Goodwood - Saving the Best Until Last
AS THE SUMMER STARTS to lose its influence, the classic car season of 2015 begins to wind down but not before a pair of ‘big-hitters’ take place, one at home the other overseas; well, across the Solent to be more precise.
The Goodwood Revival this year was certainly the best I have attended and many believe the most memorable to date. Such is the size of Goodwood’s pulling power, transporters unload vehicles from across the planet for almost a week prior to opening, whilst the Revival website announced a sell-out long before the final stands were erected.
Themes for 2015 included the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Daytona Coupe winning the World Sportscar Championship which allowed all six of the original machines to assemble in West Sussex. Homage was paid to the Land Rover Defender which is finally finishing production after 67 years; the 2 millionth example goes under the hammer for charity later this year.
A celebration of Bruce McLaren’s achievements included many of the machines he designed or drove before losing his life at this very track in 1970 whilst testing the M8D Can Am car. In the air, WW2 warbirds thrilled the crowds in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the part played by (Goodwood) RAF Westhampnett.
Often used as a landing base for fighters from the local RAF Tangmere, as this was regularly attacked by Luftwaffe bombers.
Throwing in its customary unusual achievement, recognition of Clarence Birdseye, the father of frozen food and the 60th anniversary of the fish finger! Such is the pursuit for in period detailed perfection; the Revival not only encourages vintage dress, its popularity with the spectators’ means looking out of place if you don’t dress accordingly. With so much happening it’s very easy to miss some important moments or announcements, such as a relaunch of classic oils supplied by Shell in the 1970s; the range that was endorsed by John Surtess 50 years ago and continues to be today includes a 20/50 and the SAE 30. Over the weekend 4500 classics filled the tax free parking area ensuring hundreds just ambled around the ‘Across the Road’ section and never actually entered the circuit at all.
On track action included 15 races of the highest standard with the world’s finest historic race cars, piloted by many household names from the annuals of motorsport.
Returning after a four year absence, the Earl of March Trophy for post-war Formula 3 cars was a lively affair to say the least and a couple of nasty ‘prangs’ failed to slow the pace at all. The Brooklands & Goodwood Trophies are a must for fans of pre-war racing and a chance to admire the skills shown by drivers who muscle these potent beasts around the fast 2.2 mile circuit.
The St Mary’s Trophy for production saloons from 1960-66 is run in two parts across the weekend and has become a firm favourite with the huge crowds enjoying the sight of a 7 litre Ford Galaxy struggling to hold back the Mini Coopers. Sports Prototypes from the 60s are followed by Grand Prix cars from the 50s and grids of over 30 machines are now the norm.
The Barry Sheen Memorial Trophy race on the Sunday was an epic battle that went to the last corner of the last lap with James Haydon’s Matchless just edging out Jeremy McWilliams Manx Norton. The feature event of the weekend was the two driver-one hour RAC TT Celebration for GT cars from the 60s, all achieving amazing lap times with more drama than any Hollywood blockbuster.
The Goodwood Revival may leave you a little short in the wallet after 3 days but certainly will enhance your memory bank with enough great moments to get through until next September.