Phil Dowsett sits in his March 81A on the front row of the Grid at Oulton Park, April 1981.  No 22 is Richard Hawkins in the Ralt RT1, No 3 is Ian Taylor's Tiga FA81, partly obscured behind Dowsett is Mark Thatcher in the Ehrlich RP5A and the No 15 is the sister Ehrlich RP5B of Ian Flux.  Copyright Alan Cox 2010.  Used with permission.

British Formula Atlantic 1981

With the F1 series suspended, Formula Atlantic grew back slightly in 1981, gaining an extra round and grid sizes rose slightly to an average of just under 12. It also reclaimed its 1979 champion, Ray Mallock, who had suffered a fairly disastrous season of British F1 in 1980 and returned to Formula Atlantic for 1981 with a new Ralt RT4/81. Mallock won all ten of the races that he finished, retiring in two others and skipping the other four rounds. He also won eight pole positions and set fastest laps in ten of those twelve races. Some completion came from Atlantic regular Alo Lawler, returning with his Ralt RT4/80, who took three pole positions in the early races before splitting from expert preparer Peter Harris and losing some of his competitiveness.

Also in a brand new car was 1980 runner up Phil Dowsett but his March 81A did not work out of the box like the Ralts. Once the March was sorted, he finished the season as Mallock's closest competitor and won at Snetterton and at Brands Hatch in August. The Ehrlich team continued with an upgraded version of their RP5 for Ian Flux - who won at Brands Hatch on 3 May. The final race winner was David Duffield who led home a field of just five cars at the Ingliston race.

The races

15 Mar 1981 > Brands Hatch

05 Apr 1981 > Mallory Park

17 Apr 1981 > Oulton Park

19 Apr 1981 > Brands Hatch

20 Apr 1981 > Brands Hatch

03 May 1981 > Brands Hatch

04 May 1981 > Silverstone

25 May 1981 > Brands Hatch

05 Jul 1981 > International Formula Atlantic Race at Donington Park

12 Jul 1981 > Mallory Park

26 Jul 1981 > The Akai Atlantic Challenge Race at Ingliston

09 Aug 1981 > Snetterton

30 Aug 1981 > Brands Hatch

31 Aug 1981 > Brands Hatch

20 Sep 1981 > Thruxton

17 Oct 1981 > Oulton Park

MCD British Formula Atlantic Championship events shown in bold

1981 MCD British Formula Atlantic Championship table

1Ray MallockRalt RT4/81 - Ford BDA98 pts9 wins
2Alo LawlerRalt RT4/80 - Ford BDA82 pts2 wins
3Phil DowsettMarch 81A - Ford BDA58 pts2 wins
4Ian FluxEhrlich RP5B - Ford BDA41 pts1 win
5David DuffieldRalt RT4/80 - Ford BDA32 pts1 win

See also Jeremy Shaw's season review in Autosport 17 Dec 1981 pp24-25. The points table has been constructed from the results but fastest laps are known for only 14 of the 16 races; eight for Mallock, three for Lawler, two for Dowsett and one for David Duffield at Ingliston.