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Still the right crowd, but slightly more crowding

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73rd GRRC Members' Meeting

Emanuele Pirro/Shaun Lynn, AC Cobra, Rob Hall/Andy Wolfe, AC Cobra, James Cottingham/Joe Twyman, Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupé, Bobby Verdon-Roe/Jamie McIntyre, Bizzarrini A3C, 2015 Goodwood Members' Meeting

The second Members’ Meeting of the modern era proved to be colder than last year’s, but last year’s success convinced many of the doubters not to stay away in 2015. The racing was even more spectacular – albeit with quite a bit of priceless damage – while the ‘high-speed demonstrations’ were now actually held at high speed! That made the 73rd Members’ Meeting into even more of a success compared to that of its predecessor, even though it took ages to warm up after…

After the organisers had tried almost anything to flog their remaining tickets last year, it was a surprise to turn up at the event and see ‘Sold out’ signs on display. Whereas it was obvious that ‘sold out’ in ‘73MM’ terms would never mean Revival figures, it was easy to see how much more visitors the event had attracted, especially in the paddocks, and around the chicane – a territory that is off-limits to most during the Revival but offers a very popular free viewing spot at the Members’ Meeting.

Group C paddock, 2015 Goodwood Members Meeting

The Group C paddock was quite the attraction. (photo 8W)

It was colder, too. In 2014, the weather gods were of extreme good will towards Lord March, and banking on a similar scenario the organisers rolled out the icecream vans. Sadly, they had no business at all, since a frosty wind from the Northeast brought a nasty chill to the event. Only when the sun came out – on Saturday morning and on Sunday late in the afternoon – the weather was enjoyable. Several Brits, however, seemed to have a thermostate that was working to a different calibration, with the drum band that during the party on Saturday night performed in t-shirts taking their weather resistance to the absolute limit.

On the plus side, the demos were infinitely better than last year’s. As these were largely ruined by no-overtaking orders, all cars trailing the slowest one around eventually, Goodwood wisely decided on allowing the cars to overtake. Towards the end of each demo section, the high-airbox F1 cars of the early and mid-seventies, the Group C cars and the McLaren-BMW F1-GTRs were attacking the circuit, only taking some precaution in the corners but really pulling through the gears on the straights. It was a joy to see (and hear) Emanuele Pirro perform in Niki Lauda’s 1974 Ferrari 312B3, while Stoffel Vandoorne did the same in Emerson Fittipaldi’s 1975 McLaren M23, as did Andy Wallace in the Jaguar XJR-9 he used to share with Jan Lammers. Another man happy to give it some stick was FIA Historic F1 driver Katsu Kubota, both in his Lotus 72 and his Nissan R90CK.

Aston Martin Project 214, 2015 Goodwood Members Meeting

Jeans and sneakers were 'heavily discouraged' for spectators, but they proved very useful for mechanics. A scene you won't see at the Revival, but it was nice to see that the dress code was voluntary here, with less 'costuming' going on. (photo 8W)

If these cars had been timed officially, it would have left us all wide-eyed. Freddie Hunt, for instance, making a nostalgic appearance in his father’s Hesketh 308, got down to a 1.13 while (probably) not even fully trying, a time that compares very, very favourably to the new lap record set by Nick Padmore during the Bruce McLaren Trophy. In his bellowing Lola-Chevrolet T70 Spyder, ‘The Padsta’ did a 1.18.2, which was only two tenths slower than his pole time and beat Andrew Smith’s existing record. Smith, his arm still in plaster after his unfortunate Baja California crash, was sad to see the record stolen from him, but was happy that he is still the only two-time winner at the Members’ Meeting.

Speed keeps on increasing at Goodwood, since the Graham Hill Trophy pole time was faster than any time ever done for the RAC TT Celebration, the Revival’s equivalent to the Graham Hill Trophy. Now also compare the Wolfe/Hall Cobra’s time of 1.25.0 to Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart’s shared outright 1965 lap record of 1.20.4, with just four-and-a-half seconds between a pukka F1 car and a mere sportscar of the same sage, and we start seeing the fruits of, shall we say, modern preparation…

AC Cobra, 2015 Goodwood Members Meeting

Dutch-sourced daffodils were once again lining the track, and a great sight it was. (photo 8W)

More pictures of the Saturday paddock atmosphere and track action

Padmore’s win, as well as Barrie Baxter’s victory in the BRM Type 25 in BRP colours, was with a comfortable margin, but these were the exception rather than the norm during 73MM. Amazingly, we were even treated to a photo finish! The F3 screamers in the Derek Bell Trophy had already put on a great show but the last yards of their race were made even more spectacular when James King stole victory in his Chevron B17, beating long-time leader Simon Armer’s March 703 across the lines by mere inches.

The Sopwith Cup also saw a last-lap lead change, as Andy Wallace turned his Jaguar Mk1 into a winner by edging past Richard Meins’ Austin A40 with less than a mile to go. The weekend-closing Salvadori Cup was a nailbiting affair too, Sam Hancock beating Shaun Lynn’s similar Knobbly by half a second.

2015 Goodwood Members Meeting

Saturday's events ended with some amazing festivities. (photo 8W)

Another Knobbly was the most famous non-starter of the weekend, however. During practice for the Salvadori Cup, Jochen Mass in the Porter SLS rammed hard into the back of Tony Wood’s Lister when Wood decided to make it to the pits after all. The result was a huge mess in the pit entrance, and proceedings were halted for quite some time. Fortunately, both Mass and Wood escaped unscathed. Another man happy that things didn’t end up worse was Paul Waine, whose De Sanctis F3 got entangled with another competitor’s wheels during Derek Bell Cup practice, with the result that Waine was catapulted into the air. Many yards further down the Madgwick corner the car landed cat-like on its feet, however, which saved Waine from serious harm.

Spitting flames was one thing – mostly done by Stuart Graham’s Brut(e) Camaro and Rupert Clevely’s Shelby Mustang GT350 – but Hans Hugenholtz got quite a scare when his Elite inadvertently caught fire during the Les Leston Cup. The Dutchman bailed out, after which the fire was quickly extinguished, but the glassfibre rear of the pretty red was heavily burned and damaged. A split seal in the right rear brake caliper was found as the cause.

Porsche 911s, 2015 Goodwood Members Meeting

Sideways through Lavant, that's what it was all about for those daring to confront the cold wind at the back of the circuit. (photo 8W)

It was refreshing to see a 1935 cut-off date implemented for the Earl Howe Trophy, which meant that for once the all-dominating ERAs had no chance of, well, dominating. Instead, the leading four drivers put a smile on anyone’s face, Sean Danaher’s Maserati 8CM battling it out with Joe Gibbs in the quick Frazer Nash single-seater and the Bugattis of Stephen Shoosmith and Duncan Pittaway. In the back, Martin Overington – who had the most unlikely combination of cars with his Bentley Blower and Porsche 962 – attracted much of the attention, along with that other supercharged mastodont, the SSK of Thomas Kern, which amazed by driving out of the Lavant gravel trap on its own power…

Both Gerry Marshall Trophy races were a blast, simply because of seventies touring cars being seventies touring cars, while the John Aldington Trophy for Porsche 911s saw the irrepressable Mark Bates steal the limelight from winner Andrew Jordan. Bates knew no other way to attack corners than by going extremely sideways, and while he confessed this was probably not the most efficient way it was certainly the most fun way, for driver and spectator alike. That he still managed to beat Phil Hindley into second place after a race-long battle beggared belief.

Lister-Jaguar 'Flat Iron', 2015 Goodwood Members Meeting

Going by the large number of women showing up, the meeting was all but a She Hell... (photo 8W)

A peculiar Saturday intermezzo was the IWC time-trial put on with three very different Mercedes cars: the 2013 Mercedes W04 F1 car, a brand new AMG-GT and the seventies icon that is the 300 SEL 6.3 AMG. The F1 car was donned in 2015 livery, with ‘AMG Hybrid’ decals and all, but its distinct 2.4-litre V8 sound and its ghastly high nose gave it away. It was a strange sensation hearing the high-pitched tones of the last generation atmospheric F1 engines grace the grounds of Goodwood. Driven by Toyota works driver Anthony Davidson – a strange choice with so many Mercedes-affiliated drivers around – it had no trouble overcoming its handicap against the Karl Wendlinger-driven AMG-GT and the Red Pig piloted by Jochen Mass.

Finally, the prize for most obscure racing machinery in one race must go to the Trevor Taylor Trophy for Formula Junior cars. We were already familiar with the likes of the Caravelle, Sauter, Deep Sanderson and Envoy, but to also see a Jolus-Ford, a Facioli-Fiat, a RAM-Fiat and a PBA-DKW was quite something else. Isn’t it sad that the single-seater ladder to F1 is practically the business of just one Italian manufacturer from Varano de’ Melegari these days?

2015 Goodwood Members Meeting

... instead, it proved quite a popular couple's day out.
Riding boots were an obvious theme in the female fashion for the event. (photo 8W)

More pictures of the Sunday paddock atmosphere and track action