Spreading Christmas joy – 2.4 miles at a time!

When we heard that Micah Lazarus was organising a Christmas trackday at Goodwood for his friends, we knew it was the perfect Classic Driver Christmas story.

The golden winter sun hangs low in the sky, shining into my face like an interrogation scene from a film. I squint: in the distance a classic racing Ford Mustang wheelspins down the main straight of Goodwood Motor Circuit. I accelerate hard, taking chase: this is how to sign off 2020 in style!

We won’t dwell on 2020 too much, but if we all learned one thing, perhaps it was to cherish those increasingly rare happy moments with good people. Equally, automotive enthusiasts around the world are seeking out these smaller, more intimate events that create friends for life, in a relaxed atmosphere with like-minded people.

The trackday gods were clearly looking down on Micah, after two solid weeks of rain in the south of England, the forecast finally looked positive, with one single day of sunshine. It was a small ray of hope before more rain, wind and an even stricter set of lockdown rules.

Micah’s family are the proud owner of ‘Baby Huey’ an FIA-specification Corvette Stingray, and I wanted to know what had led him to plan a trackday so late in the year? “This came around completely by accident when lockdown number two came in,” he said.

“I saw that some private airfields were offering hire, because all private flights were suspended. So I suggested to my good friend Mihai that we go and have a play on an airfield with our classic cars.”

“It quickly snowballed to using the Bicester Heritage track, or one of a few other options, and then William Medcalf messaged me about some Goodwood days that were available. I pursued that and here we are; it all kind of happened by accident!”

Around the legendary Goodwood paddock, I saw various familiar faces and possibly the most random selection of cars ever to assemble in one place. Bentley specialist William Medcalf was there with a couple of pre-war cars, as well as a fantastic hot rod.

Merlin McCormack from Duke of London brought his freshly recommissioned Jaguar XK120 as well as an E46 BMW 325 he’d purchased 12 hours previously, just in case the track turned out to be a bit too wet for the Jaguar.

James Mitchell from Pendine was also there with his patinated Jaguar XK120 and Chuck, the Triumph TR4 race car. There were of course a few assorted Porsche 911 GT3s, a Lotus Cortina, a Sebring MG, a flame-spitting Mustang and a Skoda Fabia vRS, to name but a few. Oh, and special mention to the driver of the AC Cobra: one heck of a car to lap Goodwood in on a slippery December day!

It has clearly been a crazy year for us all and we’ve all had some highs and lows. I mentioned to Micah how nice it was to see some friendly faces and such a random selection of cars… “Absolutely, this is a novelty for a lot of people, it’s not very often you have Goodwood for free play,” he said. “Normally trackdays have specific cars and rules and very serious drivers. Today was always about having some fun, so we just sent a few invites out to friends who we thought might be available, people who like cars and have a great attitude, no matter the car you drive or your driving experience.”

I have to admit, it was probably the friendliest trackday I’ve ever attended; people were chatting and laughing – some almost forgot they could be out on track! The laid-back atmosphere and open pitlane made the day feel very relaxed.

In the build-up emails, Micah had gently suggested a bit of a festive theme to the day’s activities; I could see the odd Christmas jumper and was also kindly offered a mince pie!

Micah added: “I told everyone to wear their Christmas jumpers; there appears to be a few dotted around. I still have about 40 mince pies to offload to people; there’s definitely a nice festive spirit around the paddock.”

I managed to get out on track for a few sessions in my own Porsche 997; one minute I was moving over for the flat-out Cobra, the next I was passing Merlin’s girlfriend Georgia, gently learning the unforgiving corners in his beloved XK120. And everyone was grinning from ear to ear.

As we see out one of the maddest years of our lives, all of us at Classic Driver wish you all season’s greetings. Wherever you are in the world, we hope you’re with loved ones sharing some great memories.

 

A special thank you to Micah Lazarus for extending an invitation to his Goodwood trackday

Photos: Joseph Harding for Classic Driver © 2020