74th Meeting for Goodwood’s Members
THE HISTORIC 2.4-MILE track is only a short drive from home and whilst I have enjoyed the Revival and Festival many times, gaining access to the more exclusive Members Meet has alluded me, until now.
The event is, as advertised, for the enjoyment of GRRC (Goodwood Road Race Club) members, one rather exclusive gathering that has a waiting list that stretches on for years. The idea originated promptly following the opening of the circuit in 1948 and featured in the calendar until the gates closed to serious competition in 1966; after completing 71 BARC Club events. The Members Meeting was proposed by the current Earl of March with the much praised 72nd taking place in 2014, offering something unique to the faithful. For 2016 the programme had something for everyone whilst the grey skies and frigid temperatures tried and failed to dampen the knowledgeable crowd’s enthusiasm.
The weekend’s competition kicked off on Saturday afternoon with a short qualifying race for Group 1 Production Saloons from the 1970’s. The grid set for Sundays 45 minute, two driver ‘tear up’ saw Rover SD1’s battling Capri’s and Camaro’s up front whilst a selection of Dolomite Sprints were thrown in the mix with RS2000’s plus the odd Alfa, Mazda RX7 and BMW; most watching their mirrors for late lunges, especially from the 1275GT Minis.
A full grid of Ford GT40’s in the hands of well-known pilots took to the circuit Saturday evening for another two driver race, this one over 60 minutes for the Alan Mann Trophy. Maserati with the 250F took on Ferrari, Lotus, Aston and Cooper machines in the 20 minute Brooks Trophy; brave drivers indeed at 9.00am with temperatures barely above freezing. Single seaters featured 1960s Formula 3 machines competing for the Derek Bell Cup and later in the day the Parnell Cup entertained with a field of machines that raced Grand Prix and Formula 2 up to 1953. This was especially interesting, as amongst the field of Cooper Bristol’s, Maserati’s Talbot’s and even a Gordini were four 1930’s ERA machines; one very special Remus, an R5B from 1936 enjoyed success mainly around the UK and especially at Crystal Palace with the great Prince Bira of Siam at the wheel. Fire breathing GT cars from the 60s warmed up the tarmac over their twentyminute Graham Hill Trophy, as Cobra fought with E Type and TVR, accompanied by rare beasts such as the 5.3 GT Bizzarrini or the pretty Iso Grifo. The same decade produced the Lotus Cortina, BMW 1800 and the Cooper S, always entertaining these ‘tin tops’ contested the Whitmore Cup event.
A break from tradition saw twostroke motorbikes (mainly Yamaha TZ) compete on the West Sussex circuit for the first time ever. Post 1966 bikes have never featured here before and certainly not in oil burning form, their inclusion was well received, especially by those of a certain age group who recall falling from their road going equivalents back in the era.
Demonstration runs from a fantastic selection of F1 machines from 1977-82 covered the early ‘ground effect’ days whilst lovers of endurance racing revelled in the Group 5 cars. Le Mans racers from the early 70s with Gulf Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512 enjoyed Goodwood with the Lola T70; all in period livery with many versions including the ‘Long Tails’. The most modern racers of the weekend were the ‘Super Tourers’ from the BTCC in the 90s when speeds and budget reached their peak. The complete opposite in terms of age group I have left until last; the Edwardians. The SF Edge Trophy named after the winner of the 1902 Gordon Bennett Cup was introduced for 2016 and for me ‘stole the show’. Incredible beasts that raced in period up until 1923 featured huge fire breathing engines, often from a WW1 aircraft; amazing body shapes, no brakes and chain drives.
Mark Walker in his land speed record Darracq from 1905 looked impressive with 25.4 litres of V8 up front and 200 hp. With two gears and no reverse, Mark’s Darracq offers 1000lb ft. of torque and is happy at 30mph, although it offers 80mph plus at just 100rpm. The smaller, more-nimble GN’s looked fast in practice but it would be the 1916 Sunbeam GP car that took pole.
The V12 Delage from 1923 was second whilst Duncan Pittaway took 3rd in the little GN with its mighty 8.2 litre Curtiss V8. What enthralled the crowd apart from the noise, power and ‘sideways’ cornering of these machines, was the variety; from bare bones aero engine monsters to the tiny Bugatti Brescia that punched well above its weight to qualify 14th from 28.
Richard Scaldwell drove his 16.5 Lorraine De Dietrich whilst his wife piloted their GN from 1908; a cycle car fitted with a JAP V8. The S F Edge Trophy also gave one of the closest finishes of the weekend; after twenty minutes of constant lead changes Pittaway ‘nicked it’ from Mathias Sielecki in his Delage V12 by 0.2 of a second also setting fastest lap in the process.
Julian Majzub took the final podium spot in the Sunbeam with Mark Walker in 4th, the winner averaging over 75mph whilst the top eight all lapped in under two minutes; the highlight of a superb weekend, something we have become accustomed too from the Goodwood brand.
The Members Meeting offers Revival atmosphere and entertainment, minus the crowds and restrictions; however, the Revival usually comes with bobble hat and duffle coat free temperatures.
Fordie's Favourites from p. 19 of issue May 2016
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