Rupert Keegan in the Charles Clowes Arrows A1 at Brands Hatch in August 1979.  Copyright David Bishop 2018.  Used with permission.

Aurora AFX Championship 1979

The Surtees F1 team dropped down to Aurora for 1979, joining RAM Racing who had three Fittipaldi F5As, Charles Clowes Racing who had the latest Arrows A1s, Melchester Racing with a pair of Tyrrell 008s and Theodore Racing's Wolf WR3 and WR4. Emilio de Villota had also upgraded and bought a Lotus 78, Giacomo Agostini joined the series with a pair of Williams FW06s and Graham Eden had the brand new Chevron B41. Everything was set for a fabulous season, and that's exactly how it worked out. David Kennedy won the opening two races in Wolf WR4 and Guy Edwards the third in his Fittipaldi, but once Rupert Keegan had settled into his Arrows A1, he and de Villota shared the next seven races between them before Kennedy bounced back with a win at Mallory Park.

Going into the final races, Kennedy led the races by seven points after three wins, Keegan was next with 56 points after five wins, and de Villota was one point behind him after four wins. In a thrilling finale in the rain at Silverstone, first de Villota spun out, then Kennedy ended up in the catch-fencing after an attempt to pass Keegan, and then Keegan had to fight back past Geoff Lees' Wolf to take the six points he needed to snatch the title. Gordon Smiley took the race deservedly in the Surtees, but Keegan was champion. Could it get any better than this?

The races

01 Apr 1979 > Zolder

13 Apr 1979 > Oulton Park

07 May 1979 > Mallory Park

20 May 1979 > Snetterton

28 May 1979 > Thruxton

04 Jun 1979 > Zandvoort

24 Jun 1979 > Donington Park

30 Jun 1979 > Oulton Park

08 Jul 1979 > Nogaro

29 Jul 1979 > Mallory Park

26 Aug 1979 > Brands Hatch

09 Sep 1979 > Thruxton

23 Sep 1979 > Snetterton

07 Oct 1979 > Silverstone

1979 Aurora AFX Championship table

1Rupert Keegan(F1) Arrows A1 - Cosworth DFV V865 pts5 wins
2David Kennedy(F1) Wolf WR3 - Cosworth DFV V8
(F1) Wolf WR4 - Cosworth DFV V8
(F1) Wolf WR6 - Cosworth DFV V8
63 pts3 wins
3Emilio de Villota(F1) Lotus 78 - Cosworth DFV V855 pts4 wins
4Bernard de Dryver(F1) Fittipaldi F5A - Cosworth DFV V841 pts 
5Guy Edwards(F1) Fittipaldi F5A - Cosworth DFV V840 pts 
6Ricardo Zunino(F1) McLaren M23 - Cosworth DFV V8
(F1) Arrows A1 - Cosworth DFV V8
39 pts1 win
7DesirĂ© Wilson(F1) Tyrrell 008 - Cosworth DFV V828 pts 
8Giacomo Agostini(F1) Williams FW06 - Cosworth DFV V819 pts 
9Gordon Smiley(F1) Tyrrell 008 - Cosworth DFV V8
(F1) McLaren M23 - Cosworth DFV V8
(F1) Surtees TS20/TS20+ - Cosworth DFV V8
18 pts1 win
10Tiff Needell(F1) Chevron B41 - Cosworth DFV V8
(F1) Ensign N177 - Cosworth DFV V8
7 pts 

Previous: the 1978 season

Next: the 1980 season

The championship was held over 15 rounds using a 9-6-4-3-2-1 points system, plus 2 points for pole position and 1 point for fastest lap. Points table from Autocourse 1979/80 p232.