A strong Porsche challenge failed to overhaul the leading Morgan as the multi-venue event sprinted around the circuits and stately homes of the UK
Like the 1973 Tour of Britain on which the event was loosely based, the Tour Britannia attracted a host of American muscle cars, including a replica of the James Hunt Chevrolet Camaro which won the event more than 30 years ago. However, on this classic revival it was to be European machinery that dominated the competitive category.
The Morgan +8 of Bruce Stapleton and Alastair Cowin took the lead by a mere six seconds on the first day. Behind it was the Porsche 3.0 RSR of Nick and Mary Faure and the 911 of Adam Wiseberg and Robin Eyre-Maunsell. However, both Porsches hit difficulties the next day when the 3.0 RSR started to lose power and the 911 broke a CV joint. The Lotus Elan of John Sheldon and Lesley Stevens powered up the leader board to second place while the Austin Healey 3000 Sebring of Eric Wooley and David Smithies moved into third. Meanwhile in the regularity category the Porsche 356 Carrera of John Ruston and Jeremy Haylock made consistently accurate times to maintain the lead it acquired on the first day.
At the end of the third day the top three in the competitive category were the same, with the +8 Morgan’s 19sec lead over the Elan being only slightly diminished by a neat 360 degree spin on the final special stage at Belvoir Park. The father-son team of Nick and Harry Whale were setting incredibly good times in their Porsche 911 Carrera RS but not enough to make up for problems on the first day. After a special stage at Arbury Hall and a race at Mallory Park the top 1-2-3 remained Morgan, Elan, Healey with the best American car, the Roy Stephenson/Peter Robinson Mustang, ending sixth overall.
The David Williams trophy for the winner of the regularity category went to Ruston/Haylock who proved unbeatably accurate. In second place was the Bristol 401 of Mark Berger/ Robert Newton whilst third went to the AC Ace Bristol of the Belgian crew Marc Vandendijk/An De Reymaeker. FD