..The Wendy Wools brand became the new sponsor for the BARC's national special saloon championship for the 1978 season. The association between the two had begun back in 1972 when the brand ,owned by Carter and Parker Ltd sponsored the BARC-Yorkshire championship. In fact the Guiseley-based company's Managing and Marketing Director Peter Griffin was also a leading BARC-Y race and rally official. The association at national level would last 10 seasons and the Wendy Wools brand would become synonymous with UK special saloon racing.

The championship was actually 2 parallel championships for cars up to 1000cc and for cars over. Each split just into 2 divisions to help healthy grids. The over 1000cc championship was for cars up to 1300cc and those over 1300cc but only up to 2500cc which effectively precluded those V6 and V8 big banger supersaloons. The up to 1000cc cars ,mostly Minis and Imps ,were split with a class for up to 850cc cars.

The national championship was already long established and the new sponsors replaced 'Forward Trust' after their 5 years of support. The prize money was £45 for each class winner per race ,which is about £250 in today's money and as before equal points per class meant smaller-engined cars could win the championships outright.

The first round was at BARC's home circuit at Thruxton and a familiar car and driver claimed it ,Tony Sugden in the old Tony Hazelwood DAF V8 ,now rebranded a Volvo 66 and in keeping with the rules with a 2-litre Swindon BDX. However the big class would become dominated by one man ,Tony Dickinson from Boston would win the 'big' class for the next 5 seasons ( 1978-82 ) in Skodas with backing from Skoda UK.

His car for '78 was the Ray Jessop-built Skoda coupe formerly raced with success in 1975 by Alec Poole and now exploiting the new Brian Hart 420R F2 engine. Dickinson appeared at all 15 rounds winning 7 and gaining points in 12 to win the class. Runner-up in class was another underrated driver Graham Goode ,class winner in '74 and '76,he took 4 rounds in his Escort BDG. Oulton-specialist Derek Walker won 2 rounds also in an Escort BDA. Dale Minton took 2nd at the Brands Hatch round in an Anglia ,the family switching later to an Escort which they still campaign in the CSCC series today.

Dickinson though was pipped to the overall title by Alan Humberstone ( IMP-BDA ) who fought off the Mini Clubmans of Peter Baldwin, Dave Carvell and the Datsun of Martin Pearson. 4 class wins in the final 5 rounds doubled his wins tally to clinch it.

Brian Prebble from Southampton won the 1000cc Championship in his rapid Hartwell Imp which placed highly overall when both championships ran in the same race.

For 1979 Tony Dickinson kept ahead of the opposition with a brand new lighter weight Skoda and by focusing again on a full season won the class by a huge margin and the only time he would take the overall championship. This despite the opposition stepping up efforts with Tony Sugden and Jim Price in their Price Road Haulage Chevron-based Skodas .Others included Rob Mason in the Stiletto-Ford and the Alan Smith Escort. Dickinson lowered the class record at Thruxton with 101mph laps with the championship expanding to 8 venues over 17 rounds. In the 1300cc class reigning champion Humberstone was building a new car so Peter Baldwin and Steve Pengelly were top dogs with Baldwin taking yet another class win in what was a long career. In the 1000 championship Roger Gill ( Hartwell Imp ) from the 850 class continued that tuning firm's run with overall honours ,Bill McGovern won the 1000 class in George Bevan's version. Imps were so prevalent that for example at Silverstone 15 of the 18 1000cc cars entered were Imps.

1980 saw Tony Dickinson again dominated the 2500cc class but found fewer class opponents this time. Often winning races by comfortable margins he had to drop points at some races due to less than 4 class starters and his tally of 59 was overhauled by 1300 champion Peter Baldwin for the outright title with 66. Not that Baldwin won by any default as he was simply the fastest 1300 man in the country against more numerous opposition. His iconic black Marshall Mini Clubman silhouette was originally built by Reg Ward and once Baldwin had sorted his demon 190-odd bhp engine he won 31 races in 1979 and 31 again in 1980 winning the Wendy Wools and also the final ( unsponsored ) BRSCC championship too ! A true special saloon king with hundreds of races on a par with those other prolific men such as Gerry Marshall ,Tony Sugden and Rod Birley to mention a few.

The 1000 championship contenders often ran in the same race as the 1000+ cars for good grid numbers and again a south coast-based Imp man won out. Bournemouth's Brian Cutting ( Maguire Stiletto ) won the 1300 class and Barry Reece ( Mini ) won the 850 ,both finished on 61 points with the latter awarded the overall on a tie break.

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