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Annette Mason handcuffs richard Branson

17.03.2013, 19:23:36 cet

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Goodwood, 8 September, 2002

The fifth annual running of the magnificently organised Goodwood Revival Meeting once again attracted a fine array of classic machinery, period costume and spectators in their droves, to the picturesque Sussex circuit over the first weekend of September. The period costume theme, viewed with some scepticism when first vaunted five years ago, has really caught the attendees imagination, and great time and effort is put in by many people to ”look the part”. One sees policemen (and women) in period uniform, St Trinian’s style ”naughty schoolgirls” shepherded by a mistress in gown and mortarboard, a wide variety of military uniforms from all the services, men in tweed suits wearing trilby hats, women in fine costumes with fur stoles and extravagant millinery, right through to the youth of the day representing the ”mods and rockers” syndrome of the sixties. In all, a truly eclectic range of retro fashions that combine to compliment the period paddock and circuit ambience that makes the event so special. Add in a liberal dose of late summer sunshine with a pleasant ambient temperature, and you have a very special weekend, even without taking the track and aerial activity into account.

Reach For The Sky
One of the ever popular features of the gathering is the daily air display featuring aircraft from World War II, which take off and land on the circuit air strip behind the paddock. Thus they are there for people to admire throughout the weekend when stationary. This year there were Hurricanes, Mustangs and Spitfires in the aerial displays, together with a fly past by the sole Lancaster bomber in flying order. Spectators could even take to the sky themselves, by booking a pleasure flight in a period aircraft, and thus being able to have a panoramic view of the activity on the circuit below.

Personality Parade
Not only does the event attract an enormous cross section of past and present motor and motorcycle racing stars, but also well known figures from other walks of life with a keen interest in historic racing. Richard Branson, head of the Virgin empire, was one of this years attendees and managed to get himself handcuffed by a shapely policewoman in the form of Annette Mason (wife of Nick) during a marshalling area encounter. Mercedes Benz provided a W196 Grand prix car, for David Coulthard to do demonstration runs at lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday, whilst Audi drivers Emanuele Pirro and Johnny Herbert had Audi (UK) Ltd supplied DKWs in the saloon car race, and both also drove in the TT Celebration race. Comedian Rowan Atkinson raced a Jaguar Mk VII with Sir Stirling Moss, whilst a veteran of the British comedy scene Norman Wisdom, a sprightly 87 years young, could be seen to be enjoying the track action from the guest enclosure.

Cops & Robbers
Comedy also featured in the on track activity during the Sunday lunch period, just as the military band of the Blues & Royals were finishing their marching routine in front of the main grandstand. Suddenly a trio of ”robbers” appeared running through their midst carrying their ”swag”, closely followed by ”policemen” with whistles blowing. The ”robbers” jumped into their waiting Jaguar get-away car driven by Tiff Needell, and tore off round the circuit leaving a pall of rubber smoke in their wake, with a Wolsey police car in hot pursuit. The ”police” in the meantime formed a roadblock at the chicane with an assortment of police vehicles. Upon arrival at the roadblock the Jaguar was neatly spun around and headed off round the circuit in the reverse direction, chased by the Wolsey that had done a lurching spin turn on the grass, and the rest of the roadblock assembly. Arriving back on the grid after on and off circuit antics around the track, there was nowhere to go as the way was blocked, and the mass of ”police” presence to the rear meant there was no escape. So the ”robbers” were dragged off to a waiting Black Maria, with ”policewoman” Annette Mason getting her man again, this time it was Tiff Needell who was the recipient of her handcuffs. A tremendous spectacle that drew great applause from the grandstands, and enlivened the lunch break.

And There Was Racing As Well!
One might be forgiven for forgetting that this was a race meeting such was the scope of all the other activities going on, but there was in fact a very full and wide ranging race programme over the two days. Friday and Saturday morning were given over to practise and qualifying sessions, with the first four races on Saturday afternoon running into the evening with the ninety minute Freddie March Memorial Trophy. This saw the fifties sports racing cars in the spirit of the Goodwood Nine Hour Race running into the twilight, evoking memories of the real races in the fifties.

There were some spectacular drives by numerous drivers throughout the programme, and it is difficult to nominate an outstanding drive as there were so many. It was a joy to watch Peter Hardman in the Ferrari 250 LM powering out of the chicane headlights ablaze, as it was at the other end of the power spectrum to see Barrie Williams sideways antics in a Morris Minor. He would just throw it sideways to slow it enough for Woodcote corner, entering the corner with the car pointing in the right direction for the exit, and then exiting the chicane at an angle of forty five degrees on full opposite lock, truly a great spectacle. Similarly Tony Dron In the Dino 246S put on a great display to beat much more powerful machinery, and was another to power slide out of the chicane.

The RAC Tourist Trophy Celebration provided some really close and spectacular racing, particularly in the early stages when the Lightweight ”E” Types of Emanuele Pirro and Frank Sytner were locked in close combat with the AC Cobra of Patrick Tambay, hardly a coat of paint separating them at times, until the Sytner car expired, leaving Pirro and Tambay to carry on the battle. Emanuele Pirro had the advantage at the driver change, but Henri Pescarolo, the second driver in the cobra, relentlessly hunted down Gregor Fisken who was now in the ”E” Type, to claim the victory at the end of the hour long race.

We now have to wait another year to thrill to the Goodwood spectacle once again, one shouldn’t wish one’s life away, BUT!

Keith Bluemel

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