Goodwood Revival Meeting
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Goodwood Revival Meeting, Goodwood, W. Sussex, England.
31 August – 02 September 2007.

The tenth running of the Goodwood Revival Meeting attracted a record crowd of 114,000 people to the picturesque Sussex circuit over the three days. The period costume theme that has always been an integral part of the gathering seems to get more popular with each running, with more people entering into the spirit of the occasion.

One sees policemen (and women) in period uniform, various old police vehicles from the fifties and sixties, a wide variety of uniforms from all arms of the military services. Then you had men in tweed suits wearing trilby hats and women in fine costumes with fur stoles, silk stockings and extravagant millinery, right through to the “mods and rockers” of the sixties on their motorcycles and motor scooters respectively. In the infield area there was a working barbers shop and wandering around was a barbers shop quartet, stopping to sing a song every so often, then there are other acts like the Laurel & Hardy and Marylin Monroe lookalikes! One of the rules of the event is that all vehicles within the circuit boundaries, apart from the safety vehicles, which are kept well hidden unless called into use, must be from the sixties or earlier to create the right atmosphere. In all, a truly eclectic range of retro fashions and vehicles 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 had the ingredients for a very special weekend, and that was before taking the racing and aerial activity into account!

As mentioned there is not only racing action, but also aerial activity with the daily flying display featuring aircraft from World War II, which attract a lot of onlookers as they take off and land on the grass air strip behind the paddock, and remain parked near to the paddock perimeter fence when not in use, for all to admire. This year there was also an aircraft concours for examples built before 1966, with twenty five pristine historic aircraft assembled in a special area between the airstrip and racing paddock. Spectators could even take to the sky themselves, by booking a pleasure flight in a period passenger aircraft, and thus being able to have a panoramic view of the activity on the circuit below.

Another new feature for 2007 was the “Woad Corner” showroom adjacent to the paddock, this is a thirties style Art Deco building which was typical of many British cars showrooms during the early post was years. It takes its name from the First Shell motorway service station in the UK, built to service the then newly opened M1 motorway in the early sixties. The new showroom at Goodwood had a special function , in that it was not only promoting Shell’s heritage, but was used as a celebration of Ferrari’s 60th anniversary, with  a fine selection of classic Ferraris in the showroom, workshop and parked at the period petrol pumps outside. These included rarities like a 250 Testa Rossa, a 250 GT “passo corto” berlinetta, a 250 GTO, and a 250 GT Nembo Spider.

Another feature was a celebration of the centenary of the Caravan Club, with a diverse display of pre-1967 caravans and appropriate tow vehicles, which also completed circuits of the track on each day. Other tributes included one to Roy Salvadori, with a fine array of the cars that he raced over the years taking to the track for demonstration runs, and the 40th anniversary of the first appearance of the Cosworth DFV engine in 1967. To celebrate this there was a diverse selection of F1 and sports racing cars that used it over the years, ranging from the Lotus 49 where it first saw Grand Prix action, to Ligier and Gulf Mirage sports racing cars. Although 1967 falls outside the remit of the Revival Meeting period, the Goodwood circuit was used extensively by teams using the engine for test purposes.

The event attracts an enormous cross section of past and present motor and motorcycle racing stars, the list of participating drivers and guests from all over the world reads like a motor sport Who’s Who, including Sir Jackie Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss, Jacky Ickx, Henri Pescarolo, Derek Bell, Rauno Aaltonen, Richard Attwood, Arturo Merzario, David Piper, Hurley Haywood, Marc Surer and Brian Redman, to name just a few amongst the “golden oldies”.

The raison d’etre of the gathering was of course the race meeting, although (apart from the roar of engines) one could be forgiven for not realising that one was taking place, such was the scope of all the other activities going on. There was in fact a very full and wide ranging sixteen race programme over the weekend.

If you want a historic race meeting with the ultimate ambience, great cars and motorcycles, in an idyllic setting, then you must add the Goodwood Revival Meting to your agenda. The organisational attention to detail is beyond reproach, the atmosphere tremendous, plus the racing activity is frequently exciting and close, incorporating a widely varied array of classic machinery mainly from the fifties and sixties era, with a sprinkling of pre-war vehicles.

Keith Bluemel


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