A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
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A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
A magical step back in time ... Goodwood Revival
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Goodwood, 9th - 11th of September, 2016

A magical step back in time! This was always the slogan of the Goodwood Revival Meeting in September recreating an atmosphere of the past both on and off the track, but never was the time as precise as this year: 1966.
Half a century ago the final curtain fell on the high speed circuit near Chichester that showcased many international races over two decades linked with all the great names of this era like Sir Stirling Moss who won the very first race in 1948 and ended his career after a horrible crash in 1962.

With the introduction of the three-litre Formula 1 in 1966 doubling the displacement of the previous year the track layout and the safety where simply not up-to-date anymore and rather than changing the whole settings the circuit closed its doors for three decades before being restored and used for the Revival. This was certainly a very good reason to celebrate this special anniversary and to finally bring those cars to Goodwood that ended its active time: the three-litre F1 cars.

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Located in the recreation of the old Reims paddocks the 1966-1968 F1 cars could be admired by the public throughout the weekend and in a special parade no less than 14 cars where lined up including three Lotus 49 with the Cosworth engine that should characterize the following years but also more exotic machinery as the Maserati and Alfa Romeo engined Coopers. But the all new racing formula was not won by the established Lotus team with title defender Jim Clark with the all new H16 BRM engine that proved to be too complicated and unreliable but by the Brabham team with Sir Jack Brabham becoming the first (and by now only) F1 champion in a car bearing his own name. After using the Climax engine in the previous years just as his opponents Brabham opted for a rather simple engine based on an Oldsmobile V8 Alloy block and race prepared by Repco rather than the more exotic new constructions. Six years after his first two titles for Cooper Brabham won his final championship in 1966, another good reason the celebrate in a special parade making him the featured driver of the day this weekend in Goodwood.

Unfortunately those who are able to tell stories about the active time in Goodwood become less every year but those remembering Sir Jack were more than happy to join his celebration piloting significant cars of his career around the track on all three days. Joining David Brabham piloting his father’s championship winning Cooper T51 was Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees and Sir Jackie Stewart leading the parade. As it was just common those day to race in different race series rather than just one as today Brabham was also driving sports cars sharing the Aston Martin DBR1 with Sir Stirling to win the Nuerburgring 1000km in 1958 for example but unlike Moss “Black Jack” always seemed to prefer open wheel racing as one could see in the line-up of cars of his career although one of his last victories was with a Matra-Simca MS650 in Montlhery in 1970 before he retired returning to Australia to go farming.

But certainly 1966 had not only a strong impact on racing but in sports in general in the UK as just weeks after the last race in Goodwood the entire nation was looking towards Wembley. Being the mother land of Football the World Championship brought football home and with the local team qualifying for the final in Wembley the entire country was looking towards the “Cathedral of Football”. In a memorable final again West Germany England finally won his one (and by now only) title being another great theme for the Revival. Some might have been surprised looking at the huge banners over the main entrance showing the protagonists of this final rather than the common race cars but after being welcomed by a fanatic fan crowd supporting England at the gate one was well aware about the theme. “On the road to Wembley” brought back some memories of this civil defeat of Germany making a refreshing change to the ever returning WW2 celebrations remembering the time when Goodwood was a military air base during the dark days.

Apart from the non-competitive displays of the featured themes again a 16-race program was set up to entertain the visitors on another sold out Goodwood weekend. Despite a very varying weather forecast mentioning everything from sun to rain due to the strict pre-sale policy of the organizers the weather had no effect on the number of visitors making sure that even on a rainy day the circuit is well visited. As the locals and most of the visitors are used to the British weather anyway some rain showers as in previous years during the RAC TT Celebration cannot spoil the fun although a completely rained out Saturday this year certainly challenged both the period dressing and the natural parking areas to the max. After most of the practice sessions on Friday were held in the dry even the sun was out for a few minutes for the first race on the evening.

Unlike in previous years when the Freddie March Memorial Trophy had the privilege to race into the sunset it was the new Kinrara Trophy for GT cars up to 1962 to open the meetings race program. Normally part of the RAC TT Celebration up to 1964 these cars had an own race now featuring several Ferrari 250 GT SWB and Aston Martin DB4 GT as well as Jaguar E-Types. After a thrilling race including the inevitable safety car period in a one-hour two-drivers race it was Tom Kristensen piloting the Ferrari 250 GT SWB partnered by Joe Macari over the line to take the chequered flag in front of the Jaguar E-Type of James Cottingham and Andrew Smith.

After the clouds could keep the water the day before finally on Saturday morning the rain set in and although it was predicted to get better in the afternoon basically the entire day was wet leaving the track in tricky conditions. The first to go out in the morning was the Goodwood Trophy for the Grand Prix cars of the pre-1951 era. As those do not have any safety featured like safety bell or roll bar the drivers had to be very caution to keep the narrow tires on the road as the high center of gravity and the wet and muddy grass on the run-off area flip the car almost certain when losing it. But as usual the drivers of the pre-war races are less grimly leaving their opponents enough room so the race so all the 24 cars string the race made it over the finish line with a Maserati-Alfa Romeo-Bugatti podium. With the open wheels the wet track certainly gave the spectators some entertainment with the spray unharmed by any fenders.

The worst condition could be seen during the official practice of the RAC TT Celebration at noon when times of the top qualifiers where almost in the same region as those of the pre-war cars more than 30 seconds slower than the day before. Especially the Cobra drivers seemed to struggle with the conditions as only one example (of Bryant / Smith) was placed in the top-7 between six Jaguars whereas in the dry no less than 5 of them were placed there. Top qualifiers were last year’s winners Shedden / Ward in the Jaguar E-Type.

After both the bikes and even the young pedalists of the Settrington Cup braved the rain the day ended with the Whitsun Trophy for the most powerful sports prototypes until 1966 and the Freddie March Memorial Trophy for the Jaguar C-Types, Ferrari 500 TRC, Aston Martin DB3S and Maserati A6.

Sunday finally made up for the two mixed days before and the sun was out early in the morning. Before the racing starts one had the opportunity to explore the fascination of the Revival with all the period dressed visitors hiding their vintage cloths under rain coats the days before. As mentioned multiple times in the past Goodwood is far more than just racing and when the reporters on the festival radio interviewed some people one could hear more than once that some visitors do not even attend for the racing. With the infield and the pleasure area “over the road” there is much more to do during the day so this is the event to attend with your family even if they are not excited about old race cars.

But racing is still a big part of the fun and no other race than the main race of the day, the RAC TT Celebration does show that more. A one-hour two-drivers race this features a lot of professional race drivers past and present to exploit the limits of the track and the cars. Already at the start the pole sitters had to go over the grass to maintain their position against a horde of Cobras storming down the main straight. With some contacts and off-track excursions it was not uncommon that the safety car was out and after the mandatory drivers change the race was between the Jaguar E-type of Shedden / Ward and no less than three Cobras following. In the closing stage the blue Cobra driven by Van der Garde took the lead just to be send into a spin after making contact with the Jaguar so finally the last year’s winners could repeat their victory followed by the Cobras of Squire / Stippler and Smith / Bryant to complete the podium in front of a disappointed team Hart / Van der Garde. They will have to wait another year for the trial to get the crown in the most fought out race of the weekend and unfortunately so do have we after a great weekend.

Goodwood is often referred as the best classic car event out there. This certainly depends on your personal taste but there are not many think speaking against the Revival. Maybe a few of those attending the first editions might notify a tendency towards commercialization but as this is a natural development and not forced by the beginning this is certainly something one can live with. One has to keep in mind that setting up an event like this with far more than 100,000 visitors and the number of volunteers and service providers is a huge task that requires professionalism and therefore a lot of money. By restoring the circuit and introducing the Revival almost two decades ago Lord March took a high risk and it pays off. Over the last years he gave a huge amount of regular visitors a lot of great memories and the area a huge touristic income both during the Festival of Speed and the Revival and the new Members Meeting. Next year will see the 20th edition of the Revival and we are looking forward to another superb three days of racing and unmatched atmosphere only possible in the traditional UK.

Text & images … Peter Singhof
www.ClassicCarPhotography.de




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