Race Report: Thruxton, 5 August 1973


A good entry arrived at Thruxton for the latest round of the Forward Trust Championship and qualifying was dominated by the works Alpine-Renaults with Michel Leclere and Alain Serpaggi setting the fastest times in their respective heats. For this meeting both of the Alpines were running in narrow track form to suit the high speed Thruxton sweeps. Of the other drivers neither of the works Martinis of Lafitte and Paoli went too well, Paoli loosing time with a broken gear lever. Brian Henton had borrowed Pedro Passadore’s DART GRD to replace his accident damaged version and spent much of practice pointing the wrong way.
At the end of practice there were three non-starters, Buzz Buzaglo and Carlo Giorgio blew their Novamotors and Mike Tyrrell had fuel system bothers with the MRE.

It was raining at the start of Heat 1 and pole sitter Michel Leclere was slow away allowing Christian Ethuin and Mike Wilds to get the jump on him, Kuwashima initially slotted into fourth but spun at the Chicane dropping to eleventh. Leclere moved up onto Wilds gearbox but it was his turn to spin at the Chicane but without any loss of position and within a lap the three leaders were all together. Due to the slippery conditions the positions didn’t change until the final lap when Ethuin went wide exiting Seagrave allowing Wilds to close up through Brooklands and take the lead at the Chicane. Ethuin held onto second spot with Leclere keeping a watching brief in third. Jean-Pierre Paoli held fourth spot for thirteen laps but as the Martini encountered backmarkers Leonel Friedrich was able to slip through and grab the place. Ian Taylor took sixth the engine in his March suffering from water in the electrics with Johnny Gerber finishing in seventh after getting the better of Bernard Beguin who fell behind the recovering Kuwashima.

It was raining much harder when the cars lined up for the second heat and conditions were treacherous. Tony Brise slithered into the lead from Russell Wood, Alain Serpaggi and Jean Ragnotti. Brise began to open a large lead on the opening lap but as he began the second lap his engine began to sound dreadful as it became waterlogged, however he still lead Woods and Serpaggi but Ragnotti had fallen away with a spin at Cobb. Serpaggi was the next victim of Cobb with a spin on the third lap and Brise joined him one lap later, unfortunately Brise stalled his engine and it took him some time to restart it. Wood now led and with the conditions worsening he was shown the chequered flag at the end of the seventh lap, behind him Rousselot had moved up to second as those ahead of him had spun off. Brise had recovered to third passing Serpaggi and Ragnotti into the Chicane on lap 6 but another spin at Cobb on lap 7 saw him drop to an eventual fifth. Serpaggi spun again, this time at Allard on the last lap loosing a place to Ragnotti and dropping to fourth. A battling group consisting of Mo Harness, Brian Henton and Richard Robarts were squabbling over sixth, Harness took the place but decided against racing in the final, Robarts took seventh on the last lap as Henton spun at the Chicane dropping to tenth.

So to the final, despite it being 2 hours since the last of the heats it was still raining and the decision was taken to reduce the race from 20 to 10 laps. As the flag fell Christian Ethuin made the best start from the front row as the other two occupants, Mike Wilds and Russell Wood were slower away. Entering Campbell Serpaggi tried to pass Ethuin but the Alpine brushed wheels with the Martini loosing ground to the leader and allowing team-mate Leclere to get past. Leclere now challenged Ethuin through Church and as the two cars entered the Chicane side by side Leclere left his braking later and he slid through into first. Leclere immediately began to pull away with a clear track ahead of him, Ethuin holding second from Serpaggi, Wood and Friedrich. Further back Mike Wilds gearbox siezed as he entered the Chicane on the first lap and with nowhere to go Brise hit the March in the rear, John MacDonald also had to spin his GRD in avoidance putting all three cars out. Richard Robarts was another to rotate but was able to continue after a precautionary pitstop.
Leclere continued to lead for the remainder of the race seemingly in a different class from the rest of the field as he slid his Alpine around the track. Ethuin took second despite the very close attentions of Serpaggi for the whole of the race, the Alpine driver nearly loosing third with a spin at the Chicane on the final lap as he tried a last ditch effort to pass the Martini. Wood held off a closely pursuing Friedrich for fourth with a gap back to Paoli in sixth. Next up was Rousselot who had had a fight with Ian Taylor and Masami Kuwashima, the Japanese driver passing Taylor into the chicane on the final tour. Retirements included Rouff with an off at Seagrave on lap 6 that also took out Robarts, Johnny Gerber whose Brabham refused to fire up on the grid and Larry Perkins who was out early on with a sick engine.



Race Report: Thruxton, 5 August 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