British Sprint Championship 1978

David Franklin bought a March 772/782 for 1978, a car built new for him by March using a Formula 2 772 monocoque and F2 BMW engine but with the front radiator and nose from the Formula 1 771. With this he took on both the British Hill Climb Championship and the British Sprint Championship, the first time anyone had seriously attempted it. He won all his first six sprint events but missed two rounds, so by the time he wrapped up the hillclimb title at Doune on 24 September, he had only 64 points in the sprint title table, well behind the consistent Dave Harris on 75 points. But with only the best eight scores to count, Harris could only improve his score by two even if he won the two remaining rounds, whereas Franklin was still capable of reaching a maximum score of 80.

Franklin's 2-litre March could not compete with the 5-litre cars on the straightline blasts at Brighton and Weston, so after only finishing seventh behind the heavy brigade at Brighton, Franklin borrowed Terry Smith's powerful Brabham-Repco BT35X at Weston, and placed third behind Smith and Harris. Franklin then showed the superiority of the March in the corners with a win at Talbenny to clinch the sprint title by just three points.

The races

01 Apr 1978 > Oulton Park

09 Apr 1978 > Yeovilton

30 Apr 1978 > Curborough

20 May 1978 > Wellesbourne

04 Jun 1978 > Curborough

18 Jun 1978 > Longridge

16 Jul 1978 > Blackpool

30 Jul 1978 > Colerne

05 Aug 1978 > Wellesbourne

20 Aug 1978 > Blackbushe

02 Sep 1978 > Oulton Park

09 Sep 1978 > Brighton Speed Trials

07 Oct 1978 > Weston-Super-Mare Speed Trials

15 Oct 1978 > Talbenny

RAC British Sprint Championship events shown in bold

1978 RAC British Sprint Championship table

1David FranklinMarch 772/782 - BMW Euroracing
Brabham BT35X - Repco V8
78 pts7 wins
2Dave HarrisMcRae GM1 - Chevrolet Smith V875 pts3 wins
3Alan RichardsMarch 742/772 - Cosworth FVC68 pts 
4Terry SmithBrabham BT35X - Repco V8
March 772/782 - BMW Euroracing
58 pts2 wins
5Allan HumphriesMarch 762 - Hart 421R39 pts 
6David RenderLotus 77 - Cosworth DFV V835 pts 
7Ted WilliamsMarch 772 - Hart 420R33 pts 
8Johnty WilliamsonMcLaren M14A - Chevrolet V832 pts 
9Simon RileyBrabham BT33 - Cosworth DFV V828 pts 
10Paul EdwardsBrabham BT38 - Cosworth BDE26 pts 
11Rob TurnbullRalt RT1 - Hart 420R18 pts 
12Clive BraceyVebra Mk1 - Chevrolet turbo16 pts 
13Bob ClaphamSurtees TS8 - Chevrolet V814 pts 
14Richard LesterMarch 73B - Ford12 pts 
15=Alan NewtonHuron SS20A - Ford twin cam11 pts 
15=Noel le TissierChevron B32 - Chevrolet V811 pts 
15=Geoff BreakellChevron B23 - Cosworth FVC11 pts 
18Peter RileyMarch 722 - Cosworth FVA10 pts 
19John McCartneyBRM P153 - BRM P142 V129 pts 
20John HinleyLola T332C - Chevrolet V87 pts 

The points system for the championship remained the same as that used for the Hill Climb championship, awarding 10 points for the fastest time in the runoff, then 9 for second and on down to one point for tenth place (R.A.C Motor Sport Year Book 1976 p102).