Tour of Britain is on
Following our brief paragraph last month full details have now been announced of the Tour of Britain or, to give it the full title, Avon Motor Tour of Britain. Both Avon tyres and the Motor magazine are backing this event which is being organised by the BRSCC. The event is modelled on the lines of the Tour de France and will cover three days and 1,000 miles. Competitors will take part in a series of racing and speed events which will be designed to appeal to racing and rally driver alike.
The event will start from Avon’s factory at Melksham in Wiltshire on July 6th after scrutineering there the previous day. Within minutes of the start there will be a speed test at Keevil Aerodrome and the route then runs to Llandow, Wales’ only race circuit, and onto the famed Eppynt ranges. Friday’s motoring will finish with a 100-mile run to the night stop in Birmingham. On Saturday competitors will travel to Oulton Park where the race will be an added attraction to the Clubmans meeting being held at the venue. Then it will be down to Silverstone for more races followed by a run eastwards to Snetterton where the racing will start at midnight. This will be the first time for 8 years that there has been night rating in Britain.
Competitors will then travel overnight to Brands Hatch for early morning tests before the start of the scheduled race meeting, and then the run will take the cars back via three more tests, probably including a hill climb to the finish at Bath which coincides with the Monarchy 1000 celebrations being held there.
For 1973 the event will be open solely to Group 1 cars, as raced regularly in Britain, and the entry, which will be limited to 80 cars, will be split into the four usual price categories. Standard road tyres are required but not neeessarily Avons.
Each car will be crewed by two people but only the nominated no. 1 driver will drive the car on the tests. The number two driver will be able to drive on the road sections. The winner will receive £500, 2nd man £300 and 3rd £200.
F2 win for Peterson
Ronnie Peterson, who, it was announced last month, will be driving for John Player Team Lotus next season, scored a Formula Two win at Oulton Park on September 16th for the STP-March team. This was the fifth and final round of the John Player Formula Two Championship which was based on the results of the five British Formula Two events. Only inches behind Peterson at the finish was his Austrian team-mate Niki Lauda and, in so doing, Lauda clinched the Championship, which, we understood, John Player will not be supporting next year.
There were several surprises in this always closely fought race. Formula Atlantic Champion Vern Schuppan qualified his March on the front row arid led the first lap, whereupon his engine cut dead. Former F3 driver James Hunt, driving a last year’s March, challenged the two works cars for much of the race and this was a battle for the lead once Jody Scheckter’s McLaren had retired from first place with broken transmission. In the closing stages Hunt even snatched the lead from Peterson, only to spin and eventually finish third ahead of Richard Scott’s Brabham and Gerry Birrell’s March.
The fastest lap and a new F2 record went jointly to the three leading Marches and John Watson’s new works Chevron B20. Watson, after a slow start, was closing on the leaders when the Chevron struck engine trouble. John Surtees retired on the start line and Graham Hill finished last of the ten finishers after losing several laps with fuel pressure problems.
The ABC Rally (September 10th)
Given but one car of a rare make you can scarcely form a club; two, and you are in business! The ABC Register is fairly thin in membership but not in enthusiasm, and as my first car was an ABC 1 decided I must attend their Hoar Cross Rally, near Burton-on-Trent. even though it meant driving into the English Midlands. The decision was easier because, after recently driving cars good, bad and indifferent, I had got the BMW 2500 back after its 12,000 service and it had brought us so quickly and comfortably from Thruxton to Radnor the previous evening that another 250 miles or thereabouts on the Sunday was good to anticipate.
David Hales had assembled two ABC scooters, one with the e-o-i engine, the other a “racer” with both valves upstairs, three transverse twin ABC motorcycles, a couple of ABC cars, and static exhibits, in the form of a one-lunger oil-cooled Bradshaw engine, my Scootamota engine, a Ridley flat-twin auxiliary engine as used in Sunderland flying boats, and sundry parts, plaques, photographs and literature relating to Granville Bradshaw’s products. He had bought some of the last-named through a Motor Sport advertisement, to discover that an instruction book for the Super Snorts ABC he is rebuilding was by a quite remarkable co-incidence, issued originally for his car!
I was allowed to drive Bob Thomas’ 1921 Standard two-seater during this its first foray away from the loM, where it was so beautifully restored, and John Rand’s 1921 Sports two-seater, once owned by Alan Cottam. When Rand told me his car has disc front brakes I said “I’m not buying that one” but it is true—he made them himself and they stop the car as if it were a 1972 model. The steering, too, is about the best of any car I have tried, very light, very smooth, and sensibly geared; these ABCs ride welt, too. Rand’s single carburetter car will go to 30 m.p.h. in third, double this flat-out, and it often tows a trailer when he moves his big collection of ABC motorcycles about. In the mood of the moment I would happily have driven this ABC home, in preference to the excellent BMW . . . . He is a remarkable man—who else could find a MAG-engined New Hudson three-wheeler in Herefordshire and, after rebuilding its derelict chassis, find another of these very rare vehicles, with a sound chassis but a duff engine? He has made his usual grand job of this rebuild, even to getting the Reg. No. of the New Hudson road-tested by the motorcycle Press in 1922 and driving it over the old test route.
So here I was, driving an ABC again, that two-cylinder air-cooled car which outwardly looked like a water-cooled four, and had the advantage over many of its competitors of a four-speed gearbox and a decently long wheelbase, apart from oddities like the “radiator” cap petrol filler, that unusual gear-change and an oil drip-feed on the dashboard. The central accelerator caused no anxiety, the clutch is smooth, and I remembered where first gear is on the curious vertical gate change, but did not always allow sufficient movement as the lever slides upwards from second to third, hence some disgraceful noises! However, it was splendidly nostalgic, even if my own ABC (a red four-seater with two carburetters on a common induction pipe—and Hales was able to show me its original insurance policy!) only lasted three days, because we were too impatient to get its oil pump to work; the loss was bearable, as its pre-war price was £5. — W. B.
• plans are already being made for 1973 Racing Car Show which will be held at Olympia front January 3rd-13th. Already 120 exhibitors have booked stands for this biennial event which becomes the mecca for racing car enthusiasts during every other winter. All enquiries to the Racing Car Show Joint Committee, 21 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7JF.
• A new 5-speed gearbox for competition work is now being manufactured by Jack Knight (Developments) Ltd. The unit has been made initially to suit Ford Escorts and Capris but can also be adapted for use on Vauxhall and Chrysler models. The price will be approx. £300—more details from Jack Knight at Woking 64326.