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Taking up the traditional British sportsmanship as seen for example in the rivalry of the elite universities
Cambridge and Oxford both drivers and visitors are assigned to four different houses led by the team captains
Pirro, Mass, Minassian and Reid into a friendly battle on and offside of the track including the races and many
different social games making the visit a more active than passive adventure, but without being forced into any
participation if one does prefer to only watch. Furthermore the MM features a party including fireworks on the
Saturday for some extra evening entertaining to make the trip to West Sussex even more worth the efforts of
the limited hotel capacities that are even visible to the smaller compared to the mega events in summer and
But being held on the same track certainly a comparison to the Revival has to be made and with some of the
races sharing the same type of cars the Revival is still unbeaten in quality. But the Members Meeting also
features special high speed demonstrations and a few exclusive races that stand out every year. There are
few organizers who have the connections to set up special themes on every event featuring some of the most
interesting cars both from private collections and work museums and driven by many of their original period
drivers reunited with their cars on the historic track. Goodwood was always special in saloon racing as the St.
Mary´s trophy in September features some of the best historic races when Le Mans winners Emanuele Pirro,
Tom Kristensen as well as touring car champions Steve Soper or Roberto Ravaglia are drifting through the
high speed corners in close wheel to wheel battles. The MM took up this tradition with the Gerry Marshall
trophy for the later touring cars from the 1970s that did race any more on the original track back in time. In an
one hour two drivers race into the sunset (hidden behind clouds) the drivers mentioned before where joined by
Gerhard Berger. Berger was just announced becoming chief of the DTM and was reunited with one of his early
touring cars during the Group A demonstration runs, his former BMW 635 CSI entered by the Schnitzer
Team. Together with several BMW M3, Ford Sierra and Rover Vitesse this was one of three special displays
of the weekend.
There are many glorious eras in long distance races and especially in Le Mans and two of them were
celebrated this weekend. After the battle of Ferrari and Porsche with their 5-litre Prototypes in 1970 as
celebrated in the last years Members Meeting this year their smaller successors were featured. Especially
Porsche coming from the 3-Litre engine prior to the legendary 917 kept the 908 for smaller track like the
Nuerburgring and the Targa Florio were they were raced with much success. When the Group 5 was ended for
the 1972 season other 3-litre like the three times LM winning Matra-Simca 670 and the World Sportscar
Championship winning Ferrari 312 PB took over and especially the Matra with its glorious sound was one of
the favorites of this weekend. Unfortunately none of the listed 312 PB actually made it to Goodwood so it was
the Alfa T33 Spider that had to hold up the Italian flag.
After the Group C era the works team were back in full force at the end of the 1990s. At this time Porsche,
BMW, Mercedes, McLaren and Toyota were responsible for some of the most exciting years in the Le Mans
history with the GT1 regulations. The first one to win was the McLaren F1 GTR that had its own feature two
years ago and this time was joined on track by all the evolutions of the Porsche 911 GT1 culminating in the
victory of the GT1/98 in 1998. This was the last victory of a Porsche works entry before the long dominance of
Audi before the return of Porsche recently.
The undisputed highlight was the S.F.Edge Trophy for Edwardian Specials, a race unique to the Members
Meeting. This race features a diversity of racers ranging from the small GN taking the chicane sideways to the
monstrous Fiat S76 that had to be carried at idle speed though the change of direction due to his high center
of gravity before pulling down the main straight with its 28 litre displacement engine. Built as a land speed
record car the “Beast of Turin” was never intended to turn and so the driver Duncan Pittaway had all hands full
to tame the fire spitting beast. Other cars of special interest might have been the Blitzen Benz from the
Technikmuseum Sinsheim or the Mercedes 60 HP with the driver sitting rather on the car than in it. Although
the oldest car in the grid it was by far not the slowest and just like the others it made quit a spectacle very
much to the enjoyment of the spectators, where else can one see the drivers actually working in the car like
this. In front there was the battle between the big Delage V12 of Daniel Sielecki and the tiny GN Curtis of
Patrick Blakeney-Edwards and Sielecki had to pay attention not to overlook the small racer during the
ongoing battle that the Argentinian finally brought home by just over half a second for his house Aubigny. As
the chicane was accessible for the general public unlike the restricted VIP access during the Revival the
spectators were standing in three rows cheering at the drivers coming by having the best time of the day.
Another pre-war race was the Varzi Trophy named after the great Italian Champion of the 1930s whose duels
with Tazio Nuvolari are legendary. Varzi drove both for Alfa Romeo and Bugatti and therefore the Varzi trophy
was restricted to the Franco-Italian duel. Taken the usual victorious ERA from the Goodwood trophy at the
Revival out of the line-up this became a race where the Alfa Romeo P3 of Christian Gläsel could shine. Just
like in the early 1930s it was the straight-eight dominating the race and even with a visit to the grass Gläsel
dominated the race ahead of Maserati and Bugatti. The former Scuderia Ferrari entered P3 (s/n 5006) was
raced by Peter Giddings in recent years in the US before finding a new home at Gläsels stable who was busy
driving this weekend as he did not just drive the Alfa but also a Ford GT40 in the Surtees trophy and a
McLaren F1 in the demonstration.
A special moment was just before the Surtees Trophy, the last race of the weekend for the big sports
prototypes. John Surtees was one of the closest supporters of the Goodwood events right from the beginning
as he had a personal tie to the circuit debuting 57 years ago on four wheels in a Formula Junior race.
Apparently this would have been the anniversary for this debut this weekend and Surtees would have been
certainly celebrated in style. Unfortunately the only word champion on two and four wheels passed away just
days before and this was even more a reason to celebrate the gentlemen in style with a minute of noise rather
than silence. After the Earl of March lapping the circuit in the ex-Surtees Lola T70 all the engine in the
paddock were joining in the chorus giving Surtees a deserved fair well as another great man who will be
missed in the future events.
Overall this was again a great weekend at Goodwood and as it was sold out just as before it seems that a lot
of people appreciate the efforts of the Goodwood Team to set up a third motoring event. As reported this was
already the 47th historical event in the book of the Earl of March making this a very successful era with a third
leg to stand on. Maybe not the big commercial event like the Festival of Speed and the Revival but with a very
relaxed atmosphere of a club racing weekend in the English Countryside.
So if one is looking for downsides at the Members Meeting there are really few. One thing might be the cold
weather that gave us another windy Members Meeting in early spring and the other might be the increasing
amount of replicas and reconstructions taking the track. One can argue that the normal spectator loves
seeing the close and competitive racing and the numerous fender benders coming with that reduce the
willingness of the owners to risk an original 8-figure Jaguar E-Type lightweight or Ferrari 250 GT SWB or GTO
in the battle but still others might prefer seeing the real deal rather than hot-rod E-Types and Cobras running
in front. But also the Ferrari are affected by that as both the 250 LM and the 250 GTO/64 in the Graham Hill
trophy were replication of the real deal. One might say that this is not a theme in club racing but as
Goodwood certainly is trendsetter this becomes more and more common leaving the real cars to the investors
rather than the racers.
One will see how things develop in the future and whether the organizers of the race events all over the world
will let it go or whether they put a stop on that, Goodwood certainly would be in a position to do so by
restricting the event to genuine cars.
Report & Images … Peter Singhof