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British Empire Trophy Meeting

Donington Park National Circuit, Derby, Great-Britain

Date: 7/8/1977
Track length: 3.149 m
Entries accepted:

Pole position: Dron in 1.24,8 (C-D); Pepper (A-B)
Fastest lap: Dron in 1.25,2 (C-D); Lloyd in 1.29,6 (A-B)

Distance: 15 laps
Average speed: 130,78 kmh (C-D); 122,60 kmh (A-B)
Ruleset: Group 1B
Car info: 1977 Cars


Class C and D
This latest Tricentrol championship round was to be crucial with Tony Dron just 3 points behind Bernard Unett in the drivers' championship while just 6 points separated Ford at the top of the Manufacturers table from Chrysler and Triumph. Mid week testing nearly proved disastrous for Ralph Broad's Leyland Dolomite because, whilst trying a new brake pad material, Dron arrived down the flat out swerves approaching the Old Hairpin with only a soft brake pedal. His training car thudded into the concrete barriers and was wrecked while Dron heavily bruised his right foot and had to undergo intensive treatment with the Nottingham Forest FC physiotherapist in order to make the race. Nevertheless the talented Dron captured pole with a devastating 1.24,8 in the first session which was only equalled in the second session by Stuart Graham's Capri. Vince Woodman's Capri occupied the other front row position.
From pole Dron made no mistake and despite his heavily bandaged right foot he sped away right from the start, breaking his own class record by 0.2s in the tricky conditions. For the first two laps Colin Vandervell's Capri, which had made an excellent start, lay second ahead of a snapping eight car train which saw Woodman demoted on successive laps by Marshall and Chris Craft. Craft's Capri soon ousted Marshal as Woodman repassed the Magnum on the third lap while Tom Walkinshaw's BMW 530i started to attack. Craft slipped past Vandervell into second place on lap three and pulled away as Vandervell came under heavy pressure from Woodman.
With Craft firmly ensconced in second place until the end, a steady three to four seconds behind Dron, all eyes focused on the seven car dice for third led tenuously by Vandervell from Woodman, Marshall, Walkinshaw, Spice, Percy, Graham and a fading Phil Dowsett whose Capri was oversteering badly but was managing to hold off the Magnums of Holman Blackburn and Jeff Allam, Walkinshaw ousted Marshall on lap four, the DTV driver fading as his car began to understeer, and four laps later the Scottish BMW driver had passed Vandervell and together with Woodman and Spice they had pulled away from the others. Stuart Graham only lasted until lap twelve because clutch problems sent his Capri back through the pack. The force of changing gear with no clutch broke his gear lever at about the same time as Walkinshaw pulled away into a good third place while the unfortunate Woodman had retired at half distance with his second engine losing oil pressure in two days. Spice had also departed from the fray with a broken prop shaft on his bitza (after the ravages of Spa) Capri and Vandervell in fourth place was coming under increasing pressure from Percy by three quarters distance.
Then we saw the reason why because Vandervell's Capri slowed with a puncture promoting Percy into fourth but he was being rapidly caught by a resurgent Allam who, after a barging match with Blackburn, passed Dowsett and Marshall. Just a second lay between Percy's fourth place and Allam at the and, the Samuri driver missing a gear and dropping a valve in his haste on the last lap.

Class A and B
This race had to be stopped after the first lap when Alan Curnow's Mini rolled down the hill at Craner Curves after touching with Richard Lloyd's Golf. Thankfully Curnow was uninjured but his car was rolled into a ball, Lloyd damaging the near side of his Golf which had lost first gear at the start and was consequently slow away. At the restart Martin Brundle's Celica again led Brian Pepper's pole position Scirocco, Richard Longman's Mini and Bernard Unett's Avenger. By lap five Brundle was pulling away from Pepper who was recaught by Longman and Unett. Three laps later Pepper had stopped with a holed piston while Brundle only lasted as far as Redgate before his timing slipped. Thus the expected 1300 cc class battle between Longman and Unett came to the fore. Unett had gained the ascendancy on lap five and four laps later the pair touched at Park Chicane, Longman losing ground as Unett tore away with bollards wedged under his car. The 2s gap gradually dwindled in the exciting chase and as they crossed the line to start the last lap, there was nothing in it. Coming into Redgate Unett clipped the grass on the inside as usual while Longman took a wide entry and a tight exit, pulling alongside Unett who was nudged on to the grass. Despite a protest about his driving Longman took a long overdue class victory.
Richard Lloyd drove an equally creditable race having been placed sixth on lap one before coming into the pits to have some bodywork repaired. His exciting climb through the field, during which he broke Pepper's record, saw him take Peter Hilliard's grass cutting Alfetta just two laps before the finish.

Touring Cars class C-D
Pos Pos in class # Team / Entrant
Car- Engine
Drivers, Nationality Engine
vol. (cc)
Group Distance,
Qualifying position Qualifying time Fastest lap Reason out,
1 1 28 British Leyland
Triumph Dolomite Sprint
Tony Dron, GB
1998 L4 C 20 laps, 28.43,6 1 1.24,8 1.25,2  
2 1 7 Hammonds Sauce Group
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Chris Craft, GB
2993 V6 D 20 laps, 28.46,2        
3 2 10 BMW racing with Castrol
BMW 530i US
Tom Walkinshaw, GB
2985 L6 D 20     1.25,4  
4 3 3 Samuri Racing with Bradshaw Hire Plant
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Win Percy, GB
2993 V6 D 20       Dropped valve
5 2 33 Allam Motor Services
Vauxhall Firenza Magnum 2300
Jeff Allam, GB
2279 L4 C 20        
6 3 35 Dealer Team Vauxhall Castrol
Vauxhall Firenza Magnum 2300
Gerry Marshall, GB
2279 L4 C 20        
  4 5 Nu-Luxe Foam with Draka Foam
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Phil Dowsett, GB
2993 V6 D          
  4 22 Napolina Alfa Romeo Dealer Team
Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV
Jon Dooley, GB
1962 L4 C          
    15 Triplex
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Colin Vandervell, GB
2993 V6 D         Puncture
    37 Hermetite Products
Vauxhall Firenza Magnum 2300
Holman “Les” Blackburn, GB
2279 L4 C          
DNF?   8 Fabergé Racing
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Stuart Graham, GB
2993 V6 D   2 1.24,8   Clutch/gear lever
DNF   2 Team Esso Uniflo
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Vince Woodman, GB
2993 V6 D 10 3     Oil pressure
DNF   1 Gordon Spice Group
Ford Capri II 3.0S
Gordon Spice, GB
2993 V6 D         Propshaft

Touring Cars class A-B
Pos Pos in class # Team / Entrant
Car- Engine
Drivers, Nationality Engine
vol. (cc)
Group Distance,
Qualifying position Qualifying time Fastest lap Reason out,
1 1 75 Patrick Motor Group
Mini 1275 GT
Richard Longman, GB
1275 L4 A 20 laps, 30.50,0        
2 2 66 Mopar All Make Parts and Accessories
Chrysler Avenger 1300 GT
Bernard Unett, GB
1295 L4 A 20     1.30,4  
3 1 46  
Richard Lloyd, GB
1588 L4 B 20 laps, 31.08,6     1.29,6  
4 2 42 Napolina Alfa Romeo Dealer Team
Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT
Peter Hilliard, GB
1570 L4 B 20        
5 3 63 Napolina Alfa Romeo Dealer Team
Alfa Romeo Alfasud Ti
Rex Greenslade, GB
1286 B4 A 20        
6 4 71 Squadra Alfa
Alfa Romeo Alfasud Ti
Nigel Rosser
1286 B4 A 20        
DNF   69 Patrick Motor Group
Mini 1275 GT
Alan Curnow, GB
1275 L4 A         Accident
DNF   47 Access Equipment Ltd.
VW Scirocco GTI
Brian Pepper, GB
1588 L4 B 8 1      
DNF   41 John Brundle Motors Ltd.
Toyota Celica GT
Martin Brundle, GB
1588 L4 B         Timing belt