It was a two heats and a final scenario for this Forward Trust round but the ravages of the British GP support race two days earlier meant that most of the runners would automatically make the final as long as they didn’t wreck their cars in the heats.
Pole position sitter for the first heat was the familiar sight of Roger Williamson and his GRD 372, sharing the front row with Williamson were Rikki von Opel’s works Iberia Ensign and the March 723 of Stan Matthews. Next up was the new GRD of Mo Harness, the Lotus 69 of Roger Keele and the works JPS Lotus 73 of Bernard Vermilio.
It was Mike Walker in the second Iberia Ensign fastest in heat two with Barrie Maskell’s Lotus 69 and Tony Trimmer’s Lotus 73 alongside him at the front. Fourth fastest was the Brabham BT38 of Peter Hull with newcomer Ronnie MacKay in the MRE Brabham BT35 hire car in fifth.
Heat one was a Williamson walkover, he led from the start and at the end of the 8 laps his GRD was 18 seconds ahead of second place man Rikki von Opel. Bob Evans moved his March up to third, which he held to the flag despite the close attentions of Roger Keele’s Lotus 69, Vermilio ran in fifth until a spin at the Gooseneck lost him two places to John Bisignano and Stan Matthews. Harness had his GRD in seventh until his engine, which had been running badly from the start, blew up on the sixth lap. Mike Wild’s new Ensign was next despite having to do the last two laps with the car stuck in third gear due to a missing bolt in the gear linkage. Ross Ambrose’s Lotus 69 finished ninth which although qualifying for the final would be a nonstarter due to falling oil pressure as would the twelfth placed GRD of Japanese driver Keiichi Tahara which also had engine problems.
Mike Walker dominated heat two just as easily as Williamson had heat one and he won by a similar margin of 18 seconds, initially Tony Trimmer kept with the Ensign but a spin at Barn dropped him to fourth behind a battling Maskell and Hull. After swopping places continually at the finish it was Hull in second by a car’s length from the Lotus, Trimmer held onto fourth ahead of MacKay who went very well in his first F3 race. Next up were Gambs and Spitzley who had another good dice which had also included Dick Mallock until the U2 spun at Coppice near the end. Paul Butler would have made the final in his Brabham BT28 but he emulated Mallock with a spin at Coppice on lap 7 due to an oil leak that caused his retirement.
Roger Williamson made a demon getaway at the start of the 10 lap final so demon in fact that the judges thought long and hard about whether it was a little too good but after some thought they decreed it was legal. Not surprisingly Mike Walker was a little slower away and that break was all Williamson needed to lead the race for all 10 laps, the GRD driver pulled out a two second lead and despite Walker’s best efforts he couldn’t get any closer. Rikki von Opel held third for the entire race although towards the end he came under pressure from Peter Hull and Tony Trimmer. Hull’s race wasn’t improved by a spin at the hairpin on the second lap but because the track is so narrow no one else was able to pass him and he held his place. Vermilio finished well adrift in seventh whilst Bisignano took eighth from Keele on lap 7 and although the Lotus driver tried his best the American held on to the position to the flag. Barrie Maskell finished a fed-up fifteenth after needing a push start on the grid and setting off well behind everyone else.