Rolling Hills Revival………..
Now that you’ve finished admiring Dave Lister’s pictures from the Le Mans
Classic it’s time to stow away the beret and dust off the cloth cap and tweeds in
readiness for the Goodwood Revival Meeting.
Incredibly this will be the ninth running of the Earl of March’s time-warp event and it
just gets better and better. The original back in 1998 was just breathtaking and we
never thought they would manage to repeat it, but they have, year on year. Others
have tried to mimic, copy ideas – and that’s very flattering for Goodwood – but
none have managed to re-create so perfectly a particular moment in time. Lord
March was formerly a professional photographer (he’d appreciate your work,
Dave) and as such has a tremendous eye for detail. Fortunately the Goodwood
circuit itself provides an excellent canvas; created post-war, racing ran from 1948
to 1966. Since then the basic infrastructure has remained the same, making it
possible to keep the period look and feel. Most other circuits hosting such events
have been in continuous use so have suffered various upgrades over time. There
are currently some new paddock buildings under construction at Goodwood,
being built in the Bauhaus style, but you can be sure that once completed they will
be entirely in keeping.
Unlike so many historic events, Goodwood attracts not just the cars from a bygone
era but the stars too. Sir Stirling Moss is a regular; you’d think he’d have
misgivings about the place, having endured his career-ending accident here in
1962. But no, he returns year after year, even celebrating his 70th birthday. That
was seven years ago but the indefatigable maestro shows no sign of letting-up
although he tends to avoid two-driver races now as he says he’s not so nimble at
driver changes! Another regular is Phil Hill and this year there will be a special
tribute to mark the 45th anniversary of his World Championship. Some 25 cars
associated with his career, ranging from MG TC to a re-creation Ferrari 156
‘Sharknose’ will be demonstrated.
Many more recent stars have discovered Goodwood and have become devotees
of the event. Emanuele Pirro and Gerhard Berger in particular have become firm
favourites. They don’t just come to pose either. The one-hour, two-driver Royal
Automobile Club TT Celebration race is the centerpiece of the weekend and Pirro
has spectacularly co-driven the winning Jaguar E-Type twice. Whether or not
Audi’s Le Mans-winning superstar will be able to make the event this year is
uncertain but others such as local ace Derek Bell, Richard Attwood, Jackie Oliver,
Henri Pescarolo, Jochen Mass, Bobby Rahal and John Fitzpatrick will be. The cars
are mouthwatering too. Just how do you pick from Ferrari 250 GTO or SWB, Shelby
Cobra Daytona, Jaguar E-Type or Aston Martin Project?
There are sportscar races catering for other classes too. The Freddie March
Memorial Trophy will this year cater for cars such as the Jaguar C-Type, Aston
Martin DB3S and Maserati A6GCS that would have contested the Goodwood Nine
Hours, whilst the Sussex Trophy is bound to be a cracker with a packed field of
Lister Jaguar, D-Type’s etc. With the likes of Tiff Needell, Tony Dron, Peter
Hardman and Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams on the grid, fireworks are assured.
Bringing things comparatively up to date the Whitsun Trophy is always spectacular
with a field of Ford GT40’s Lola T70’s and the like. One or two of the carefully
tended hydrangeas a-top the chicane wall is sure to meet their demise during this
Saloon cars (they haven’t become touring cars yet!) have always been popular at
Goodwood, both in their heyday and currently. The site of a Mini sliding frantically
through the chicane in hot pursuit of a Jaguar or Galaxie is a vivid image and
despite the fast flowing nature of the circuit a good tiddler can often come out on
top. Rae Davis has become noted for giant-killing feats in recent years with a Mini
and Austin A35.
Along with the RAC TT, the St Mary’s Trophy is the other major event of the
weekend and is run as a two-part race staged on both Saturday and Sunday with
an aggregate result. Again the star names are out and with this years’ race
devoted to 1950’s machinery expect to see a packed field of A35’s and A40’s, Ford
Zephyr’s, Jaguar’s and even an Austin A105 Westminster. Jack Sears won the
very first British Saloon Car Championship (now BTCC) with one of those in 1958.
Single-seaters are an integral part of Goodwood too and there are races across
the spectrum from Formula Junior (The Chichester Cup), the Richmond Trophy for
Formula One cars dating from 1948-59 including such legends as Maserati 250F,
BRM Type 25, Ferrari 21, 500 and 246 Dino and most stunning of all, the Lancia
D50, hopefully to be driven by Jochen Mass. The Goodwood Trophy provides for
immediate pre-war cars, many of course which provided the backbone of racing in
the early years after hostilities ceased. Expect to see the likes of Alfa Romeo 308C
and Tipo B, various Maseratis and ERA’s etc. The Glover Trophy meanwhile will
see a field full of the diminutive cars from the 1.5-litre era.
With the circuit opening in 1948, Goodwood effectively took-up where Brooklands
left off and there are many associations so it is fitting that Goodwood makes
space for the Brooklands Trophy, an event for the Bentley Specials, Delage’s,
Riley’s and the like that had thundered round the Brooklands bankings before the
war brought such activities to an end.
Of course there is so much more to Goodwood than just the racing. No post-’66
vehicles are allowed within the confines of the circuit during the weekend, so the
paddock becomes a haven for period transporter-spotters whilst period dress is
actively encouraged. Indeed jacket and tie are a prerequisite for paddock entry.
Might sound a bit of a pain but it all adds to a sense of occasion and after all, isn’t
nice to be able to forget the modern world for a few hours?
We’ve already mentioned the tribute to Phil Hill; there will be one more very
important tribute over the weekend. Not to a driver or a designer, but in memory of
Ray Hanna who passed away shortly after the 2005 Revival. A former leader of the
Red Arrows, Ray went on to form the Old Flying Machine Company, becoming
famous for his stunning flying displays in Spitfires. Many of his performances
would have given Health & Safety geeks the heeby-geebies but his stunts defy
description. He will be sadly missed but certainly not forgotten. You can be sure
Ray will be up there somewhere looking down on us.
So, if that whets your appetite, start making plans now. Goodwood operates an
advanced ticket-only system so get booking. The event takes place over the
weekend 1-3 September and such is Lord March’s attention to detail that he even
manages to lay-on splendid weather – why, for the Media Day last week we got the
hottest day of the year!
On-line via the Online Ticket section of the Goodwood website: