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80th Members' Meeting report
Getting back into the groove

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Rob Huff


Chevrolet Camaro Z28




80th GRRC Members' Meeting (April 15, 2023)

Rob Huff, Chevrolet Camaro Z28, 2023 Goodwood Members' Meeting

With Goodwood's Members' Meeting now firmly returned to its rightful place on the historic calendar, we headed back to Britain in this first post-pandemic spring season to reacquaint ourselves with one of the most likeable motor racing events of the year. It was busier than ever, but that's only logical given the fact that the estate needs to recoup some the losses incurred during the covid era. Still, compared to the Revival of recent years, the club atmosphere remained all around the paddock and the track, with two chilly but mostly sunny days as an added bonus.

Much of the racing was exciting too – and while the seventies touring cars of the former Gerry Marshall Trophy (now Gordon Spice Trophy) again proved to be the crowd favourites, the pair of close finishes in the S.F. Edge Trophy for Edwardian cars was arguably the most nailbiting of all 15 races. Twice, Mark Walker in the 1905 25-litre Darracq 200hp got off the line slowly, hampered by the car's 2-speed gearbox, but soon Julian Majzub's leading 1916 Sunbeam Indianapolis carried a French target on its tail, which got hit on both days – both on in the dying metres of the race.

Fred Shepherd, Ford Mustang Boss, 2023 Goodwood Members Meeting

Fred Shepherd looked to have stolen the win in the Boss Mustang, but the Gordon Spice Trophy was handed to Rob Huff on countback. (photo 8W)

The Gordon Spice Trophy did indeed deliver on all the spicy promises, though. The two drivers who damaged their cars with spectacular offs in qualifying would lead the way in the opening heat for the big cars, as Jake Hill in a Capri with a battered left-hand side held off Olivier Hart in a Camaro with its rear bumper taped back on. Soon, though, Rob Huff joined them in David Clark's Camaro, but while Hart had to give in to the pressure exerted by the 2012 World Touring Car champion, Hill remained solid at the front. More excitement unfolded in the heat for the smaller cars, as Nick Swift's Mini 1275 GT battled the German presence of Jim Morris in a very rapid Volkswagen Golf and Tom Shephard in a Scirocco. Morris led initially but in the end Swift beat him to the line.

The next day, the heat was on in the final that would serve as the curtain-closer for the event. Amidst two red flags, Hill again took charge but when his Capri was meatballed for his right rear tyre rubbing against its wheel arch, Huff was the favourite for the overall win. He was challenged hard by Jack Tetley in one of the Dutch-born Camaros, though, and it all ended in tears when the two American cars clashed into Woodcote. Tetley's car hit the barriers hard and rolled back onto its roof while Huff was driven off course, allowing Fred Shepherd's Boss Mustang to steal the lead. However, the race was red-flagged immediately, after which the result was declared on countback – with only Tetley's car missing from the classification as it wasn't running by the time the red flag came out…

Shaun Lynn/Dario Franchitti, Ford GT40, 2023 Goodwood Members Meeting

Shaun Lynn and Dario Franchitti bagged the Gurney Cup win despite a time penalty for their Ford GT40. (photo 8W)

The previous day's Gurney Cup was another barnstormer, with Miles Griffiths storming off into a handy lead for relief driver Gordon Shedden, who then spun the Ford GT40 on the grass while in evasive action for a backmarker. This handed the initiative back to the Shaun Lynn/Dario Franchitti GT40, and despite the pair incurring a 10-second time penalty for a pitlane infringement the Scot secured victory for TES1E, to show that an original GT40 can still beat the recreations.

Among the Juniors, Stuart Roach in his orange Alexis Mk1 fiercely battled Ray Mallock, the lead swapping numerous times, until the boxy U2 Mk2 slid wide into a spin on the final lap, allowing the coachbuilder to win by 36 seconds, while Tom Waterfield took third in the Hillwood. Chris Drake's Terrier Mk4 was the quickest of the favourites not to make it to the finish, a suspected diff problem ending his race after just two laps.

Four Lotus Cortinas, 2023 Goodwood Members Meeting

Four wide through Lavant - and with no damage done whatsoever throughout the entire Jim Clark Trophy. (photo 8W)

Sunday's mid-day showstopper was the Jim Clark Trophy for Ford Lotus Cortina Mk1 cars. Like the Gurney Cup, a two-driver affair with a mid-race pit window, the 45-minute race would see its fortunes swing according to which driver of the pairing would start first – the gentleman or the pro. Among the gents, Julian Thomas was certainly among the most gifted but his handicap was that, remarkably, he hadn't raced at Goodwood before. So while his team mate Alex Brundle handed him a useful lead and he himself did remarkably well for a Goodwood rookie, there was no stopping Andrew Jordan who himself was put on a winning platform by an amazing opening charge from David Dickenson who kept Brundle in sight all the way.

In the Trofeo Nuvolari for pre-war sportscars, Richard Bradley's pole-sitting Aston Martin Speed Model soon found its way back past the fast-starting Alta Two-Seater Sports of Gareth Burnett to win by 11 seconds, while Robert Beebee's Frazer Nash TT Replica eventually got the better of Michael Birch in the big Talbot AV105.

James Wood, Aston Martin Ulster, John Polson, Talbot AO90, 2023 Goodwood Members Meeting

Duel among the backmarkers - James Wood's Aston Martin Ulster battling with John Polson's Talbot AO90 in the opening stages of the Trofeo Nuvolari. (photo 8W)

Bobby Verdon-Roe's time in the lead of the Tony Gaze Trophy proved shortlived as his quick but fragile HWM-Jaguar struck trouble just two laps into the race. The HWM had already faltered in practice after Verdon-Roe had set his pole-winning time, but this time its demise would not get a reprise. Jonathan Abecassis took over in the Austin Healey 100/4 and led until the chequered flag while three Frazer Nash Le Mans Replicas fought hard over second place, Cliff Gray eventually pipping both John Ure and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards.

The Salvadori Cup for late-fifties sportscars proved to be a four-car fight, even though pole man Martin Stretton would also be the winner. His Lister Knobbly was continuously pressured, though, first by Gary Pearson's D-type, then by Michael Gans in the Lotus 15 who was soon joined by David Hart's Lister Costin after the Dutchman had passed the fellow Costin of Mark Donnor that was previously Dutch-owned as well. By lap 3, Hart was up into second place, but that was as far as he got, as Stretton maintained his slender lead all through to the finish line, despite a late safety car bunching the field up. Pearson, meanwhile, was demoted to fifth, initially by Shane Brereton who from last on the grid began to mix it with the three in front but whose Cooper Monaco was later disqualified, and subsequently by James Wood's 15 on the final lap.

Aston Martin DBR9, 2023 Goodwood Members Meeting

Aston Martin DBR9 - one of many - was among the wealth of GT1 cars that drove into Saturday's sunset. (photo 8W)

The Moss Trophy for pre-63 sportscars turned into a Cobra vs E-type fight, with James Cottingham's Cobra narrowly prevailing over Alex Buncombe's Jag, with Oliver Bryant completing the podium in another E-type. Behind them, a similar pattern emerged with another Cobra, that of John Spiers, holding off another pair of E-types, these examples pedalled by Gregor Fisken and Benoît Tréluyer.

The high-speed demonstrations were eager for their fair share of headlines too, though. In fact, photos of GT1s at sunset were amongst the most prominently shared on social media already during the event. The Porsche 911 parade soon proved to be anything but a parade with the lead 911 GT1 and all the other 911 incarnations showing a fair turn of speed, while along with a Bentley Continental GT, Tom Kristensen demo'ed the Bentley Speed 8 in which he took one of his record number of Le Mans wins.

More pictures of the paddock atmosphere and track action