Time marches on (no pun intended, your Lordship!) and amazingly this was the ninth
running of Lord March’s magnificent time-warp event. As ever there was a wonderful
turn-out of mouth-watering machinery and famous faces. Sadly though, one or two
who have made their mark on this event were missing.
The flagship events, the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration and the St Mary’s
Trophy, continued to draw the big names. The RAC TT is a one-hour, two driver race
for GT cars from the 1960-64 era that so epitomizes Goodwood. The entry is packed
with AC Cobra’s, Aston Martin’s, E-Types, a variety of Ferrari models and the like.
This year we got the car-wrecking antics over early in qualifying, when within minutes
of each other Dario Franchitti and Adrian Newey caused non-period red flags by
destroying an E-Type a-piece. Franchitti’s was a big shunt in Bernie Carl’s
lightweight E, a car that has won the race twice before. For Newey it was a case of
“here we go again” following hard on the heels of his GT40 shunt at Le Mans. There
are those that suggest he is trying just a little too hard.
The race itself was a brilliant affair, especially as having endured a dull damp
weekend up until that point, somebody rolled back the sunshine roof bang on time
for the start, revealing blue skies and sunshine! After forty thrilling laps victory went to
another lightweight E, driven by Juan Barazi and Michael Vergers, finishing some 40
seconds clear of the John Bendall/Darren Manning AC Cobra. Third place went to the
Ferrari 330LMB driven by Peter Hardman and Nicolas Minassian. Vergers, Manning
and Minassian are three ‘modern’ drivers who are proving equally adept at the wheel
of old cars, whilst Hardman who has driven the 330LMB for ten years now is more
than a match for any of them. Down in seventh place, and very much enjoying his
Goodwood debut, was Jean-Marc Gounon - “he’s getting old, it’s time now for him to
come here! quipped fellow Frenchman Patrick Tambay. Gounon co-drove Sam
Hancock in the re-styled Ferrari 250GTO once raced by Graham Hill and now owned
by Anthony Bamford of JCB fame (no plans to convert it to diesel power though!).
Wild Colonial Boy
As an aside, although we did not know it at the time, this was to be Peter Brock’s last
race prior to his tragic fatal accident back in Australia just a few days later. He co-
drove a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with David Cooke, although they were destined
not to finish the race. Nevertheless, such was the impression he and his Aussie
team left, having also brought a Holden all the way from Oz for the St Mary’s Trophy,
that they were presented with a ‘Spirit of the Event’ Trophy, given in the name of the
late Will Hoy.
The St Mary’s Trophy race is also a two-driver event, but run as two separate 12-
lappers with an aggregate result. Always for saloon cars, this race features a
different period in time each year, this year being for cars from 1950-59 (some of
them might have been built a bit more recently but that’s another story!) and again
the stars came out to play. Remarkably Derek Bell took his first-ever overall race win
on his local circuit in 40 years’ of trying. Driving a Jaguar Mk1, he won the first leg on
a damp Saturday afternoon, just beating Tony Jardine’s Austin A35 by three-tenths of
a second. The battle was resumed on Sunday but with this race running in the dry
the Jaguar, now driven by owner Grant Williams, defeated the A35 by 1.4-seconds,
that too driven by owner Rae Davis. Incidentally, unlike some the Williams Jaguar is
no ‘special’ created just for Goodwood; it has been in the family for many years,
originally raced by Grant’s grandfather and then his father, before the lure of
Goodwood drew it out of retirement in South Wales..
Couldn’t help noticing that seventh place overall went to car number seven, a Jaguar
MkV11 owned by Rowan Atkinson and co-driven by Sir Stirling Moss, who celebrated
his 77th birthday a few days later. Sir Stirling is indefatigable; aside from the Jaguar
he also raced an Austin Healey Sebring Sprite ‘SMO 2’ to 11th place in the Fordwater
Trophy race. He even found himself at the wheel of a Berkeley Sports – a car he
helped launch at Goodwood in 1956 - during the Microcar Parade. Just prior to the
weekend, we received news that Britain’s oldest competition licence holder, Tom
Delaney, had passed away. Tom was due to race the 1928 Lea Francis he has
driven almost from new in the Brooklands Trophy event. However speculation led us
to wonder who now holds the ‘oldest’ accolade. Sir Stirling can’t be far off…
A feature of the weekend was a tribute to 1961 World Champion Phil Hill. A replica of
the Ferrari 156 ‘Sharknose’ he drove that year was on static display but a parade of
cars related to his career showed what a lucky man he has been! With the parade
taking place each day, Phil shared driving duties with son Derek in a stunning, if a
little over-restored 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B owned by Ralph Lauren. Elsewhere
in the parade were examples of Jaguar C-Type, Maserati 250F, Ferrari 250TR,
Ferrari 246 Dino, Aston Martin Project 215, Ford GT40 Prototype and Chaparral 2F.
Angels One Five!!!
Aircraft have always played a big part at Goodwood – the circuit grew out of a war-
time fighter base – and as such we have been treated to some exceptional air
displays each year featuring Ray Hanna and his Spitfire. Sadly Ray passed away
soon after last years’ event and so rightly tribute was paid to his memory, his
personal Spitfire took pride of place on the grid for the occasion. Modern-day ‘Health
& Safety’ legislation, under which Britain seems to be grinding to a halt, found its way
through the gates and dictated how that should be done though! Ray will not be
forgotten however; if nothing else his fellow aviators will see to that.
More sadness was to follow. Raymond Baxter, himself a former Spitfire pilot, has
traditionally commentated on the air display at Goodwood. He did so on Saturday but
was not well enough to attend on Sunday. Just a few days later he too passed away.
The very nature of the event means that it is a celebration rather than a wake so
rather than wallow in misery we remember the good times, the pleasure and
entertainment such people brought to us. Indeed, the Revival Meeting is a
celebration of all that was good about the good old days. Long may it continue!