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Goodwood motor racing

Historic motor racing at Goodwood.

The 2004 Revival Meeting - A personal view

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I have attended all of the Revival Meetings at Goodwood, and the 2004 event was a real cracker. What follows are my opinions on the September 2004 running of this historic motor race, for pre-1966 classic road & track cars.

Well another Goodwood Revival meeting has been and gone, and yet again delivered against all of its pre-meeting promise and build up.

We went down on the Thursday as we've done for all previous Revivals, staying at a small B&B approximately 30 mins away. Given the less than glorious weather that our damp Isle has endured for much of the 'summer', I think few people expected the weather to be anything special - but how wrong were we!! From Friday through to Sunday the sun beat down, with clear blue skies and an occasional welcome breeze, giving everyone who attended a rare blast of sunshine.

Period apparel was the order of the day naturally for both of us, myself going decked out as a period mechanic with box brownie to hand, and a 1960s BOAC bag to cart around essential supplies (ie bottle of water and race programme), and dad in his Terry Thomas-esque caddish attire. Not everyone alas bothers to make any effort, which is letting the side down when the aim is to try and set a period scene, preferring baseball caps and lurid shirts. Surely such modern clothing could be reserved for attending modern events, and retro gear be found quite cheaply for such a nostalgic event like this? Fortunately plenty of people did dress up in period, with flowing dresses, tweedy jackets and stylish headgear much in evidence with the diehard followers of this fantastic event. If flat cap and tweeds are not really your thing, why not do as many people did and come dressed up as RAF officers, teddy boys, or leather clad bikers.

Friday was official practice day, with the paddocks opening to the public at 7am and an air display from the Old Flying Machine Company kicking off activities before the first official practice at 9am. Interspersed with track demonstrations, aerial displays by the OFMC and some 1950s jets, the Practice/Qualifying sessions for the following days' races took part, the last of which finished sometime after 5pm. The motor races due to run over the weekend were as follows:

Goodwood Trophy
A 12 lapper for Grand Prix, F2 and Formula Libre cars which would have raced 1948-1954. There was a strong entry for this class, with examples of Connaught, Alfa Romeo, ERA, Maserati and Talbot Lago particularly catching my eye in the assorted line-up.

Madgwick Cup
Named after the first corner of the Goodwood Circuit, this also was a 12 lapper for pre-1955 production sports racing cars, this year entrants were all powered by BMW-derived engines. This meant a strong line-up of BMW 328, Frazer Nash Le Mans Rep, Kieft & Veritas sports cars vying with other BMW powered racing cars on this classic track on Saturday morning.

Chichester Cup
With Chichester and its cathedral only a short hop away from this racing track, it seems only fitting to have a race named after this city. The Chichester Cup comprised a grid made up of drum-braked Formula Junior cars, of the type that would have been seen at race meetings in the 1958 - 1961 era. There was a huge variety of these little tiddlers out on track, with both well known (Cooper, Elva, Lola and Lotus) marques mixing it with some less well known racing machines such as the Melkus-Wartburg, Nota-Ford, Wainer-Fiat and the Deep Sanderson-Ford to just name a few. One of the strengths of the Goodwood Revival weekend is this great array of machinery within each category, sourced from many corners of the world to take part in this unique event.

Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy
Barry was a popular racer at earlier Revival meetings, and it only seemed fitting that the bike race should be named after him now that he's no longer with us. This years race was run over two days, for 350cc and 500cc motorcycles that raced between 1962 - 1966. This meant a very large grid, packed with mouthwatering makes and models of classic motorcycle. Manx Nortons were much in evidence, one of which was pedalled by Wayne Gardner against Jamie Whitham on a similar machine. Further down the field there were examples of Benelli, Gilera, Linto (which I think lunched its engine in the first heat), Aermacchi, Matchless G50, and a BMW RS54 brought over by the BMW Mobile Tradition arm of BMW.

St. Mary's Trophy
This was another race split into two parts, and one was of the most eagerly awaited (certainly by me anyway!). This grid comprised saloon car racers from 1950-1959, a slightly different era compared to previous Revival meetings, and allowed for a really diverse selection of cars on the track, many of which were not cars that are often seen with racing numbers on the doors. There were Alfa Romeo Giuliettas, single examples of Alvis Grey Lady (which went very well indeed) and an Armstrong Siddeley, Jaguar MK1s and Mk7s, Austin A35s (one of which won heat 2), Standard Tens (going much better than my leisurely '57 road example), an A40 Farina joined by a pre-Farina A105 Westminster, BMW 502 V8, 2 stroke DKWs, Ford 100E (going very well with its tuned 1172cc engine), a Mk2 Zodiac (which ended its race doing a gentle barrel roll in the Madgwick gravel below where we sat), a brace of MG Magnettes, a sole Lincoln, and even a rear engined V8 Tatra, to name just a few. This for me was the race of the weekend, and I for one enjoyed this earlier time frame, without the often seen Lotus Cortinas, MK2 Jaguars and Cooper S Minis cleaning up.

Brooklands Trophy
This race was a 10 lapper for the wildly charismatic Brooklands-era machines, comprising a grid whose total value would have been well into the many £millions. I take my (flat) cap off to the well healed owners that actually use these cars as they were meant to be used, and accept that things will break and, in some unfortunate cases, get severely bent. This race featured a healthy selection of Alfa Romeo 8C Monzas, Tipo B P3s, Bugatti Type 35s, a pair of Lea Francis Hyper sportscars (one piloted by its 93 year old, ex Brooklands, driver), and a pair of lively Morgan Aeros. Other makes and models also featured, perhaps most notably Bentley and Mercedes Benz, one-time rivals at Le Mans in the late 20s and early 30s. Bentley was represented by the Birking single seater, Barnato Hassan Special, Pacey Hassan Special, and the glorious Old Mother Gun. Award for most incredible exhaust note must surely go to the aero engined contingent, with overall laurels going to the red Napier Bentley, all 24 litres of it, emitting a cracking and banging noise that would have disturbed squirrels half a mile away. Mercedes was there in force too with examples of 710 SSK, 710 SS Rennsport and SSKL all to be seen out in action.

Continued in Goodwood Revival Part 2 >>


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