Race Report: Oulton Park, 9 March 1974

oulton park_9_3_74

Only seven cars made it to Oulton Park for the first round of the Lombard North Central Championship, it was of course the first race to the new 2-litre regulations so it was to be expected that it would take time to get the sort of numbers seen at the 1600 cc races. It should be remembered that only three cars started the first 1600 cc race at Mallory Park in 1971. To make up the grid numbers a number of F Ford cars also took part in their own race.

Pole position went to Bob Arnott in the new Modus M1 chassis powered by a Lotus twin-cam engine, next came the familiar 1600 cc 1973 cars of Tony Rouff (GRD) and José Espirito Santo (March). Brian Henton sat on row two in his new March 743 the only other full 2-litre car, a sticking throttle restricting him to only two practice laps. Completing the grid was the ex-Richard Robarts 733 of Peter Dugdale, another to still be running a 1600 cc mill.
There were two non-starters, Henton’s team mate Brazilian José Chateaubriand who had a head gasket fail in his 2-litre Holbay, his 743 was only completed the day before and so had no chance to be tested. The ever unlucky Barrie Maskell had two pistons blow in his 1600 cc Holbay, Maskell was running the same Dastle Mk10B he had been seen in during 1973.

Conditions before the start of the race were very tricky, it was bitterly cold, several cars had dropped oil in the earlier races and it had been sleeting to add to the general misery. Brian Henton made the best start from the second row and leapt into an immediate lead that he held all the way to the Deer Leap were the surface was very slippery, in a second the March was spinning and by the time Henton had gathered it all together again he was last trailing even the F Fords. This left Arnott in the lead with the new Modus with a gap back to Santo and Rouff who were circulating together but by lap 9 they had another car with them, the March 743 of Henton! After his opening lap spin Henton had really put the hammer down carving through the F Fords as if they weren’t there, just as Henton caught the second and third men it began to drizzle again making a treacherous track surface even worse. First in trouble was leader Arnott who spun at Cascades, he was able to keep his engine running and resumed with his lead down to five seconds. One lap later he repeated the trick but this time he stalled his engine and, being unable to restart it, he was out.
Amazingly it was now Henton in the lead again, his cause was helped by Santo who joined in with the Cascade spinners hitting the Armco and crawling round to the pits to retire. Next to gyrate was Rouff who spun on Top Straight also hitting the barrier and removing part of his wing although he was able to continue in second. All the action now over Henton crossed the line first to take the inaugural 2-litre win from Rouff in second and, completing the finishers despite a spin at Old Hall, Peter Dugdale.



Race Report: Oulton Park, 9 March 1974

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