Super screamers

A gaggle of 1-litre F3 machines stole the show at the HSCC Historic Superprix meeting as their revival continues to gather pace
By Paul Lawrence

With Historic Formula One, Historic Formula 2 and Orwell Supersports on the bill, the HSCC’s annual Historic Superprix meeting at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit was a major date on the international historic calendar.

However, the headline races were eclipsed by special celebrations to mark the growing success of the 1-litre Formula 3 revival movement, with the biggest gathering of ‘screamers’ since the end of the category in 1970.

“My first F3 race at Silverstone was a terrifying experience – I came 10th and I was eight-tenths of a second behind the winner,” said former Lotus Grand Prix driver John Miles on a rare visit to a race meeting. “The 1-litre F3 cars taught me all I know about racing other people at very close quarters,” added Miles, who joined fellow former 1-litre F3 drivers Chris Craft, Bev Bond, Dave Morgan, Tony Trimmer, Harry Stiller and Barrie Smith at Brands to mark the category’s comeback. “They were fabulous little cars and it is great to see them out racing again,” said Craft, a former Tecno ace and works driver for the Italian BWA team.

On track, 27 1-litre F3 cars contested the second round of the Peter Hanson Trophy and it was François Derossi, a leading campaigner for the category, who rushed to victory in his Chevron B17. Away from the racing, more cars were on display including rarities like the Swedish-built Spyder and the Jomo Mk3.

The Historic Formula One feature race was something of a disappointment after a 30-car grid at Monza dwindled to 17 for Brands, and that was down to 15 on the opening lap when Peter Meyrick and Katsu Kubota tangled their March 761s. Instead it was Rowland Kinch who backed up his Monza win with another victory in his Arrows A4 as the challenge from Joaquin Folch ended when his Brabham BT49C spun and retired.

An excellent Historic F2 field delivered two good races and it was the prodigious pace and commitment of young Andy Meyrick that finally broke the winning run of Matthew Watts. Meyrick fired his father’s March 782 to a dominant victory in the first race, but transmission failure on the grid for race two left him sidelined and allowed Watts to make it five wins from six races in the ex-Norman Dickson March 772.

Doug Hart steered his March 76S through the Can-Am pack to win the opening Orwell Supersports race, aided when long-time leader Richard Piper slowed his McLaren M8F with oil pressure woes. The second race was finally abandoned after Yvan Mahe’s BRM P154 charged the barriers at Clearways. Piper made amends by taking a double Derek Bell Trophy success in his Lola T332.

Other standout races included a round of the Classic Racing Car Championship, which incorporated the 1-litre F3 pack. But up front, the wing-less F2 Brabhams of Geoff Farmer and Ian Gray played out a contest of the highest standard. It was a truly sporting battle and Farmer needed all his experience to finally oust Gray from the lead.