After the first three rounds of Shell Super Oil Formula Three Championship, the qualifying races of which count for the Motor Sport Trophy at the end of the year, the situation is rather confusing. One of the stipulations of the Shell Championship is that all contestants display decals advertising the championship if they are to score points and collect the prize money. However, before this rule was announced Team Lotus came to an agreement with their sponsors John Player Special, in which they agreed not to display any decals other than certain specified ones. Thus, in the early season races, the two exciting John Player Special Lotus Formula Three cars have not been displaying the decals and therefore have not been earning any points or money. However their number one driver, Tony Trimmer, has already finished fourth at the opening round at the Brands Hatch Race of Champions event and won the third round at Mallory Park.
Motor Sport does not wish to become involved in the politics and so is scoring, for the present, the points towards the Motor Sport Trophy on the basis of the Shell Championship rounds but counting everyone, whether they run the Shell stickers, or not. However the latest news is that John Player, Lotus, and Shell may come to an admirable compromise in the near future over the problem. If this is done it is not yet certain if Trimmer will receive all the points he has already scored. Thus, with a win at the Oulton Park round on Good Friday and placings at Mallory Park and Brands Hatch the present leader is Roger Williamson driving the Wheatcroft March 723. Trimmer, in the JPS Lotus shows up second with 12 points just 1 less than Williamson. Third at present is Barrie Maskell, the very experienced Northern driver, who is now racing one of last year’s Lotus 69s for the Travisco team. However, becuase of the sticker problems, he actually leads the Shell points standings.
Roger Williamson, it will be remembered, won the premier Grovewood Award last year, finished second in the Shell F3 Championship and won the Lombard Championship. Although he leads the chase for the Motor Sport Trophy he is far from happy with the latest Wheatcroft Racing March 723, having used a March 713 last. year. The latest news is that he will be swopping to a GRD for the remainder of the season’s races.
One of the biggest surprises of the year has been the tremendous performance of the young Welsh driver Tom Pryce and the works Royale Formula Three. Pryce originally made his name by winning the Daily Express Crusader compeition in early 1970 and the Lola FF that went with it. By the end of the year he was recording some good results in Formula Ford and last season he switched to the now defunct Formula F100 and easily won the Tarmac Championship for these cars. At the end of the season he drove the new Royale in a couple of Formula Three races without showing at the front. However, at the Race of Champions F3 event he left the rest of the field standing and scored an easy win which was later disputed due to the weight of the car. But finally the result stood. At round two Pryce again rushed off into a strong lead but this time he spun away his chances. Now Pryce and the Royale car are regarded very highly by the other competitors and it will be interesting to see if he can repeat his early season form. With three rounds gone the leading positions towards the Motor Sport Trophy are as follows:
1st: Roger Williamson (March 723) 13
2nd: Tony Trimmer (JPS Lotus) 12
3rd: Barrie Maskell (Lotus 69) 10
4th: Tom Pryce (Royale RP10) 9
5th: Peter Hull (Brabham BT38) 9
6th: Bob Evans (March 723) 6
James Hunt (March 723) 6
Mike Walker (Ensign F372) 6