The 1970 Season
|For the 1970 season, as well as campaigning in D Production, Morton moved up to C Production, using the Mikuni/Solex carb/cam set-up. Pete Brock handed Monise's DP drive to John McComb. McComb had mixed it with the best of them on his way to a National SCCA title (A Sedan) at the wheel of a Ford Mustang in 1967. Whilst McComb, from Wichita, landed victory after victory in the SCCA's Mid-West division, resulting in BRE's second divisional championship, Morton was struggling to dominate C Production against the might of the factory Porsches and Triumphs. So desperate were the team and Nissan for Morton to land a place at the 1970 runoffs, that Brock headed East, to pick up points at Nationals on tracks they had never seen, let alone raced.|
John Morton (left) and John McComb (right)
Under SCCA rules, points from two results gained from races outside a driver's own division were eligible towards his/her overall points tally. The tactic to pick up points on the East Coast worked well enough.
CLICK BELOW FOR MORE ON BRE'S FORAY TO THE EAST COAST.
BRE GOES EAST
Late in the season, Morton was able to move over from the Roadster to BRE's recently developed 240Z, which he took to the Nationals. The 240Z was grouped in the same SCCA production class as the Mikuni/Solex 2000 Roadster, and a championship for the recently launched Z car would be far more prestigious for Nissan than a title won by the recently axed 2000. This time, Morton did not disappoint.
WHY C PRODUCTION FOR 1970?
It was a shrewd move of Brock's to move Morton up to C Production early in the 1970 season. Most race-goers found it difficult to understand why BRE were competing in the higher class, against factory Porsches, Triumphs and Lotus Elans, when the SU carb roadster was so dominant in D Production. This decision was put down to the fact that Nissan and Brock wanted the roadster to collect both C & D Production titles. The reality was that although Brock knew that the 240Z was destined for C Production, he needed time to develop the new model, having only taken delivery in January 1970. If Morton could gain sufficient points at the wheel of the roadster in the meantime, then he would have a chance of qualifying the Z for the ARRC - invitation to the runoffs was made to the driver not the car, provided that the driver had qualified in the appropriate SCCA class. The roadster proved successful enough against the competition to help gain Morton his ARRC place at Road Atlanta, resulting in Morton and BRE's first championship, courtesy of the 240Z.
MORTON IN D PRODUCTION, 1970
Concentrating on C Production meant that Morton's D Production challenge was not as strong as his efforts in 1969. His appearances in DP were less frequent than those of McComb, who was winning race after race. At the end of the 1970 season, however, Morton was still placed a creditable fourth in the Division and he was invited to the Runoffs at Road Atlanta as a reserve.
MORTON AT THE 1970 ARRC - FASTEST DP QUALIFIER BUT A NON-STARTER
At the Runoffs Morton posted an amazing qualifying time of 1.39.5, a full 1.2 seconds faster than Dan Parkinson and Brian Fuerstenau, the next fastest qualifiers. To underline Morton's domination the five next fastest qualifiers were all within just 1.1 seconds of each other. The sadness for Morton was that the as 4th in the Southern Pacific Division he was reliant on one of the three ahead of him in SP not making the grid. All three, including SP Champion and team-mate John McComb, qualified for the race, and Morton was not eligible to start.
Pete Brock: "John really feels for his cars. I'll never forget what he looked like when he put the Datsun 2000 on pole and then didn't get to race it and realized it was sold."
With Morton taking the title in the new 240Z, John McComb was aiming for the D Production title. This was not as important to Nissan/Datsun, because production of the 1600 and 2000 Roadsters had ceased earlier that year. However, over a 2 1/2 year period, Nissan had supplied major financial and technical support to the semi-works BRE roadster campaign, and expectations were high. There was therefore disappointment when McComb bowed out of the runoffs on the fifth lap, having qualified fifth, and having moved up to 2nd, when he broke an axle down the finishing straight.
However, McComb did place third in C Production in the #3 BRE 240Z behind John Morton and Bob Sharp, and Nissan were rewarded wih the DP title, at the hands of JIM FITZGERALD racing his own 2000 on his home track, with three other Datsun 2000 Roadsters coming home in the next four places.
GALLERY FROM THE 1970 SEASON
|H.A.I.R. - Both cars prepared for John Morton, #46 in C Production and #14 in D Production.|
|H.A.I.R. - John Morton on his way to the first win of the 1970 season in D Production. Dan Parkinson follows.|
|H.A.I.R. - Kirk Allegro does some last minute fettling to John Morton's DP car.|
|John Morton from a press photoshoot|
|1970 ARRC - D Production - the start.|
|1970 ARRC - D Production - McComb, currently in 5th place, chases Dan Parkinson.|
|Near miss before disaster struck - Fitzy nearly hits McComb at the ARRC. McComb was to retire on the next lap with a broken axle. Fitzy went on to win the D Production Championship|
My thanks indeed go to Peter Brock for assisting with these pages and for his enthusiasm towards this project. Credit for other information/images on this page goes to Dave Frellsen, Frank Cornell, Col. Joe Hauser, Nick England & Nissan Motorsports.
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These pages, unless otherwise stated, are copyright ©1999, 2000 & 2001, Rob Beddington & The Classic Fairlady Roadster Register. Do not redistribute in any form without the prior permission of the owner.