Race Report: Brands Hatch, 21 September 1975
Most of the top runners arrived at Brands Hatch for the latest round of the BP Championship, the only notable absentees were Dick Parsons and Terry Perkins.
Pole position went to Rupert Keegan who was continuing his recent run of form and showing a new found confidence. Hervé Regout was second although many felt his time might have been a little optimistic, winner of the last Brands round, Larry Perkins lined up third. Further back seventh fastest man Patrick Neve non-started after he crashed his Safir at Paddock, the Belgian was unsure what had caused the accident. In eighth Gunnar Nilsson was still running the narrower 2.5 inch track on his March 753 but was slowed by a misfire caused by a faulty battery. Of the others Danny Sullivan complained of handling difficulties as did Graham Hamilton whilst Tim Brise lost time when his gearbox stripped its ratios.
Larry Perkins Ralt led the rest of the field away at the start but entering Paddock it all went wrong as Eddie Cheever and Brise both tried to get between the Marches of Pierre Dieudonné and Richard Hawkins. Immediately there were cars all over the track and all four men were out as was Ken Silverstone whose March got caught up in the chaos. Cheever’s car was blocking the track and the marshalls posts were showing either a red flag or crossed yellow and oil flags, the errant Modus was very quickly removed as was the red flag but the yellows weren’t. There was general confusion as some drivers raised their arms and slowed whilst others travelled on at unabated speed. Those who slowed and had their races ruined included Keegan, Sullivan and Chris Barnett whilst those that sped on included Perkins, Alex Ribeiro and Gunnar Nilsson.
At 5 laps it was Perkins in front with Ribeiro and Nilsson next up, there was a big battle for fourth between Keegan, Sullivan, Bob Arnott and Ingo Hoffman. Stephen South had been with this group but a spin at Bottom Bend dropped him back to just in front of Chris Barnett, the two pulled back up the field but eventually found themselves caught behind the slowing Regout.
Sullivan eventually found a way past Keegan who then dropped another place to Arnott whilst Keegan, who had been troubled by a lack of any clutch, spun out at Clearways on lap 15 to finish off an unhappy race. Sullivan and Arnott, despite suffering from graining tyres as were most of the other runners, were flying and began to close in on Nilsson but there weren’t enough laps left and Sullivan missed out on third by 0.2 seconds. So it was that Larry Perkins took a relatively untroubled win 1.6 seconds ahead of Ribeiro who was another to suffer from no clutch.
The general competitiveness of the racing can be judged by the fact that no less than five cars (and three manufacturers) shared a new lap record.