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Bill Gubelmann in his championship-winning March 722 at Snetterton in May 1972.  Copyright Mike Dixon 2012.  Used with permission.

British Formula Atlantic 1972

The 1972 Atlantic season started with grids of older machinery but Bill Gubelmann got his March 722 sorted and won two races. Reigning champion Vern Schuppan also acquired a March and 1971 runner-up Cyd Williams also got one to replace Graham Eden's 1971 Chevron. John Nicholson's Lyncar 002 was competitive but its unreliable replacement 003 dropped him out of contention. John Lepp's Chevron B20 and Mike Walker's works Ensign put in the odd competitive appearance and two Royales took pole positions but little else. With so many new cars, entries were often over-subscribed, a novelty for British racing at this time.

The season turned into an epic battle battle between Williams and Gubelmann. After 19 races, with just two to go, Williams had won eight races to Gubelmann's four but the American had a string of second places to boost his points total. With a six-point lead and a new March 722, Williams looked odds-on but Gubelmann won the penultimate race from his rival and then pipped him again at the final race, by just 0.8s, to take the title.

After the 1971 title had been won with a Ford twin-cam, BDA engines completely took over in 1972. However, there was a nasty and protracted controversy over the legality of these engines in the series, which led to Chris Meek winning at Snetterton on 7 May with a BDA engine everyone felt to be illegal, and being disqualified. Meek was sick of the interpretation of loose rules by other competitors, so deliberately flouted the regulations; his pole time was 1.2 seconds ahead of previous front-runner Gubelmann. Then at Mallory Park on 29 May and at Silverstone on 10 June Meek then turned up with a Ford twin cam back in his car, claiming it was the only legal engine in the field. The legitimacy of his original contention about the loose framing of the regulations was demonstrated when he was re-instated as Snetterton winner by an RAC tribunal.

The races

05 Mar 1972 > Brands Hatch

18 Mar 1972 > Oulton Park

19 Mar 1972 > Silverstone

26 Mar 1972 > Mallory Park

31 Mar 1972 > Snetterton

03 Apr 1972 > Brands Hatch

16 Apr 1972 > Brands Hatch

30 Apr 1972 > Mallory Park

07 May 1972 > Snetterton

28 May 1972 > Brands Hatch

29 May 1972 > Mallory Park

11 Jun 1972 > Silverstone

18 Jun 1972 > Mallory Park

25 Jun 1972 > Brands Hatch

09 Jul 1972 > Snetterton

22 Jul 1972 > Oulton Park

30 Jul 1972 > Brands Hatch

06 Aug 1972 > Croft

27 Aug 1972 > Mallory Park

28 Aug 1972 > Silverstone

10 Sep 1972 > Brands Hatch

30 Sep 1972 > Oulton Park

15 Oct 1972 > Brands Hatch

21 Oct 1972 > Yellow Pages Trophy Race at Brands Hatch

26 Dec 1972 > Brands Hatch

Yellow Pages Formula Atlantic Championship events shown in bold

1972 Yellow Pages Formula Atlantic Championship table

1Bill GubelmannMarch 722 - Ford BDA Hart105 pts6 wins
2Cyd WilliamsChevron B18C - Ford BDA Eden
March 722 - Ford BDA Eden
102 pts8 wins
3John NicholsonLyncar 002 - Ford BDA Piper
Lyncar 003 - Ford BDA Piper
52 pts1 win
4Bob SalisburyBrabham BT30 - Ford BDA Hart
Brabham BT35 - Ford BDA Hart
46 pts 
5Vern SchuppanMarch 722 - Ford BDA Richardson44 pts2 wins
6Chris MeekMarch 712M - Ford BDA BRM
Brabham BT38 - Ford BDA BRM
40 pts1 win
7John LeppChevron B20 - Ford BDA Richardson33 pts1 win
8Peter WardleLotus 69 - Ford BDA Eden33 pts 
9Mike WalkerEnsign LNFB - Ford BDA Smith12 pts1 win
10Jonny DimsdaleLotus 69 - Ford BDA RES11 pts 

Previous: the 1971 season

Next: the 1973 season

The other race was won by Clive Santo in his Palliser 'WDB4'. Four non-championship races are also included above, two won by Williams, one by Schuppan and one by Tom Pryce in the rarely-seen Royale RP12.

Had there been a constructors' title, it would have been won comfortably by March, from Brabham, Chevron, Lyncar and Lotus.

Points table from Autosport 26 October 1972 p6.