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Mick Mooney with his Brabham BT23, to be driven by Tommy Reid, at Phoenix Park in 1967.  Copyright Stephen Mills 2014.  Used with permission.

Irish libre racing 1967

Ireland moved to a 1600cc class in 1967 with an All-Ireland Championship covering races north and south of the border. The quickest 1600cc car in Ireland in 1967 was Tommy Reid's Brabham BT23-twin cam but it arrived too late for Reid to feature in the title race which was a straight battle between 20-year-old John Watson whose father Marshall Watson, a Belfast Hillman dealer, had bought a two-year-old Brabham BT16-twin cam from Robs Lamplough to replace his Crosslé sports car, and Malcolm Templeton, the Ballymena Hillman dealer, who had retained his Brabham BT14-twin cam for a third season. Libre racing continued but the the 1600cc category was nearly always the feature race.

Going into the last race Templeton led on 58 pts from Watson on 56 but with Templeton having to drop one of his scores, Watson calculated that he needed only fifth place to win the title. So it would turn out; after Watson pitted to have a plug lead replaced, he scrambled back through the field to finish fifth, albeit fourth in the 1600cc class.

Other quick cars in Ireland included the factory Crosslé Type 12F, driven by John Crosslé and by John Pollock, the sister car of David Baird, Pollock's own Lotus 27/32/35 and the pair of ex-works Brabham BT18's of Kevin Murphy and Reg Armstrong.

The races

08 Apr 1967 > Sunday News Trophy at Kirkistown

20 May 1967 > Scratch Race for Racing cars up to 1600cc at Kirkistown

10 Jun 1967 > Bishopscourt

24 Jun 1967 > Kirkistown

15 Jul 1967 > Racing & Sport-Racing Car Scratch at Bishopscourt

22 Jul 1967 > Kirkistown

26 Aug 1967 > Kirkistown

02 Sep 1967 > Bishopscourt

17 Sep 1967 > Phoenix Park

23 Sep 1967 > Guards Trophy at Kirkistown

All-Ireland 1600cc Single-Seater Championship events shown in bold

1967 All-Ireland 1600cc Single-Seater Championship table

1John WatsonBrabham BT16 - Ford twin cam61 pts5 wins
2Malcolm TempletonBrabham BT14 - Ford twin cam59 pts3 wins
3John PollockLotus 27/32/35 - Ford twin cam
Crosslé 12F - Ford twin cam
25 pts 
4Kevin MurphyBrabham BT18 - Ford twin cam20 pts 
5Tommy ReidBrabham BT23 - Ford twin cam19 pts 
6=John CrossléCrosslé 12F - Ford twin cam16 pts 
6=Andrew FletcherBrabham BT18 - Ford twin cam16 pts 

This first championship was held over eight rounds with the best six results counting. The points system used appears to have been 8-7-6-5 with the Dunboyne Trophy and the Phoenix Park race counting double.

Points table from Irish Wheel Magazine Nov 1967 p35. Wheel also confirms that Tommy Reid's Brabham BT23 had a twin cam engine when it first appeared at Kirkistown on 23 August, not a FVA. Simon Thomas believes the FVA engine was not initially allowed in the national formula.

A new category of racing was introduced by the 500MRCI for 1967 to replace the ageing 1172cc Ford specials. Called Formula Impala, it was for open wheel single-seaters of any spcification but restricted to the 875cc Hillman Imp engine in standard production form. Full details of this formula are in Wheel Oct 1966 p25.