The 2010 Goodwood Revival
The Goodwood Revival has journalists reaching for the thesaurus every year, all desperately searching for yet-to-be-used superlatives. Well, I’m sorry, boys and girls, but Lord March has done it again: let’s hear it for ‘fabulous’, ‘remarkable’ and the inevitable ‘glorious’, as it was another cracking event.
While the on-track action was as exciting as ever, if anything, the film-set atmosphere of this year’s Revival weekend almost transcended the racing.
The headlining Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy Celebration race being a case in point. From the drop of the starter’s Union Jack, the leading contenders were scrapping as if their lives depended on it. It was Cobra-mounted Rob Hall, Justin Law in the Lister-Jaguar coupé and Bobby Verdon-Roe driving the big Ferrari 330 LMB who made the early running. Come the pit stops (mostly timed to coincide with a safety car period), Law and the brilliant Hall lost out.
A charging Peter Hardman, in Sir Anthony Bamford’s 1964-bodied Ferrari 250 GTO, had survived a spin while moving up the field, before handing over to one of the Revival’s star drivers, Jean-Marc Gounon. My goodness, this man’s quick - but by the time he hit the front of the field the primary opposition (Verdon-Roe: mechanical failure; Bobby Rahal in Adrian Newey’s lightweight E-type: in the barriers having lost a wheel) had retired.
The spectators (a 134,000 gate over three days) were, however, treated to the site of top professional Anthony Reid driving the wheels off the green Lister-Jaguar coupé, carving his way through the field to a nail-biting third-place finish, just 0.788 seconds behind the Bryant/Minassian AC Cobra. What a spectacle.
Visitors arriving via Gate 12 were treated to a spectacle of another kind, one of the talking points of the weekend: the 1960s vintage Tesco store with its period-labelled produce. Without wishing to be too parochial, as readers outside the UK won’t be too interested in packets of Omo and Green Shield stamps, I will simply say it brought a smile to everyone’s lips which didn’t dissipate for the rest of the weekend.
If you factor in period touches such as this, the live bands, the quality catering, the new-for-2010 ‘Big Top’ circus and the fabulous air displays, and add unrivalled historic racing, you can see why the Revival is such a success. Even grapple fans were welcomed back in some style by ‘Kendo Nagasaki’ in a 1960s wrestling ring.
Back to the track. Race proceedings on Saturday commenced with the Goodwood Trophy pre-War race, which saw both an easy win for Mark Gillies in ERA R3A and a gripping battle for third between Mac Hulbert (ERA R4D) and German DTM driver Frank Stippler driving Willi Balz’s 1937 Maserati 6CM.
After the Chichester Cup (rear-engined Formula Juniors) and part one of the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy (for 350cc and 500cc motorbikes), it was tin-top time: the St Mary’s Trophy.
This year it was time for the ‘oldies’, so out came the Austin A35s and A40s, Jaguar Mk Is and some truly horrible ‘grey porridge’ of the period, tuned to within an inch of its life. One of the star turns was the sinister black 1958 Gaz Volga M21 of Roger Wills and Russian Renault F1 star Vitaly Petrov.
It was works Audi Le Mans driver Tom Kristensen, the winner of Goodwood’s Will Hoy Memorial Trophy (for the greatest drive in a closed-cockpit car), who finished first overall after 25 minutes of the hardest racing possible. The multiple Le Mans winner, piloting the beige, barge-like 1956 Austin A95 Westminster, redefined the expression ‘forceful’ in the process.
The following day, for owners or ‘amateur’ drivers, it was Welshman Grant Williams driving the ‘BUY 1’ grey Jaguar Mk I like a man possessed (his default setting) who not only won the race but the two-heat race overall, by just 0.4sec.
The rest of Saturday was a blizzard of stellar driving in priceless cars. Scot Andrew Smith claimed Whitsun Trophy honours (and fastest time of the meeting) in his Lola T70 spider; Neil Twyman and Roger Wills won the 45-minute Madgwick Cup race for small-capacity sports-racers, Nick Wigley the Gordon Trophy for rear-engined Intercontinental and Formula One-type single-seaters; and Darren McWhirter was once more victorious in his Lagonda V12 in the final race of the day, the Freddie March Memorial Trophy.
I arrived at the circuit early on Sunday. There was electricity in the air as the WW2 fighters took to the skies, racing engines were warmed up, and teams made their way to the grid for the first race, the Fordwater Trophy for small-capacity GTs. This turned out to be a classic, with crowd favourite Rae Davis in the 'lips ‘n’ lashes' Mini Gem GT battling with Nick Swift’s Mini DART (like a Mini Marcos but longer in wheelbase, thanks to its Mini van donor chassis) and Shaun Rainford’s Lenham GT.
Swift by name, Swift by nature, and it was he who turned out the winner, by just over three seconds in the end, but only after a titanic battle with the others when you never knew who was going to lead each lap.
The Richmond Trophy was another win for the BRM P25 of Gary Pearson who had his hands full with both Barrie Williams (Ferguson P99) and the man who makes it look all so easy, Richard Attwood, in Adrian Hamilton’s Ferrari 246 Dino.
The second motorcycle and St Mary’s Trophy races over, it was time for lunch. As the taxiing Hawker Hurricane left the start-finish straight and the gunners of the Royal Artillery finished their salute, out came the TT heavy metal and a rapturous crowd celebrated the red/Cambridge Blue ex-Maranello Concessionaires 250 GTO taking top spot.
Just two races to go now. Richard Attwood (BRM P261) established his authority over Lotus drivers Frank Sytner and Andy Middlehurst in the Glover Trophy and then it was the last race of another wonderful weekend: the Sussex Trophy.
As regular readers will know, this is for front-engined FIA sports cars from 1955 to 1960. The scene of many a terrific duel in the past, it’s a fitting end to the Revival. Past winner, and Classic Driver contributor, Tony Dron was behind the wheel of Jaguar E2A while Tom Kristensen was driving the Sporting and Historic Cars Ferrari 246S Dino, with Bobby Verdon-Roe in the same team’s Aston Martin DBR1.
Dron was sidelined at Fordwater with a severe steering fault – potentially hairy but E2A arrived safely back in the pits – and eventual winner Jamie McIntyre romped home in his Lister-Chevrolet 'Knobbly'. Behind McIntyre, all hell was breaking loose with a very determined Kristensen battling away to finish a hard-fought fourth behind Gary Pearson (third in a Costin Lister-Jaguar) and Verdon-Roe.
At the end of a fine, late-summer day, Nick Wigley was declared ‘Rolex Driver of the Meeting’ and, for the aviation enthusiasts among you, the Freddie March ‘Spirit of Aviation’ award went to the 1937 Hawker Demon owned by Howell Davis.
After three days at Goodwood, I don’t think any word sums up the spirit of the Revival better than simply ‘great’; as in a ‘great British institution’. Long may it stay that way.
On the Friday, Bonhams held its traditional Revival meeting sale. You can read a review elsewhere on Classic Driver.
Do check the Goodwood website www.goodwood.co.uk for details of next year's Goodwood events.
Text: Steve Wakefield
Main Photos: Roger Dixon - all strictly copyright. For further information please visit www.rogerdixonphotography.com
Additional Photos: Classic Driver
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