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Now in its 6th edition the MM established itself as the season opener for the British Classic Car Race season
although this edition was given a later date in early April to avoid the cold weather of the previous years
including snow in 2018. Although this year the March was much warmer than in previous years it was still a
safer choice only with a few downsides. One of them was the lack of the typical yellow flower beds alongside
the track that made the pictures of the previous years so recognizable (a warm February led to an early
bloom), the other was the clash with the race series of Peter Auto that started its season the same weekend
in Barcelona keeping a few entrants away from Goodwood who were committed to the entire French race
Nevertheless the quality of cars was again well worth a visit and this year again not only attracted the cars but
a lot of well-known race drivers. Some of them were reunited with their former racers just like Tom Kristensen
demonstrating the Bentley EXP Speed 8 in the Bentley Centenary Year, others joined the numerous races or
the other demonstration runs. Those demonstrations are also the highlights of the weekend as they make the
single events distinguishable. This year celebrated the 50th anniversary of the legendary Porsche 917K, the
BMW M1 ProCar, the history of Le recent LMP Le Mans cars and the visitors from the American NASCAR
Back in 1969 Porsche finally took the chance in the change of the regulations to come up with a contender for
the overall title in the world sports car championship. The all-new 917 was shown to the public and the picture
of the 917s lined-up in Zuffenhausen for the homologation might be one of the most famous in the Porsche
history. The car was first shown in long tail configuration but as the car proved to be unstable at high speed
soon the short tail (“Kurzheck”) was introduced that should win Le Mans both in 1970 and 1971. After the first
overall victory by Hermann and Attwood the very first car was rebodied and painted in the winning Porsche
Salzburg colours as demonstrator for the press department. Now after 48 years the car is back in the original
configuration and after making its post restoration debut in Stuttgart it was driven for the very first time in
public last weekend, both by Attwood and recent LMP1 Porsche driver Mark Webber. It was joined by another
917K in Gulf colours as well as a 917/10 and two of the infamous 917/30 as raced in the CanAm series.
Chassis 917/30-001 also made its first appearance in the former colours of Vaillant-sponsorship.
Exactly 10 years younger were the other jubilees demonstrated in Goodwood with 5 BMW M1 Procars on
track on both days. In times where the car seems to make more difference than the drivers talent
specs-series were always a great measurement to compare the drivers. One of the most popular of these
series were the M1 Procar races at the European F1 race weekend in 1979 and 1980. The series were won
by Lauda and Piquet, especially for Lauda it must have been a welcome distraction from the horrible 1979
season where he only finished two races in the Brabham-Alfa Romeo.
But specs-series also work today as the single marque race of the weekend celebrated 60 years of the Mini.
Named after Betty Richmond, a keen Mini driver of the first hour, no less than 60 Minis participated in the
Betty Richmond Trophy. Split into 2 qualy races on Saturday and a final race of the fastest 30 on Sunday
apparently more than half of the entries were powered by an engine built by Mini specialist Swiftune. So
running on equal power this was the closest and most entertaining racing of the weekend and as todays
chassis are so rigid most of the corners were taken on three wheels. At the end it was Nick Swift himself
taking the win in a very close finish with the first 4 cars within 1.2 seconds. It remains his secret whether he
has spared a few horsepower for his own engine compared to his clients....
Many of the races are comparable with the Revival races although sometimes named different they feature the
same cars. The exceptions are the real old cars as seen in the S.F.Edge Trophy featuring the big aero
engined monsters built in between the wars or even before WWI. As the drivers are sitting more on the car
rather than in the car the spectators can actually see them working when they try to aim them through the
chicane. This race included highlight like the huge Fiat S76 that is a regular entrant at the Festival of Speed.
Built to compete in land speed records this fire spitting “Beast of Turin” is a handful in corners. It post
restoration debut made the Blitzen-Benz 200 HP from the Technikmuseum Sinsheim in Germany and raced
by Ben Collings to a remarkable third place. Up in front was a duel between the very original Sunbeam
Indianapolis of Julian Majzub and the Vauxhall Viper Special of Tony Lees. In a photo finish the Sunbeam was
only 18/1000 seconds ahead in the closest finish of the day. Majzub was spotted losing a tire during practice
but his mechanics were able to get the car back on track in only 3.5 minutes, well worth of a tires
manufacturer as Majzub is the owner of Blockley tires.
Unfortunately there is always shadow where on sees a lot of sun. Although the drivers were told well in
advance that they should not go over the top risking theirs and the lives of the spectators again a few were
driven by their own ambitions. In the very last race of the weekend a clash of a Cooper-Bristol and a Jaguar
D-Type had a close encounter ending in the wall resulting in the only red flag of the weekend, literally in the
very last minutes of Sunday racing action.
Apart from the racing Goodwood is always good for a party and whereas the Revival is legendary for its
spectators dressed up in period the Members Meeting hosts its own party on Saturday evening with life
music, entertaining in the fun parc and the show of the drummers and the stilt-walkers. After sunset the
backside of the grand hall becomes the amusement parc for a few hours enjoying the life at Goodwood.
After 6 editions it is safe to say that the members meeting is not only a must-visit for the members
themselves but also worth to look for the limited tickets available for non-members. Good racing with great
access and evening entertainment, what can one ask more on a mild spring weekend.
We will certainly be back next year when the 78th edition will be held, until then we look forward to the main
events with the Festival of Speed less than 3 months away.
Report & images ... Peter Singhof