For this week’s Video of the Week we are going to go 35 years back. Yes, back all the way to 1969 for some great BBC footage of the British national saloon car championship from Crystal Palace. Above the race, you can hear commentary from Murry walker.
As the original poster of this video to YouTube stated, “this is a great video and I wish motorsport was a bit more like this these days and less technical and money orientated.” I can whole-heartedly agree with that.
1969 was the last year of Group 5 in Britain – and the last year of that plastic bomb called the Falcon Sprint. The rules had become a little more strict now – so no FVA engine in Cortinas or Escorts now, in line with the rest of Europe. Class divisions were like 1968 (0-1000 cc, 1000-1300 cc, 1300-2000 cc and over 2000 cc). Gardner had swapped the 16-valve head in his Escort for a pseudo-blown Twin Cam, which was fast but not fast enough to be champion. A more interesting engine was used at practice only – a 260 HP turbocharged TC. No, the champion would come from the smallest class, with the 1000 cc Mini of Alec Poole on top – neither the first nor the last time the little car would be champion. Chris Craft’s miserable start of the season only left him second in the championship. (Courtesy of History of Touring Car Racing.)