Goodwood Revival, 16-18 September 2011: Preview

As you dig in the back of the wardrobe for your 1940s, 50s and 60s glamwear, ready for its annual trip to West Sussex, remember that it’s almost impossible to ‘overdress’ for the Goodwood Revival.

Last year, 134,000 people came to the three-day event – the vast majority in period dress – so you’ll need to wear something fairly spectacular if you wish to stand out from the crowd. The only way to feel ridiculous, in fact, is to fail to dress up at all. Wear jeans, trainers and a DayGlo anorak and you’ll be persona non grata. Even if it’s just a trilby and blazer, or cocktail dress and feathered hat, do make the effort. Please. And then you’ll be not just a spectator but a genuine part of the show.

And what a show it promises to be – although we’d expect nothing less from Lord March, who manages to pull something extra out of the hat every year.

To name but a few of this year’s highlights there are, of course, the ever-present array of motorsport superstars, from eight-times Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and four-times World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, through rallying greats Stig Blomqvist and Rauno Aaltonen, to just about every past and present big-name racer still willing to take the wheel: Martin Brundle, Emanuele Pirro, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell, Richard Attwood… and the list goes on and on.

And the cars, of course. Where do we start? The Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration alone has a grid of 1960-64 GT cars worth in excess of £100m – Ferrari 250 GTO, GT SWB and 330 LMB; Aston Martin DB4GT, Zagato and Project cars; AC Cobra and Shelby Daytona. And that’s just one race. There’s not enough room on the average schoolboy’s bedroom wall to have even a small sketch of each outstandingly rare and valuable car at the Revival. And while on the subject of rare and valuable cars, don’t forget the Bonhams auction on the Friday (16 September) of the Goodwood weekend.

Talking two-wheeledly, this year sees not only the hugely popular Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy race for pre-1966 motorcycles, but a new addition for 2011: a dedicated Motocross paddock area with riders such as Les Archer (Norton), Dave Bickers (Greeves), Dave Curtis (Matchless), Arthur Lampkin (BSA), Don and Derek Rickman (Metisse), and Jeff Smith (BSA). Need we say more?

Tear your eyes away from the action for long enough to glance upwards, however, and you could be rewarded by the sight of a dozen or more Spitfires, due to fly over Goodwood as an emotional tribute to the 75th anniversary of this celebrated British plane. A weekend of air displays will culminate on Sunday 18 September, with a dozen examples being scrambled for take-off.

Meanwhile, among the many tributes at this year’s Revival will be a homage to Lord March’s grandfather – Freddie March, the Ninth Duke of Richmond – the man who established the Goodwood Motor Circuit in 1948, the scene of Britain’s first post-War public motor racing event. Himself a respected racing driver, 2011 marks the 80th anniversary of the Duke’s victory for the Works MG racing team in the 1931 Brooklands Double Twelve. Goodwood will thus be staging a recreation of the MG team’s Brooklands paddock at the Revival, including a line-up of early-1930s supercharged racing MG C-type Midgets.

Also in the ‘tribute’ category is, unsurprisingly, a race to celebrate the already-much-celebrated 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type. This year, the Fordwater Trophy race will be exclusively for the ultra-iconic model – though only E-types of a type that raced up to 1966 are eligible.

Finally, for those of a romantic persuasion, a trio of blushing brides will walk down the aisle in full period wedding dress at the ‘St. Charles Chapel of Love’, as Goodwood stages three mock weddings from the 1948-1966 era at the main pedestrian entrance gate. Knowing the usual theatrical antics at the Revival, however, don’t be too sure that the weddings will go smoothly.

And do get digging in that wardrobe ASAP. The smell of mothballs takes a long time to fade.

Tickets for the 2011 Goodwood Revival are available in advance from the Ticket Hotline (+44 (0)1243 755055), by email via [email protected] or online at

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Classic Driver / Roger Dixon - all strictly copyright. For further information please visit

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