GOODWOOD REVIVAL 2012
146,000 motor sport enthusiasts and fashion fans flocked to the Goodwood Revival in September to join in the fun and celebrations at the world’s largest historic motor race meeting. The race week-end is firmly established as a ‘must attend’ event, visitors travelling from around the world, a majority dressed in their finest 1940s, 50s and 60s fashions, in the early autumn sunshine (and occasional rain!). On the track, a daily parade of cars associated with the distinguished motor racing career of American driver and team owner Dan Gurney thundered by, culminating in a colourful and emotional homage to the great man on Sunday, with marching band, Gurney cars formed-up on the Goodwood grid, Mustangs fighters snarling overhead, and fireworks and tickertape flew!
The 50th anniversaries of two iconic sports cars were marked, a daily parade of Ferrari 250 GTOs, plus a dedicated Shelby Cup race, consisting entirely of Cobras. A once-in-a-lifetime gathering of “Silver Arrows” saw a lively demonstration each day of the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union racers tackling the circuit, from their own distinctive paddock, accurately recreating the paddock shelters of the Bremgarten circuit, home to the Swiss Grand Prix in the 1930s.
Meanwhile the Red Dragon spluttered a little on home soil, with a rather dismal appearance of just over 30 cars in the Rally GB world championship event in Wales (swamped by the cycling Tour of Britain in entries, spectators and publicity !) rather taking the shine off a great occasion. To see top WRC crews at the limit can be nothing but thrilling of course, but charging rally fans £20 to see fourteen cars at Walters Arena above Glyn-Neath, and fencing off the Service Area must have been a giant “PR” disaster! Those failings apart, Jari-Matti Latvala almost set the forest ablaze with his pace in the works Ford Fiesta, almost half a minute clear of the rest of the best drivers in the world, the new stage at Celtic Manor another bright spot, as was the news that – with new funding support from the Welsh Government – the rally stays in Wales and reverts back to a mid-November date next year, as the final round of the World Rally Championship. There were stern criticisms from competitors about the route, five time British Champion Jimmy McRae “staggered” to find competitors had to drive from Cardiff to Llandudno just for the start, saying that without changes Britain would lose the WRC status. Ford boss Malcolm Wilson also said “To keep the WRC significant change must happen – this was the most expensive Rally GB in years and it needs a top to bottom review!”
On the whole I was glad to be elsewhere, for the Dragon roared down at Goodwood Circuit, as Barry “Whizzo” Williams doubtless made Swansea Motor Club proud as he thundered to some good results at the former RAF World War 2 aerodrome “Revival” meeting. Entered in three races, Whizzo was out of luck in the Shelby Cup for AC Cobra sportscars, sidelined after only five laps, though escaping the big shunt he had in a similar car in the previous year’s race. Barrie took a creditable seventh place from a thirty strong field in the St. Mary’s Trophy battle, his Standard Vanguard perhaps an unlikely race machine, but taking him to victory over such ‘names’ as F1 stars Martin Brundle, Arturo Merzario, Rupert Keegan and Desire Wilson, and Derek Bell, John Cleland and Rauno Altonen from the diverse worlds of saloon cars, Le-Mans and rallying! Whizzo rounded off his week-end with fifth place in his Tojeiro-Jaguar in the Sussex Trophy event for 1950’s World Championship Sportscars.
The first Settrington Cup – with commentary by Murray Walker - was a new addition to the Revival, with the Smokey Yunick liveried car, driven by twin girls Abbie and Maisie Mason, taking the Best Presented Team prize. This two-part contest for junior racers in their Austin J40 pedal cars (that were made by former Miners in Bargoed!) saw victory on the second day falling to the rapid Florence Hall, who trounced 18 boys to triumph in her J40. “Real” racing was exceptional, highlights including the St Mary’s Trophy for 1950s saloon cars, with the hard-fought victory going to a Jaguar Mk 1. The £175 million car grid for the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy Celebration also made for exciting competition, with the mighty Jaguar E-type ‘Lightweight’ of F1 stars Martin Brundle and car owner (and Red Bull Racing designer) Adrian Newey spinning off at St Mary’s on the first lap, and the entire field went by before he was able to rejoin & return on track! Gary Pearsons Lola T70 claimed the honours in the Whitsun Trophy for late period sports-racing prototypes, the Freddie March Memorial Trophy ‘night race’ was a special 90-minute competition into dusk, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the first Goodwood Nine Hour race - a fabulous spectacle, sights and sounds of a bygone age, won by Young and Buncombe in a Jaguar C-type, despite a pit stop to fix a faulty light.
The very deserving Rolex Driver of the Meeting was Max Werner, who drove his 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza race car all the way from Dusseldorf on his own, accompanied only by basic hand tools and a healthy slice of enthusiasm. On arrival he was offered help in preparing the car, to which he replied “Don’t worry; I checked the oil and tyres before I left home!” He even turned down help with a pit board because he wasn’t too concerned about speed or lap times; he was just here to have fun! Despite a few scrapes along the way, including a spellbinding fight back from eighth place, he stormed through to win the Brooklands Trophy, and then drove all the way back home again to Germany – a round trip of some 800 miles!
There were some great period fashions, including the live camels, helping to form part of the Lawrence of Arabia desert scene at the Rolex Drivers Club, and “Over the Road” saw Revivalists eating, drinking and dancing into the night as a giant street party with pubs, live music and dance lessons continued until 10pm each evening. The Freddie March Spirit of Aviation is another highlight, a Concours d’Elegance for historic aircraft, with the worthy winner being the Beech Staggerwing, and a stunning 1938 Bentley 4.5-litre Embiricos was Best British Sports Car in the Earls Court Concours. Who else was there? Jean Alesi, Jackie Stewart, Nick and Annette Mason, Stirling Moss, Jochen Mass, Tony Jardine, and Jackie Ickx to name a few others…OH…and Jeff & Sandra , Patrick & Jennette, Peter & Eryl, and Mike & Mary Johnson…And us of course, as every year…though we knew not of the famous foursome until October !!, who obviously kept it dark ! And there was I, thinking it a good idea for a future SHVR excursion…
Confirmed dates for the 2013 Goodwood Revival and Festival of Speed have yet to be finalised, but these will be announced in the coming weeks though, with tickets for the 2013 Goodwood motor sport events going on sale on Thursday 1st November.
Roger & Veronica.