Race Report: Oulton Park, 7 October 1973


It was originally planned to run two heats on Saturday with a Sunday final for this round of the John Player Championship but a lack of entries meant just the one race on Sunday. Practice was split into two 45 minutes sessions on Saturday but it was the first session that really counted as it began to rain a few minutes into the second period.

One man who actually set his fast time in the second session in the 5 laps before it rained was pole sitter Larry Perkins, benefiting from some midweek testing Perkins had the Brabham flying to take pole by 0.2 seconds from Mike Wilds and Brian Henton who set identical times. Alan Jones was fourth quickest despite still suffering discomfort from his neck which he had damaged at Brands Hatch, initial fears that he had broken it were allayed when x-rays showed severely strained ligaments. Jones set his time in team mate Pedro Passadore’s car the Uruguayan missing the meeting due to a bout of ‘flu. Tony Brise found the handling of his March not to his satisfaction whilst Ian Taylor and Mo Harness were sorting newly rebuilt cars, Russell Wood as seems to be the norm recently was less than happy with his engine. The last two runners, Tom Hilliar and Andy McGregor failed to qualify, the latter arriving late and having to do all his practice in the wet.

There was chaos as the flag fell, Brian Henton was stranded on the line when the centre pulled out of his clutch, the front rows managed to avoid the stranded Ensign but an unsighted Wunderink slewed sideways and was hit by Maskell and Svensson, all four cars were instant retirements. Back at the front it was Perkins in the lead chased by Wilds, Kuwashima, Jones, Lafitte, Andersson and Paoli, Andersson soon loosing a place to Paoli as his Novamotor began to misfire. Friedrich was the next runner and the next retirement when his engine seized at Knickerbrook causing Robarts to drop down to fourteenth place when he had to try and avoid the slowing March. These incidents moved Dahlqvist, Harness, Spitzley, Brise, Wood and Taylor up a couple of positions. Robarts bad day at the office continued when he retired on lap 2 with a broken throttle cable.
Out in front Perkins was looking untouchable, both car and driver were going superbly and the Cowangie Kid was leaving the second place battle behind him. It was Jones who was now runner up having passed Kuwashima on lap 4 and Wilds on lap 6, Lafitte was fifth ahead of Brise who was quickly making up ground with the second Martini of Paoli seventh. There were two more retirements to add to the list when Andersson’s nose splitter broke off which together with the misfire was enough for the Swede, Mo Harness was out when he spun and hit the barrier at Knickerbrook, he continued but retired at Clay Hill with minor damage.
By lap 15 Perkins appeared to have the race in the bag as second place man Jones was busy fighting off the attentions of Wilds, Kuwashima and Lafitte. Spitzley was the next retirement when he lost his March at Cascades when trying to keep up with Taylor, Wood and Dahlqvist. It was all change at the front on lap 18 when the unfortunate Perkins had his engine loose all its oil at Knickerbrook, Larry switching off the engine before too much damage was done. Jones moved up to take the lead but he was still under intense pressure from Wilds, Kuwashima and Lafitte, Brise was next up but he was unable to get close to the leading foursome.

Kuwashima made his move on Wilds on lap 23 passing the Dempster March at Knickerbrook and immediately setting about trying to wrest the lead from Jones. Wilds lost a little ground and found himself under heavy attack from Lafitte, Mike went a little wide at Esso on lap 26, Lafitte drawing level with the March along Top Straight and he took third entering Knickerbrook. Jones and Kuwashima now found themselves joined by Lafitte and on lap 28 Kuwashima tried the outside line around Jones at Knickerbrook, he then ran wide at Lodge and Lafitte was instantly up to second. Jones found the Martini trying for first at Cascades but Jones wasn’t about to give up the lead without a struggle. Lafitte didn’t get a second chance at Jones as Kuwashima retook second spot at Old Hall on the final lap, all three cars ran nose-to-tail on the rest of the final lap but there were no further position changes and at the finish it was Jones from Kuwashima and Lafitte, the three cars only 0.6 seconds apart. Wilds took fourth a couple of seconds back with Brise well away in fifth with another gap back to Ian Taylor in sixth. The final runner was Tony Rouff two laps down, his disappointing result explained by having to pit with plug trouble as well as loosing the nosecone on his GRD as a result of getting involved in the first lap startline fracas.



Race Report: Oulton Park, 7 October 1973

Race Heat 1

1 Vittorio Brambilla

Birel Alfa Romeo 20:09.40

2 Fabrizio Noe

Lotus-Ford 69 20:09.50

3 Luigi Fontanesi

Tecno-Ford 20:13.10

4 Carlo Franchi (Gimax)

De Sanctis-Alfa Romeo 20:23.40

Race Heat 2

1 Giovanni Lo Voi

Brabham-Ford BT28 15:05.00

2 Adelmo Fossati

Brabham BT28 15:05.00

3 Patrice Compain

Martini-Ford MW7 15:21.00

4 Manfred Möhr

Lotus-Ford 15:34.10

5 Marcello Gallo

Brabham BT28

Race Final

1 Vittorio Brambilla

Birel Alfa Romeo 30:44.30 144.318

2 Marcello Gallo

Brabham BT28 30:44.34

3 Fabrizio Noe

Lotus-Ford 69 30:45.10

4 Adelmo Fossati

Brabham BT28 30:55.40

5 Patrice Compain

Martini-Ford MW7 31:08.00

6 Carlo Franchi (Gimax)

De Sanctis-Alfa Romeo 31:11.50

7 Manfred Möhr

Lotus-Ford 31:59.60

8 Giovanni Lo Voi

Martini-Ford MW7 31:08.00