Tricentrol British Saloon Car Championship

Double Happy - 1981 index

What do you remember about Tricentrol this year? Win Percy's second successive Champion­ship win, and the way he won from the front in the Mazda RX7? Or perhaps you fondly recall Jon Dooley's tight-knit team of amateur Alfa Romeo enthusiasts, and the way his little Alfasud fought off the might of the BL-backed Metros. Then of course there was the arrival of the V8 Rover, which in 1981 became a consistent winner and entered territory the Capri alone had thought to roam. Which is where the fireside reminiscences turn gloomy, for the subjugation of the Capri was not a pleasant business. Instead of being confined to the race track, it more than once hung-over into the night whilst embittered combatants protested and squabbled over their respective machinery. And if it wasn't the cars, then there was always the Tires to moan about, with gentleman's agreements on qualifying Tires being reached and forgotten in the space of a weekend. Thanks to the consistently close, spectacular races, the Tricentrol Champion­ship was confirmed as providing the best racing to be seen in this country.

The grids for all eleven races were full and the only rotten apple in the barrel was of course, the 1601 - 2500cc class which was again dominated by Percy and the 2.3 Mazda. However, the lack of competition was almost his downfall, for until Mazda themselves bolstered the entry Percy was unable to score full points. For the first half of the season the championship overall was led by Dooley, whose competitiveness and standard of preparation enabled him to score points at every round. His task in the 1300cc class was not an easy one though and the outright title slipped from his grasp after the Grand Prix meeting, but at least he took the class crown.

At the penultimate round, Percy announced his retirement with the lack of time and money given as the reason, and then missed the last race when TWR withdrew the car in a gesture of dissatisfaction with the RAC's regulations. The close season would appear to be good time for the RAC to go over some of its rules and procedures, especially the one which saw cars released by the scrutineers at the Championship finale called back following protests, in a condition obviously different to their racing specifications. As the Rovers increasingly outpaced the Capris, the drivers of the latter clutched at straws - like cantilever section Tires. This particular construction of Dunlop tyre was apparently tested successfully on Capris, but took a long time to go into production. "The Capri Committee" as it is known, claimed that this was because a certain party was holding back their distribution until the tyre was available in Rover sizes. Then when the cantilever did arrive, it proved barely satisfactory anyway and did not give the Capri the expected new lease of life... (Motoring News)

The races:

The cars

Final classification

British Touring Car Championship