It was two heats and a final for this round of the Forward Trust F3 Championship and all the usual UK based runners arrived at Thruxton to do battle.
It was Peter Hull’s Brabham that led away at the start of heat one and Hull was already two seconds to the good over Neil Ginn’s GRD at the end of the first lap, pole man Mike Walker made a slow start but he passed Ginn on lap two and was sitting on Hull’s tail at the end of the following lap. For the remaining seven laps Hull and Walker were swopping the lead every lap at the chicane, starting the last lap it was Walker in the lead with Hull closely slipstreaming the Ensign, entering Cobb Hull was trying too hard and the Brabham had a quick spin without the New Zealander loosing a place. This left Walker to motor home and secure the win with a chastened Hull coming home just behind.
There were six cars disputing third place, initially it was Ginn in front but he was demoted by Mike Wilds and Masami Kuwashima on laps 3 and 4, next up were Tony Trimmer, Bob Evans and Brendan McInerney. Evans demoted Trimmer a place on lap 5 and Ginn retook a position from Kuwashima on the last lap at the chicane to finish fourth behind Wilds. Kuwashima took an untroubled fifth as Evans, Trimmer and McInerney fell away a little at the end.
Sadly Alan Jones was a nonstarter in the second heat when something on his GRD broke on the warm-up lap stranding him in the ditch at Club. Once again it was Roger Williamson who went straight into the lead from pole position and he then proceeded to pull away at a second a lap from second placed Pierre-François Rousselot for the first 5 laps. Rikki von Opel moved his Ensign up to second by outbraking Rousselot into the chicane on lap 6 but Williamson was already out of reach and von Opel settled for second. Russell Wood had been third for a couple of laps but was demoted first by von Opel on the third lap and then the GRD of Tony Brise on lap 6. Mike Tyrrell came home fifth with Stan Matthews sixth however the March driver’s clutch had failed and he had been given a push start, the resulting 10 second penalty dropped him to eleventh.
The opening lap of the final was chaotic to say the least, Peter Hull made a very slow start from the second row and was hit by Ray Mallock’s U2, the U2 was launched into the air and on landing took Val Musetti’s Royale RP 11 and Chris O’Brien’s Brabham BT38 as well as Hull into the ditch before Allard. Entering Campbell Neil Ginn struck the March of Bob Evans and in the ensuing moment both Ginn and Masami Kuwashima were out. Peter Lamplough made it to Seagrave before his Merlyn retired and Tony Trimmer, Stan Matthews and Richard Knight (Martini) retired in the pits at the end of the lap with varying degrees of frontal damage. In addition Bob Evans was out on lap 3 with a puncture and Mike Wilds hadn’t even started when his Ensign holed a piston on the warm-up lap so at the end of lap 3 of the 25 starters 14 were still running!
Meanwhile back at the race it was all Williamson as he kept Mike Walker a second or two behind for the entire 15 laps. Tony Brise was third until he was caught by von Opel and Rousselot on lap 6, von Opel passed Brise on lap 8 but Brise sat right behind him and regained the position on lap 14. Coming into the chicane on the final lap Brise and von Opel both got tangled up with the slow Royale RP 11 of Martyn Howes, as they crossed the finish they were both given the same time although Brise was given the third spot. Rousselot was fifth 0.2 seconds further back and the final point went to Russell Wood.