Silverstone September 12/13th
The Mazda RX7 of Tom Walkinshaw and Chuck Nicholson overcame the might of BMW’s challenge from Helmut Kelleners and Umberto Grano, in the Tourist Trophy at Silverstone on September 13th.
Kelleners/Grano had put their BMW 635 CSi on Pole position for the 107 lap, 500 km race, with the Walkinshaw/Nicholson Mazda alongside. From the start Kelleners immediately disappeared into the distance with a huge lead which neither Nicholson, the mighty Chevrolet Camaro of Italian ladies Lella Lombardi/Anna Cambiaghi, nor the second Mazda of Fritz Muller/Heinz Kuhn-Weiss could do anything about. The Camaro made a couple of early pit-stops to fasten loose plug leads but continued for only another few miles thereafter before retiring with engine failure. Dieter Quester’s BMW 320i. which he was sharing with Dieter Kindlmann, made a good start to lie in seventh place behind the Gp 2 Capri of German Gp 5 contender Klaus Niedwiedz, but collided with an innocent Skoda which both drivers were trying to lap at the same time. Quester had to complete a whole lap with a punctured rear tyre. but after his stop tigered up through the field again before handing over to Kindlmann. The less experienced Austrian promptly parked the BMW in the catch fences shortly before the finish, but it had completed sufficient mileage to be classified in fifth place.
Kelleners brought the leading BMW into the pits first, with Grano taking over the refuelled car with a still comfortable lead. After Nicholson’s sterling drive, Walkinshaw took the Mazda back into the fray. and almost straight away began to eat into Grano’s lead. Lapping almost two seconds a lap quicker than the BMW. the Mazda closed inexorably upon the Enny-sponsorcd car which was now suffering from an audibly-slipping clutch. Just miles from home, Walkinshaw swept into the lead under the Daily Express bridge and immediately backed-off to conserve the oil-starved engine. The two cars crossed the line five seconds apart after over three hours of racing. followed by the Gp 1 winning Capri of Gordon Spice/Andy Rouse, and the fourth placed Capri of Vince Woodman/Jonathan Buncombe. Behind the Quester BMW. Kuhn-Weiss brought the other Mazda RX7 into sixth place, with the Audi 80 of Richard Lloyd and Marlboro F3 Championship leader Jonathan Palmer. seventh.
After a reliable run to fourth place, Italians Enzo Calderari/Marco Vanoli were excluded when their BMW 320i was found to be fractionally too wide across the rear. — ACM.