the Brabham on lap 8. Onto the final lap and it was Sutcliffe who took the win 0.4 seconds ahead of von Opel who repassed Brise again on the tenth and last lap, Brise finishing third 0.2 seconds behind the Ensign. Next up were Evans, Kuwashima, Bond and Skeaping who had gone well from the back of the grid after a difficult practice. Ray Mallock had to retire the U2 when its newly rebuilt Holbay blew up on lap 4.
The final was made up of the first ten finishers in each heat which unfortunately meant Pryce and Wilds were out, the second heat was the faster of the two so Sutcliffe and von Opel were on the front row.
Sutcliffe got away first at the start followed by Brise from row two and the two Iberia Ensigns of von Opel and Mike Walker. Next up it was Magee, Evans, Kuwashima, Ginn, Harness, Jeremy Gambs, Bond, Val Musetti, Jorge Pinhol, Mike Tyrrell, Chris Skeaping, Brendan McInerney and Robin Smythe. A couple of drivers were already out following a nasty accident at Druids on the first lap, the GRD of Tim Brise was punted up the rear and Brise made contact with the Martini of John Bisignano. Brise found himself launched in the air, flipping over and landing upside-down on the banking. The GRD driver was very lucky to escape with concussion and bruising as the impact had ripped the roll hoop off the chassis of his car, there was a lot of confusion with several drivers not slowing sufficiently and the track ambulance took a long time to arrive.
Once normal racing resumed Sutcliffe, Brise and von Opel began to edge away from Walker but on laps 5 and 6 it seemed as if Walker was closing the gap again but the Ensign spun on some oil at Clearways and dropped back to ninth. von Opel had moved up to second ahead of Brise on lap 6 and he began to harry Sutcliffe, on lap 10 the Ensign was right behind the GRD and three laps later it was in front as von Opel took the lead at Clearways. Sutcliffe closed up again at Druids as von Opel was momentarily delayed by a backmarker, the two cars were side-by-side through Bottom Bend at at Kidney Sutcliffe went for the lead. Sadly there was not enough room for two cars and as von Opel turned in there was contact and both cars spun, von Opel stalling his engine and retiring whilst Sutcliffe rejoined in third with damaged bodywork and bent suspension.
This left Brise with a clear lead which he held to the flag to win by some eight seconds from the similar car of Damien Magee. Third place was a battle between Evans, Kuwashima and Ginn who had been together from the start, they now found themselves joined by the ailing Sutcliffe and the recovering Walker. Sutcliffe dropped to the back of the group with his ill-handling GRD whilst Walker began to move forward with some good overtaking moves. At the flag Evans got third by dint of keeping Walker back with some heavy weaving down the main straight, Kuwashima coming home just behind in fifth. Sutcliffe just managed to get past Ginn for the final point with Harness in eighth hampered by loose bodywork fouling the steering.