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
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!