The nineteenth running of the Goodwood Revival was effectively the start of a new era, as the circuit has now been in operation for longer than originally, when racing began in September 1948 and ended in July 1966, partially for safety reasons. Little had changed at the circuit when racing resumed with the first Revival Meeting in 1998. Consequently, racing has been restricted to cars and ‘bikes that raced in period. That notwithstanding, developments have continued and Goodwood continues to astound, public enthusiasm for the Revival showing no signs of waning.
Whilst the facility might have changed little in the intervening years, development of the machinery has continued a-pace, with many cars now going much faster than in the day – and that’s often without the star drivers that were behind the wheel way back when.
That was reflected in the way that the GT cars that normally contest the RAC Tourist Trophy were split into two groups, pre-1963 cars taking part in a newly-created event, the Kinrara Trophy, a one-hour race that ran into the twilight on Friday evening. Despite being a late addition to the programme, Dane Tom Kristensen stamped his authority on proceedings when he was drafted in to share Joe Macari’s Ferrari 250GT SWB. He firmly planted it on pole despite not having sat in the car before Friday morning, but the cars’ owner left him with a lot of work to do by dropping down to eighth in the opening stint of the race. He rose to the occasion, helped a little by others’ misfortunes, storming back up the order to win, the Ferrari completing the distance some 12.8-seconds ahead of the Martin Hunt/Patrick Blakeney Edwards Jaguar E-Type.
The RAC Tourist Trophy Celebration occupied its traditional slot on Sunday afternoon, and catering purely for 1963-64 cars saw a healthy grid of predominantly AC Cobra and Jaguar E-Type machinery. The simple statistics will say that the Chris Ward/Gordon Shedden E-Type started from pole position and led away to eventually win from a trio of Cobra’s, the Michael Squire/Frank Stippler car heading Andrew Smith/Oliver Bryant and David Hart/Giedo van der Garde, but there was plenty of action along the way. Many considered that Shedden was lucky not to incur the wrath of the stewards when he lapsed into a bit of BTCC-style driving; a lively dice for the lead with van der Garde seeing the Cobra tapped into a spin by Shedden as they lapped backmarkers, effectively putting the Dutchmen out of contention.
Saturday was wet, when a forecast that promised rain from 10am until 4pm proved to be rather accurate. The Goodwood Trohy race for pre ’51 grand prix cars opened proceedings and Calum Lockie ended up a jubilant winner in the slippery conditions his Maserati 6CM taking over at the front after five-times Goodwood winner Mark Gillies was forced to pit his ERA R3A for a plug change, rejoining to finish ninth. The podium was completed by Matt Grist’s Alfa Romeo P3 and Tom Dark’s Bugatti T73C.
The Madgwick Cup for sub 3-litre sports prototypes from the 1960-66 era was something of a Lotus 23 benefit, with Andy Newall’s 23B getting the better of a scrap with Andrew Hibberd’s similar car. Joe Twyman would have made it an all-Lotus podium but a time penalty for an incident dropped him to fifth, elevating Max Bartell’s Elva-BMW Mk7S to third place.
The St Mary’s Trophy race represented a departure for Goodwood but could be described as a retrospective look at the future, for it was a one-make race, something almost unheard-of in 1966 but now commonplace. The car in question was the diminutive Austin A35, a tiny unlikely-looking racer but with its readily tunable BMC A-Series engine it did indeed race in the day, largely thanks to the efforts of Graham Hill and John Sprinzel’s Speedwell concern. Anyway, celebrating its 60th birthday, a fleet of identically-prepared cars contested the two-part race, with the star drivers getting a baptism of water, on Saturday. Karun Chandhok remarked that he’s never driven anything with so little grip, whilst Goodwood debutant David Coulthard said he’d been told the car had about 90 horsepower, but he reckoned most of them were hiding in another paddock! Whatever, the touring car experts Andrew Jordan, Gordon Shedden and Steve Soper filled the podium on Saturday, whilst James Dorlin, Charles Knill-Jones and Mike Jordan did likewise on Sunday, overall victory going to the Jordan’s, despite getting through three engines during the weekend.
The Lavant Cup, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the BMW 328, saw Martin Hunt’s Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica lead all the way except when it mattered – the last lap! He lost speed with a moment at Lavant allowing Malcolm Harrison’s Cooper-Bristol to snatch victory with pole-sitter Patrick Blakeney-Edwards (FN Targa Florio) finishing third. The rain was at its worst for the Whitsun Trophy, hardly ideal for the ‘big banger’ sportscars so it was perhaps fitting that race winner Rob Huff was awarded th Rolex Driver of the Weekend for his efforts in the Lotus-Oldsmobile-19. He had a mighty scrap with Mike Whitaker who had recovered from spinning his Lola T70 Spyder on the warm-up lap, only to have one or two grassy moments in the race. It was a somewhat heroic (or brave!) first-time outing at Goodwood. Third place went to Tiff Needell on board Paul Whight’s Lotus 30. With the weather starting to improve, Saturday’s racing ended with Richard Woolmer (HWM-Cadillac) winning the Freddie March Trophy, narrowly beating Rob Hall’s Aston Martin DB2 and Steve Boultbee-Brooks (Aston Martin DB3S).
Sunday could not have been more different, with the sun shining down on Goodwood once more. The action started with the Chichester Cup for front-engined Formula Junior cars. Andrew Hibberd (Lola-Ford Mk2) inherited the lead, and victory, on the penultimate lap after misfortune befell others. Joe Colasacco’s Stanguellini-Fiat was a close second and Chrsis Drake’s Terrier third. Despite losing the nose from his Scarab after contact with Tony Wood’s Tec-Mec Maserati, Julian Bronson clung on to win the Richmand Trophy. A pair of Ferrari 246 Dino’s completed the podium, Andy Willis heading Rob Hall.
Even though regular winner Andy Middlehurst did not take part in the Glover Trophy race, a Lotus 25 nevertheless still came out on top as Nick Fennell’s similarly Classic Team Lotus-prepared car got the better of a scrap with Martin Stretton’s Lotus-BRM 24. With Miles Griffith’s similar car in third place and Richard Attwood’s BRM P261 coming home fourth, that remarkably meant BRM engines in three of the first four cars. The final race of the weekend, the Sussex Trophy, fell to Chris Ward’s Lister-Jaguar Costin, from Gary Pearson’s Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly’ and James Cottingham’s Tojeiro-Jaguar, so bringing to a close a superb weekend’s racing with few major incidents and seemingly much improved diving standards.
The Goodwood Revival is about so much more than just the racing and amongst many of the attractions there were tributes to Jack Brabham, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his third World Championship, uniquely driving a car bearing his own name. Sons David and Geoff, together with other family members and friends were on hand to mark the occasion and witness parades of the many varied cars from his career.
That 1966 championship was the first of the 3-litre era, the new more powerful cars playing a part in the cessation of racing at Goodwood in 1966, but nevertheless here was a retrospective look to the future with demonstration laps of 3-litre F1 cars, including examples of Brabham, Cooper and McLaren that would have tested at Goodwood in the day, as well as three examples of the Lotus 49, the car that introduced the all-conquering Cosworth DFV to motor racing.
Away from the track there was plenty to keep visitors occupied. The Earl’s Court Motor Show this year majored on Lamborghini, with everything from a tractor to the latest model. Dotted around the paddock a variety of period transporters could be seen, from the prosaic Morris Commercial-based transporter used to transport works BMC MGA’s, to the flamboyant Fiat originally supplied to the Scarab F1 team but subsequently owned by Shelby, who had to beef it up with an extra rear axle in order to bear the weight of the Cobra’s as they travelled around Europe. Even more unusual was a single-car transporter built by Dennis in nearby Guildford, better known for their fire engines and dustcarts.
The air displays were somewhat muted this year in the wake of the tragedy in Shoreham a year ago. However, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight made its customary fly-past, whilst there were frequent displays during the weekend by the sole airworthy Bristol Blenheim, accompanied by Spitfire and Mustang.
Back on the ground, we were reminded that it was 1966 by crowds of enthusiastic football supporters celebrating England’s success in the World Cup – looks like they might have to make that one last a bit longer yet!
What will Goodwood have in store for the 20th Revival Meeting in 2017? A look back at 1998, perhaps?