Race Report: Thruxton, 31 March 1975


This was the first race of the newly inaugurated BP Super Visco British F3 Championship to be held over fifteen rounds. To celebrate this new found faith in F3 following the disappointing turnout for the previous year’s races a field of roughly double the size of most 1974 UK events arrived at Thruxton in late March. Not only were there several new drivers to be seen there were also several new manufacturers with Ralt, Ray and Safir all having their first race.

Practice saw the works March of Brazilian Alex Ribeiro take the pole in his new Toyota powered 753 aided by the addition of some sticky Goodyear tyres. Second quickest and equalling Ribeiro’s time was the new Ralt of Larry Perkins who was impressing everyone with its speed. Completing the front row was the second of the works Marches, this one driven by Gunnar Nilsson who would probably have been quicker but his gearbox failed after six laps of the second qualifying session. Row two comprised Mike Tyrrell, still in his familiar ex-Tony Brise March 733 and Belgian Patrick Neve in the new Ray Jessop designed Safir RJ03 powered by a Holbay Pinto unit. Further back Bob Arnott did well considering he was still fettling his ex-Ippokampos March 743 up to the start of practice, also looking good on his first outing on slicks was Stephen South in the distinctive new Ray. Ian Taylor, returning to F3, in the works GRD had to run a hack engine in second practice after his “good” engine detonated due to incorrect timing in the first session. Another debutante was Rupert Keegan who was having his first outing in the ex-Brian Henton March 743 Toyota, Keegan set the tenth fastest time.

Danny Sullivan had a troubled practice in the works Modus, first of all he had to run the wrong tyres when the Goodyears intended for his car didn’t arrive and he had to run some Firestones instead, then in the afternoon he suffered a misfire from a sticking fuel float level. Chris Barnett only received his rebuilt Heidegger engine on Saturday morning and missed the first practice whilst it was fitted. The B&O March of Pierre Dieudonné wouldn’t start for the first session and then a water leak after one lap saw the end of the Belgian’s weekend. Also non-starting was Robert Joubert who had his Vegantune t/c fail in his Lola T350 and with no spare the South African had to pack up and go home.

Gunnar Nilsson had to have a last minute tyre change when a badly cut rear tyre was spotted just before the cars left for their warm up lap. The starter began the race very quickly after the warm up which caught out several runners notably Mike Tyrrell who hadn’t got his March into gear. Perkins got away best with the Ralt driver shutting the door firmly on Ribeiro as the cars entered the first corner, Ribeiro had to lift a fraction which allowed Nilsson and Parsons to pass the Brazilian on the outside and then chase Perkins up to the complex. At the end of the first lap some furious driving by Nilsson saw him sitting right on Perkins tail with Parsons, Ribeiro and Patrick Neve in line astern.
Perkins continued to lead for another lap with Nilsson still putting him under heavy pressure and on the third lap the Swede’s tactics worked as Perkins spun away his first place at the complex. Parsons moved into second spot and quickly closed onto the rear of Nilsson and looked likely to move into the lead. Unfortunately for Parsons spray started to appear from the rear of his Modus and within a lap his engine blew due to a fractured water hose. The closely following Ribeiro found his visor suddenly covered with oil causing the March to spin wildly out of control, Ribeiro was able to continue but he was now well out of contention.

Initially it seemed as if Nilsson had the race in his pocket with a 4.8 second lead on lap 5 but Patrick Neve had other ideas and by lap 8 the Safir was only 2.7 seconds down. However Nilsson used some backmarkers to open out his lead again, Neve put his head down once more and closed up but there wasn’t enough time left and the works March crossed the line 0.6 seconds ahead of the works Safir. Behind these two there had been a good battle between Bob Arnott, Mike Tyrrell and Ian Taylor, the works GRD moved up to third although hampered by a graining front left tyre but on the last lap Arnott managed to get ahead to complete the podium. Tyrrell found himself squeezed out at the chicane on the penultimate lap and a trip up the escape road dropped him down to seventh. Larry Perkins came home fifth, any chances of a recovery ruined by his tyres going off, Stephen South brought the Ray home sixth despite managing to knock the ignition switch off during the race.
Of the other, usually quick, runners Danny Sullivan spun the Modus at the chicane on the first lap and then found his steering rack coming loose causing him to retire whilst Tony Rouff had to pit his Ehrlich early on to change a plug but ran well after that.



Race Report: Thruxton, 31 March 1975

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