The entry sheets for the 1973-76 Tour of Britain may have “read like a roll-call of the great and the good” but on the ’75 Tour, starting 78th out of 85, was an unknown 22-year-old who couldn’t believe his luck to be there.
I’d only begun competing in autocross, autotest and road rallies at the end of 1974 and never believed that my entry would be accepted. With barely two months to go I still hadn’t qualified for the necessary international competition licence. On a final outing before the Tour I obtained the coveted signature to qualify for the licence, despite my co-driver Niall Heywood being as sick as a dog and finishing plum last after several ‘comfort breaks’!
My first recollection of the ’75 Tour was receiving a jaunty wave from eventual class winner Tony Dron as he lapped me at Silverstone. Having set an optimistic target of finishing in the top 30, my trusty Escort Sport TUG120M was classified in the top 40. I remember that we effectively drove for two days before having the only overnight break on the three-day event, something that would never be allowed today.
Imagine our delight in later finding our car featured on the front of a video of the event, a case of mistaken identity with the winning RS2000 of the late Tony Pond!
Suffice to say that those three days in August represent many happy memories, when I was lucky enough to rub shoulders with the great and the good of ’70s motor sport.
Duncan Woodcock, Lancaster, Lancs