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77th Members' Meeting report
Spring fever

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James Cottingham/Nicky Pastorelli


Ferrari 250 GTO/64




77th GRRC Members' Meeting (April 6, 2019)

James Cottingham/Nicky Pastorelli, Ferrari 250 GTO/64, Goodwood Members' Meeting

Most of the daffodils hit their peak too early but in every other respect postponing the Members’ Meeting by two weeks to early April proved to be a wise decision. The 77th of such meetings was held in near-perfect spring conditions, and the racing was excellent too – often on the verge of nailbiting, but clean and sportsmanship-like.

So, while blessed by the sun, the crowd enjoyed four magnificent demos celebrating the Porsche 917 in its various iterations, the BMW M1 Procar, Le Mans prototypes of recent history and the speedbowl silhouette racers of NASCAR. Among the races, the all-Mini Betty Richmond Trophy gathering 60 cars 60 years after the car’s birth was undoubtedly the novelty that had grabbed most pre-event headlines.

Bentley Speed 8, 2019 Goodwood Members Meeting

One of two Bentley Speed 8 LMP machines in the Goodwood paddocks. (photo 8W)

Picked from 300 applications, the 60 machines were divided into two heats of 30, the best 15 in each qualifying for the final. The first heat was won by Masters regular Ian Curley who fended off the attentions of Swedes Lars Ekorness and Tom Blomqvist – yes, the BMW DTM works driver – as favourites such as Chris Middlehurst, Ben Hatton and Gwendaf Owens failed to finish. The second heat went to Nick Swift after a fierce battle with the other quick Nick, himself and Padmore running away from Jonathan Lewis in a distant third. These three, along with Curley, turned the final into a nose-to-tail cracker that finished in the same order as the second heat, with Curley a close fourth, but Padmore only lost the win by going wide out of Woodcote on the final lap…

Another new addition to the programme was the event-closing Peter Collins Trophy for fifties Le Mans sportscars. This turned into a D-type fest, John Pearson leading home Martin Stretton and Steve Brooks. GTs from the same period were the stars of the Tony Gaze Trophy, with David Coulthard starting out as the favourite in IWC’s Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing. However, young Richard Woolmer caused an upset by outqualifying the 13-time GP winner, and in the race Woolmer’s Austin Healey 100 Coupé battled hard with DC until the elegantly lined machine gave up the ghost, handing the Mercedes an untroubled run to the finish line. Third place went to another ‘name’ driver – Jonathan Abecassis, grandson of former GP driver George Abecassis.

David Coulthard, Mercedes 300 SL, Richard Woolmer, Austin Healey 100 Coupé, 2019 Goodwood Members Meeting

David Coulthard keeping Richard Woolmer at bay in the Tony Gaze Trophy. (photo 8W)

Topping the list of sportscar races, however, was the Graham Hill Trophy, the ‘mini RAC TT’ attracting another top-notch entry. Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen took an easy win in their E-type but not after Minshaw was made to fight hard with Mike Whitaker’s ever-spectacular TVR Griffith. Only when the Griffith’s exhaust came loose while in the hands of relief driver Mike Jordan, Keen was free to claim an unchallenged victory. Second came another Griffith, the John Spiers example that Tiff Needell had stuck on pole – a performance least expected by the man himself. James Cottingham and Nicolas Minassian fought tooth and nail in their stints, but with Nicky Pastorelli behind the wheel the Dutch-run Ferrari began to edge clear of Anthony Reid in the Cobra started by Minassian to claim third.

The big-banger Gurney Cup was dominated by Cameron Jackson in the Crosslé-Oldsmobile Mk5B, but behind the youngster Craig Davies and Hans Hugenholtz (the Dutchman in his 1000th race!) tussled for second, the two GT40s leaving the Lotus 23Bs of Andrew Hibberd and Chris Goodwin behind.

Penske Zerex Special, 2019 Goodwood Members Meeting

A detail shot of the Penske Zerex Special. (photo 8W)

The event’s single-seater action was headlined by the Reg Parnell Trophy for early-fifties Grand Prix cars. Will Nuthall (Alta F2) kept Nigel Batchelor’s Kieft behind for the win, while third was claimed by Dutchman Alexander van der Lof in the Ferrari 340 F1 that was once brought to Europe from Argentina by his father, 1952 GP driver Dries van der Lof. The F3 screamers formed the other half of the single-seater bill, which saw Ben Mitchell (Brabham BT28) and Andrew Hibberd (BT18) dice for the lead, with the former coming out on top. Andy Jarvis in the March 703 took third, 12 seconds adrift.

Pre-war fans got a double helping at this year’s Members’ Meeting – which considering their appeal with the Goodwood crowd was no surprise. The new John Duff Trophy centered around late-twenties sportscars from what could be termed the Bentley era, but despite the best efforts of Ben Collings, Mathias Sielecki, Martin Overington and Gareth Graham the phalanx of thundering machines originating from Crewe were denied access to the podium by Gregor Fisken’s measly Vauxhall, Philip Champion’s little Frazer Nash and Trevor Swete’s typical Invicta.

Ford Capri, 2019 Goodwood Members Meeting

SKID indeed... (photo 8W)

The crowd went wild over the Selwyn Edge for Edwardian cars, a few Bugatti Brescias as the single early-twenties exceptions. This time Ben Collings did make the podium, now aboard his stunning Blitzen Benz, but at the front all attention was hijacked by Julian Mazjub’s Sunbeam and Tony Lees in the Vauxhall Viper Special. Seldomly separated by more than a second, the two contrived to what in the day would have been a dead heat, only modern timing deciding fate in favour of Majzub. The Blockley tyre man must have thought that that was not exciting enough as he claimed that he wouldn’t return if his adversaries wouldn’t try harder…

The most permanent fixture on the Members’ Meeting programme – the Gerry Marshall Trophy for seventies touring cars – was relentless in being the absolute crowd favourite. Tom Blomqvist and Kerry Michael starred in their little Escort keeping winners-on-the-road Craig Davies and Andy Newell honest before the small Ford expired and the big Mustang Boss 302 was scrapped from the final result. This handed victory to Neel Jani (making his Members’ Meeting debut) and James Wood in one of the Rover 3500 SD1s. The other famous Blomqvist – Stig, of course – took one of the other Rovers to victory in Sunday’s sprint race, ahead of Nick Padmore in the UFO BMW 530i. Third came Davies, from last on the grid after the Mustang’s exclusion on Saturday, only to be disqualified yet again…

More pictures of the paddock atmosphere and track action