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Chichester, 9th - 10th of April, 2022

“The right crowd but not crowded”, this might be the one expression that fits the Goodwood Members Meeting. The Goodwood Road Racing Club has three major events during the year and each of them is unique in its own right. The oldest of them is the Festival of Speed going up the hill at Goodwood house, this is together with the British F1 GP the largest motor sport event in the UK. It is dedicated to everything fast and loud on two and four wheels and also includes a replacement for the British Motor show as it features all the manufacturers on display in the large infield.

The most famous of the events certainly is the Revival Meeting that is defined by “A magical step back in time” on the circuit with the atmosphere of the glorious days of Goodwood in the 1950s.

But what is when you take away all the supporting program, the actors and the period dresses from the Revival? A pretty good race meeting on the very fast track on the former airfield near Chichester.

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Until the closure of the circuit the GRRC held 71 members meetings and in 2014 the team of Lord March revived the idea of a pure race meeting for their members as a third leg for the motor sport to stand on, the 72nd Members Meeting was held early in that year. Now, after a two-year break after being hit by the pandemic it was finally time for the 79th edition this last weekend. In 11 different classes cars and bikes were invited to Chichester on a two days meeting with some familiar classes from the Revival meeting but also some different ones alternating through the years for variety.

What makes the MM so different from the Revival is that it is much more accessible and due to the lack of all these corporate sponsor VIP tents it seems to be a more genuine race meeting that attracts the right crowd, people who purely love the racing and do not overvalue the surrounding. Unlike the Revival the paddocks are open for everybody and the famous chicane before start-finish could be attended without being sort of VIP.

So early in the morning the cars were lining up in traffic for the surrounding car parcs as most visitors used the morning before the races to have a look around in the paddocks before finding a sport around the track to watch the races. Several years ago, the old stone paddocks behind race control were remodeled and these usually show a special display as the meeting does not only features the races but also dynamic demonstration runs of cars usually not seen on the circuit, mostly because they are way too fast for the given circumstances. In the past we had glorious displays of Porsche 917 or McLaren F1, but also of race series like the Group C of the 1980s and 1990s as well as different F1 years.


This year’s feature was dedicated to the legendary Porsche 956/962 that should dominate the early Group C era with no less than 6 successive victories at Le Mans between 1982 and 1987. It took the competitors all those years to come up with an answer to the very fast and reliable 956 from Zuffenhausen that was developed by the team of Norbert Singer. In its first outing at LM the works Porsche team with the famous Rothmans livery took the entire podium with their three cars showing that they had speed and reliability. In 1983 Porsche might have seen its most dominant year in LM and the results list show no less than 9 Porsche 956 in the top ten resulting in the epic advertisement showing the winners list with the suffix “Nobody´s perfect”. This also showed that Porsche was never purely a factory team but also supported customer teams just like in the early days of the Porsche 550 or 718 RSK where privateers made Porsche the most successful sports car marque with the most race victories worldwide. Those team included Joest Racing but also the American Preston Henn T-Bird Swap Shop Racing that showed that one of the most important markets was the American one. This resulted also in the development of the 956 successors, the 962.

The problem of the 956 was that it did not match the regulations of the American IMSA series and so the car was restricted to the world sports car championship, whereas the 962 with a longer wheelbase (to get the drivers feet behind the front axle) met both regulations and therefore was eligible for both series, the engine was used depending of the requirements. This resulted in the name 962 for the American series car and the 962C for Group C racing. About 20 examples of the turbocharger flat-6 were on display at the MM and most of them were actually driven on the track making this a glorious sight, especially at Saturday evening when they drove into the sunset after being displayed for the public grid walk on the main straight.

The second special demonstration was dedicated to F1 of the V8 era from 1989-2005. Originally planned as a two-part demonstration a lot of cars did not run as they are extremely costly and difficult to maintain so at the end it came down to a single demonstration of various cars. The Ferrari of the Schumacher era unfortunately remained silent as they are extremely difficult to run without the guidance of the Ferrari F1 clienti team. Overall, the demo was not as spectacular as expected but still with some highlights. From the factory at Woking McLaren brought a MP4/5B as used by Senna in his championship winning 1990 season. No other than his nephew Bruno Senna was piloting the MP4/5B around Goodwood and he certainly got most of the media attention that day.

Which brings us to the actual racing. The Members Meeting featured very different classes ranging from a single bike race over multiple saloon and formula races to the sports cars from the 1930s to the 1960s. Some of these races are known from the Revival although the mostly carry different names and slightly modified entry years. The main race of the Revival is usually the two-drivers GT race of the 1960s, the RAC Trophy. At the MM this is the Graham Hill Trophy and consists of several Jaguar E-Type and AC Cobras. Although a few big names like house captain Emanuele Pirro or the first Porsche Le Mans winner Richard Attwood were entered in the race it certainly lacks the flood of celebrity racers of the Revival counterpart. At the end it was the pole sitting Jaguar E-Type of Minshaw/Keen that took the chequered flag with a comfortable lead over the Ferrari 250 GTO/64 rep of Franchitti and Pastorelli.

After the Hill Trophy the later sports cars took the track in the traditionally fastest race of the weekend, the Surtees Trophy including the Lola T70 Spyders and the GT40s. This was also one of the closest races of the weekend as the winner Oliver Bryant in the Lola-Chevrolet T70 Spyder was only 4 tenths of a second ahead of Rob Halls McLaren-Chevrolet M1A after 19 laps on the high-speed circuit.

In the afternoon of Sunday, the race classes got more and more exciting as our favorite pre-war and 1950s sports car races were held at the end of the day. Goodwood always excites with a race nowhere else to be seen. After GT40, Jaguar D-Type, Bentley or Single Ferrari races this time it was a single marque race for the chain-driven Frazer Nash of the 1920s and 1930s. Probably never before have anybody seen 29 of them coming down the straight at the start of the A.F.P Fane Trophy, named after the late British racing driver and part owner of the Frazer Nash who entered a Frazer Nash TT in Le Mans and later drove the BMW 328 variation. The race was very entertaining and one might forget that immense power of these narrow track cars and it was exciting to see the speed and drifts of these cars. Unfortunately, the AFP Fane Trophy also was the stage for the low point of the weekend as a severe crash in the back straight towards Lavant corner brought the racing to a halt for almost 1.5 hours. Reportingly one of the cars flipped throwing out the driver who suffered from chest injuries. He was been taken care of track site by the medical staff and flown to the hospital with some fractions but in stable condition. This was the minute the drivers again were reminded just how dangerous this track can be, especially for the pre-war cars without any safety features.

This might have mostly affected the Varzi Trophy of pre-war racing cars like the Bugattis and Alfa Romeos that had to wait in the assembly area for the longest time until the track was cleared again after the accident. Nevertheless, they had a great race and it is always seen that the respect and the caution is more common in these races where people know that accidents really hurt. The pre-war races also are the ones that usually spread out quickly as the pace difference is bigger than in other classes. The winning Alfa Romeo 8C Monza of Blakeney-Edwards crossed the line almost half a minute ahead of the following Delahaye despite the race was shortened to 15 minutes to avoid them running into the night.

After the Varzi Trophy the sports cars of the 1950s hit the track, also in a slightly shorter race. Unlike the other race groups the Peter Collins Trophy was not seen the day before as they had their qualifying session that morning and the race in the evening. Soon the race became a fight between the Lister-Jaguar of James Thorpe, the Maserati 300S of David Hart and the Jaguar D-Type of Garry Pearson, all three of them within 2 seconds on the finish line with the better end for the Lister.

Last but not least the touring cars of the 1970s had their second race that weekend. With a reversed grid the front runners really had to make their way through the field but as the track provides a lot of overtaking opportunities for a faster car the Camaro Z28 of Tetley/Buncombe won both races at the end.

So finally, the continental European were able to get back to the UK after last year’s travel restrictions when Goodwood both held the Festival of Speed and the Revival but mainly for the British visitors. It was great to get back to Goodwood after 2 years and the Members Meeting was a great start into the European race season that will see the Monaco Historic GP and Le Mans Classic later this year. Although the weather forecast did not sound to promising the weather was much better than expected. It was not really warm but nowhere as cold as a few years ago when the MM saw snow. With the sun out for several hours and a great sunset on Saturday the atmosphere was as good as hoped for. Although the smallest of the three events it seemed to be better visited than in any of the previous years as both the chicane as well as the outside of Madgwick and Woodcote was very popular among the spectators. They saw some great racing in a much more relaxed atmosphere than during the big two events. Furthermore, the evening entertaining on Saturday with roundabout, live music and performance was very well received by those who were desperate to get back to normal after two years of deprivation. Let´s hope that this continues over the year and that the scheduled meetings will go ahead as planned.

We are looking forward to get back to the Festival of Speed and the Revival later this year and we have also marked the 80th Members Meeting to take part next April.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof

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