This was the opening round of the Lombard North Central Formula Three Championship and pole position went to championship favourite Tony Brise who was still running his 1972 GRD, Brise wasn’t happy with the car’s handling and felt his 0:49.2 lap time was on the optimistic side. Second quickest was the Chequered Flag March 733 of Russell Woods who set the same time as Brise with Mike Wilds third fastest in his oversteering Dempster Developments Ensign. A surprise fourth quickest and showing you didn’t need the latest machinery was Damien Magee in his old Palliser, sharing the same time as Magee was the overheating Baty March of Ian Taylor.
As the flag dropped it was the two men from the second row who made the best starts with both Mike Wilds and Damien Magee getting the best of the front row starters and leading into Paddock.
At the end of the first lap the two cars of Magee and Wilds were side by side across the line and as they entered Paddock Magee went around the outside of Wilds and the two cars made contact. Wilds went sideways as Magee took the lead and lost several places dropping down to fifth with the nose on his March now askew. Taylor was now second with Wood and Brise third and fourth, all three were charging and on lap 3 they had caught up with Magee. There was now a furious four way battle for the lead with all the drivers showing their F Ford roots with plenty of wild manoeuvres and wheel banging. Lap 4 saw Wood pass Taylor at Kidney and on the next lap he repeated the move on Magee putting the Chequered Flag March into the lead.
It took Taylor a further three laps to demote Magee to third, diving inside the Irishman at Druids but Magee wasn’t giving up and repeatedly pushed the Palliser back alongside the March under braking. On lap 14 they came across some backmarkers and in the confusion Magee regained his second place and although Taylor tried hard to move up again more backmarkers balked him and he had to settle for third at the finish less than a second behind Magee.
Back at the front Wood had gradually pulled away from the battling duo behind him and he took the win by 4.2 seconds from Magee and Taylor. Brise had never been far behind the two men ahead but he still wasn’t happy with his GRD and settled for fourth ahead of Wilds and Jones who had both had a long duel with Japan’s Masami Kuwashima. Val Musetti took a good eighth after starting from the back row of the grid, ninth was Brian Henton who suffered several spins, he had been dicing with Mo Harness in his Ensign but Mo had to retire with a broken wishbone. Tony Trimmer was out in a borrowed Brabham BT41 but a blown head gasket in practice meant a poor grid position and the engine was still poorly in the race causing several pit stops.
After the race an angry Mike Wilds protested Magee’s driving to the stewards but they let the result stand although Magee did receive a reprimand.