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Goodwood motor racing

Historic motor racing at Goodwood.

The 2004 Revival Meeting - A personal view Pt.2

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Race meeting review continued..

Sussex Trophy
The 14 lap Sussex Trophy race encompassed World championship sports cars, and production sports racers, which were popular in motor sport from the mid to late 1950s. This race has been a favourite at Revival meetings since 1998, and saw a familiar grid of Aston Martin DBR1, various Ferraris, D Type Jaguars, Listers Jaguars, Maseratis and other similar sporting chariots of the era. Ernest Nagamatsu was there with his well known Ol' Yeller II Buick-powered sportscar, although sadly he crunched it rather substantially. Fortunately he walked away from the bent car, and received a check up with the circuit medical team to ensure no lasting damage.

Freddie March Memorial Trophy
Sundays first race of the day ran with sports cars that featured in the Nine Hours races at Goodwood between 1952-1955. In fact, the guy who owned my old racing transporter (Dennis Poore), co-drove to win the final running of this event in an Aston DB3S back in '55. Several DB3Ss were out in this race, as were Austin Healeys, various Ferraris, C Type Jaguars, HWM-Jaguars, a clutch of Maserati A6GCS racing cars, and a Lancia D24 recreation. One Ferrari in particular took it very easy, as in all the previous years, and we did wonder whether much attempt at racing was being made, or if it was more a nice day out for a drive. With all historic race meetings there is going to be a huge difference in terms of driver ability, bravery, car performance and so on, but one or two entrants show little sign of attempting to race, and seem content to be lapped routinely as they drive quite slowly, for the most part in top gear.

I'd have thought, as a spectator rather than competitor myself however, that cars obviously driving way below the pace of front running cars would be a hazard to other racing drivers, a mobile chicane if you like. If this was a one-off, then mechanical maladies could be suspected, in which case cars usually pull off and retire, but one or two entrants are consistently leisurely in their approach to 'racing' year on year, and we did wonder if these drivers could make more of a push to at least look like they are competing, improving the spectacle for the paying punters and perhaps being less of a roadblock on the track?

I'm sure if Enzo was looking down, he would like to see these cars been driven more like racing cars too.

Richmond & Gordon Trophies
One for fans of front engined vs rear engined Formula One cars, from the classic 1954-1961 era, this race featured a broad variety of racing machines, illustrating how quickly technologies changed and moved on over this 7 year period. Representing the 'old school' approach was the recreated Lancia D50, Maserati 250F, Ferrari 555 Super Squalo, and a pair of Connaught B Types, all with their front engined traditional layouts. The Aston DBR4 was really a last gasp attempt at running a front engined GP car, but by 1959 the rear engined tiddlers had taken over, as demonstrated in this race by a smattering of rear engined Coopers and various Lotus cars. For ultimate pace is was clear that rear engined was the logical way forward, but for style out on the track, a well driven 250F takes a lot of beating, Martin Stretton driving the Maserati owned by Jose Albuquerque with great aplomb and panash.

Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration
Another great favourite with the crowds, the 1hr race for closed cockpit GT cars, similar to those that ran in RAC TT events in the early sixties, delivered a great battle of the classic sports cars from yesteryear. The winning car, for the second year, was the low slung Iso Bizarrini A3C as driven by Richard Attwood and Mark Hales, in this 2 driver race. Throughout the field was a truly jaw dropping selection of classic sports cars, all being driven as their designers intended. If you like to see AC Cobras (including Shelby Le Mans & Willment coupes), E Types, 250GT and other V12 Ferraris thundering around the track, alongside Sting Rays and the unique Aston Martin Project 212, then you should have been at Goodwood on Sunday 5th September!

Glover Trophy
Rear engines were the order of the day in the 1.5 litre Formula One / Tasman cars run between 1961 - 1965, and a great selection of these cars made up the grid in this race. Sir Jack Brabham, who was at the meeting, would have been pleased to see a good number of Brabham Climax cars taking the fight to models such as the ATS Tipo 100 GP, BRM P261, Cooper Climax, Lola Climax, a handful of Lotus BRMs and Climaxes, and the rare Assegai Alfa Romeo to name just some. Although these are probably my least favourite racing cars (give me front engined thunder any day), there was some excellent close racing, especially from the BRMs driven by Barrie Williams and Richard Attwood (a former BRM driver himself of course).

Whitsun Trophy
To round off proceedings, the Whitsun Trophy fielded a host of knee-tremblingly beautiful sports-racing prototypes from 1963-1966. Racing into the early evening sun, were some Ferraris (250LM, Dino, 330 P2 and P4 etc), a raft of Ford GT40s, Lola Chevrolets, Mclaren Chevrolet M1s, and single examples of car such as the Attila-Chevrolet and Tojeiro-Buick. The racing was spectacular as ever, proceedings coming to an abrupt end when Willie Green (in the yellow JCB-owned GT40) tangled with the pale blue Brabham-BRM BT8 of Duncan Dayton, both going off heavily at Madgwick.

Mr Green remonstrated from afar to Mr Dayton, but from where we were perched it looked like the former had left precious little room for the latter on the outside of the corner, pushing him onto the grass and tagging the GT40 as they veered off into the tyre wall. No doubt this will go down as a racing incident, and each driver will have their own 'clear' view of what happened!! It was a shame to see these cars being hoisted away on recovery trucks, as both drivers had thrilled the crowd with racing dices earlier in the weekend.

Other attractions at Goodwood
Even if motor racing isn't your No.1 passion in life (although if you've read this far it is probably quite high up!), just being at the track and soaking up the atmosphere would keep the non-fanatic happy for hours. The aerial displays by the OFMC and others throughout the day add a real period feel to this amazing event, with DH Dragon Rapides taking people up on pleasure flights throughout the day, and displays by P51 Mustang, Spitfires, a P47 Thunderbolt, in addition to appearances from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and Lancaster bomber, keeping those with an aviation interest happy also. There are many aircraft movements throughout the day too from the aero club, so there is always a healthy selection of Tiger Moths, Chipmunks and other olde worlde aircraft to stare at.

Part of the attraction of Goodwood is the period feel that hits you from the moment you walk in. Everywhere you look there are policemen in 1950s uniforms, cycling on vintage pedal cycles or cruising in black police Wolseleys. Spivs, mods, bikers and military personnel all intermingle with the crowds, as do Laurel & Hardy (ahem) in their Model T Ford, Marilyn Monroe awarding the prizes, and track officials in suitably tweedy attire. The main pit area, for members of the Goodwood Road Racing Club, is a period-dress only affair, so at least this area is like something from a Pathe movie of 40 years ago. There are plenty of sideshows too, if you tire of the racing, so why not have a look at the period scrapyard, the Expo shopping area (lots of tasty motor racing memorabilia there!), one of the bands that play throughout the day (including Skiffle for the 50s teenagers out there).

If you keep your eyes peeled as you stroll around soaking it all up, you can see familiar faces from both track and television, taking part in the weekends fun. Over the years many racing drivers from both today and yesterday have attended the meeting, so it won't come as a surprise if you see John Surtees, Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Roy Salvadori, Jack Brabham or Richard Attwood in the paddock. Just as likely will be appearances by other drivers, such as Rene Arnoux, Patrick Tambay, David Coulthard (not this year though), Allan McNish, Johnny Herbert plus other familiar names from categories of modern-day racing. Rowan Atkinson is a regular also, racing his voluminous Jaguar saloon, and rumour has it Rolf Harris even attended this years event as a guest of a driver.

Words cannot sum up the overall experience of being at this event. Other events run nice old cars, and perhaps have a few sales stalls and old car club displays (such as the recent Oulton Park Gold Cup, itself a historic track from the early 50s), but none that I've been to, certainly in the UK, come close as an overall package. Most feel like modern facilities taking time out to run some old cars. Goodwood however is, as their promotional blurb states, a magical step back in time, on so many different levels. So long as I can still buy 3 day weekend tickets to the Revival, for less than a few hours watching F1 at Silverstone, I'll be back every year in future to soak up more of this most civilised of events.



 


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