Snetterton on Good Friday
Good Friday’s Snetterton race meeting heralded the return of American V8 power to the flat wind-swept Norfolk circuit. Fortunately on race day, the weather was perfect but there was not a huge crowd (estimates put it at 10,000) to witness the 50-lap 132-mile Guards Trophy Race for Group 4 sports cars. Heading the entry list were no fewer than nine Lola T70-Chevrolets, seven of which were of the new Mk. IIIB variant. Practice claimed one and another was yet to be built. Opposing the Lolas in the over-2,500-c.c. class were three dated Ford GT40s, of which only one started. The smaller (up to 2-litre) class was largely a Chevron benefit with seven of the B.M.W.-powered cars challenging four Porsches, two Lotus Europas and a lone Ferrari Dino.
As expected, Lolas filled the first two rows of the grid and it was Hawking who led away from the start into the first corner, leading Bonnier and Redman (Lola T70s). For the first half-dozen laps, Hawkins continued to extend his lead over Redman, who had now taken Bonnier for second place, while Attwood, Craft, Piper and T. Taylor (T70S) all tucked in behind. At 15 laps, Hawkins had a 3-sec. lead over Redman, who in turn had drawn clear of the Bonnier/Attwood duel. Craft was now a lonely fifth while Piper lay an ailing sixth, later to join Trevor Taylor in the pits as a retirement.
Lucas now led the 2-litre class in McNally’s Porsche 910 following a poor start, and he continued to pull away from his nearest challenger, Burton (Chevron-B.M.W.) lapping him near the end. Meanwhile, Hawkins had come under pressure from Redman, who took the lead on the 22nd lap, only to spin three laps later and restart back in second place. This left Hawkins unchallenged for the remainder of the race, for Redman retired after 35 laps with a blown head-gasket, while Attwood ended his battle with Bonnier five laps later when the engine blew up. This left just two Lolas as Craft’s Lola had a tyre blow-out after 21 laps, and now Lucas and Burton found themselves third and fourth overall, over three laps behind. The Ford GT40 of Juncadella had been challenging Lucas in the middle of the race but had to make a pit stop to rectify a loose exhaust system.
1st : P. Hawkins (5-litre Lola T70, Mk. 3B GT-Chevrolet)-1 hr. 14 min. 37.2 sec.—108.95 m.p.h.
2nd : J. Bonnier (5-litre Lola 170 Mk. 3B GT-Chevrolet)-1 hr. 14 min. 57.0 sec.
3rd : C. Lucas (2-litre Porsche 910) (2-litre class winner).
4th : J. Burton (2-litre Chevron-B.M.W.).
Fastest lap : B. Redman (Lola T70 Mk. 3B GT-Chevrolet), 1 min. 26.2 sec.—113.18 m.p.h.
Only two foreigners had bothered to make the trip for this International event but neither of them figured highly in the final placings. Throughout the entire event, three cars battled for the lead in great style, with victory finally going to Wisell (Chevron), who was just over a length clear of Schenken in the quasi-works Brabham. Third and a strong favourite for outright Victory was Rollinson (Brabham) but he slowed on the final two laps with a broken oil pipe. Behind the leading trio, another battle had been in progress between Maskell (Chevron), Pike and Beckwith (Lotuses), the latter gradually falling back towards the end.
1st : R. Wisell (Chevron-Ford) 23 min. 56.6 sec.—101.87 m.p.h.
2nd : T. Schenken (Brabham-Ford).
3rd : A. Rollinson (Brabham-Ford).
Fastest lap : A. Rollinson, 1 min. 34.2 sec.—103.57 m.p.h.
The 4.7-litre Ford Falcon of Pierpoint stored yet another convincing win, leading from start to finish and never being challenged. Behind him in second place, Gardner was having a hard time in trying to get his supercharged Ford Escort TC in front of Sanger’s Ford Falcon, failing in the attempt. Fourth was the ex-Elford Porsche 911 of Faure, who had an easy class win following Crabtree’s problems with his clutchless Ford Escort TC.—C. W.
1st : R. Pierpoint (4.7-litre Ford Falcon V8) 25 min. 2.2 sec.—93.68 m.p.h.
2nd : T. Sanger (4.7-litre Ford Falcon V8).
3rd : F. Gardner (1.6-litre Ford Escort TC).
4th : N. Faure (2-litre Porsche 911).
Class Winners : R. Pierpoint, N. Faure, C. Craft (Ford Escort GT), A. Poole (Austin Cooper 6).
Fastest lap overall : R. Pierpoint, 1 min. 42.6 sec.—95.09 m.p.h.