Revival visitors keep their chin up while refusing to completely escape in the past
A delightful antidote
- Mattijs Diepraam (words & photography), Frank van de Velde (photography)
- 8W Special, October 2 & 16, 2001
- Goodwood - Continental Grand Prix team in search for British excellence, a spoof period report on the 2003 Revival Meeting, by Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - Photographic impressions of the 2003 Revival Meeting, Friday's gallery, by Frank van de Velde/Mattijs Diepraam/Jeroen Bruintjes
- Goodwood - Photographic impressions of the 2003 Revival Meeting, Saturday's gallery, by Frank van de Velde/Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - Photographic impressions of the 2003 Revival Meeting, Sunday's gallery, by Frank van de Velde/Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - Indian summer for historic motor cars, 2005 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - Thrills and spins in Revival spectacle, 2007 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - Happy Anniversary, 2008 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam/Maarten Hoeben
- Goodwood - Revival of the fastest, 2009 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - Row, row, row your boat, 2011 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - The roots deliver the goods, 2012 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - Keeping its core intact, 2013 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - Being part of it, 2014 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam
- Goodwood - The cars are the stars, with stars in the cars, 2015 Circuit Revival Meeting report, by Mattijs Diepraam
2001 Circuit Revival Meeting
It's not just the cars, guys. This image captures the Revival Meeting spirit at its best: an easy atmosphere in perfect style... And no, he did not throw his toys out.
Leaving for Goodwood just 36 hours after the most dramatic of world events since Berlin's wall came down cruelly dealt with the happy-anticipation mode we were expecting to be in just days before. So whereas at the start of the nineties crumbling concrete was a sign of better times, this decade has by all means got off on the wrong foot. For three eerily quiet minutes each day our thoughts were with the victims of September 11's terrorist attacks while the Stars and Stripes at half mast lining the roof of the Goodwood pit building kept our minds well conscious of the tragedy that had hit the United States. And then, while enjoying the unexpected late-summer sunshine from our position between St. Mary's and Lavant, the news of Alessandro Zanardi's horrendous fate was dropped on us like a ton of bricks. Never ever have three full days of racing been such a delightful antidote against the horrors that our global village nowadays manages to deliver at our doorstep with such expediency.
Come hell or high water, our third Goodwood visit would have a special ring to it because of finally meeting 8W co-editor Felix Muelas (here on the right in the car park, with photo man Frank van de Velde) in the flesh. Believe it or not but in the six years of our cooperation our acquaintance had remained of the electronic kind all of that time. We exchanged pictures, yes, but these had our baby boys as the center of their attention. We didn't even have our first phone conversation until the morning of September 11. Then again, we didn't have to. After nine years on the Internet I have come to the conclusion that you can well get to know someone through his writings - especially when there are 4000 miles separating you from the South of Spain. And so it didn't come as a surprise that the man I met at Gatwick Airport turned out to be an exact 3D version of the friend I had come to know through our correspondence. The only thing I had to do was fit in his amusing mediterreanean accent somewhere!
The Friday practice and qualifying day was the ideal day for spending lots of time in the paddock. All dressed up, we were greeted by three bobbies who on our persistence admitted that they were not for real and part of the show. And what a show it was. We were approached by obscure salesmen of all sorts, trying to persuade us into buying one of the "time pieces" tucked away in the lining of their jackets. Outside the gates, two boys in shorts had been shouting their lungs out to move us into liberating the organizers from the grandstand seats that were in no short supply on the first two days. Out on the track, all the rescue machinery was stunning period material.
Once inside, the programme invitingly drew us towards the single-seater paddock area, where cars from three different eras ('48-'55, '55-'60, '61-'65) awaited us. Among them were many of the disaster machines that have been the subject of this site's game for many months. It was particularly pleasing to come so near to the home-grown and well-crafted JBW, the lovely but ill-fated 1961 Emeryson-Climax, the appalling but striking 1963 Scirocco-BRM, the stunning but too-little-too-late Aston Martin DBR4, the stubbornly revolutionary BRM P25, the sturdy but unshocking Connaught A-Type, and the low-line disgrace called the ATS Tipo 100. How superb they all looked - dispelling with the theory that great-looking cars must also run fast - but how painstakingly troublesome or just dead slow they had been, with only the P25 coming good in the autumn of a long career that was continually plagued by rear-brake trouble. On this pleasant morning mechanics started firing up the engines for the first time. Their love for the cars was plainly obvious. To confirm that preparation and a half-decent driver make a huge difference in historic racing, the ATS probably ran faster than it had ever done before while the Scirocco also ran reliably if not amazingly quick.
Equally enjoyable was our re-acquaintance with such outlandish machines such as the Tec-Mec (here seen in front of the JBW, with a cockpit look-in here), the peculiar 250F 'fuoricentro' (but don't start believing what's written here - and here!), or the striking ERA E-type. And then we had our first eye-to-eye contact with some very interesting concepts as the Connaught C-Type, shaped as a toothpaste tube (which ran incredibly quick in the hands of Martin Stretton), the unraced Walker-Climax and one of Doug Serrurier's Alfa-engined LDS specials.
Of course, the winners were there as well. The obvious ones, such as the Cooper T51 (also in resplendent Scuderia Centro Sud livery), the Maserati 250F, the Loti 16 and 24. The BRM P57 'Old Faithful' and Stewart's P261, now handled by erstwhile test driver Richard Attwood, the Alfetta and its predecessor, the 308, and those nimble Cooper-Bristols. The early Brabhams BT4 (the Tasman derivative of the BT3) and BT11. The ubiquitous Maserati 4CL/6CM line of cars - such splendid machines, that were oozing class. The Talbot T26C, the car that would have won Talbot the 1949 constructors championship, had such a thing been around. But also the less obvious ones, such as two of the F1 cars that swept the board on the local South African scene. What about the superbly prepared ex-John Love Cooper T79? The Rhodesian won dozens of races with it and two championships as well before finally switching to his equally dominating Brabham 3-litre mount. And the same car, in 2.5-litre form, was a Tasman conqueror as well, in the hands of Goodwood specialist Bruce McLaren, and in restored form it sported the enlarged engine, giving it enormous straightline prowess on Lavant Straight.
The same heritage applied to the multiple race and championship winning Lotus-Alfa 18 originally driven by Syd van der Vyver in the South African Drivers Championship of 1960 and 1961. Its new owner, Brian Horwood, explained to us its peculiar life after its days at the front were over. Having been sold on in 1962, it received some Lotus 21 mods before its third owner transformed it into a Lotus 19-lookalike sportscar! With its tub widened to become a regulatory two-seater, it got a big-block Oldsmobile engine stuck in the back, that was later enlarged to an amazing 4.2 litres. In this form it raced on well into the sixties before it was stored away. A couple of years ago Horwood recovered it from its hiding place. The first thing he did was to turn it back into a monoposto. He also found the original Alfa Romeo Giulia 4-cylinder block, but its gaskets and valve train were worn down. Several experts told him that an overhaul would be a costly and possibly terminal exercise, with damage done to the cylinder head, but deciding he had nothing to lose Horwood took the engine apart, to find that it actually hadn't got a cylinder head in the traditional sense of the term. Repairing the inner sanctum of the engine then proved to be a cheap and simple affair. "But against the other guys I have absolutely no chance. Those 8-cylinder cars will blow me off." But then he had hurt his chances badly by damaging his Climax-engined Lotus on a wet track during the Silverstone Historic Festival just weeks earlier. To our delight, we must say, as he would have brought his regular mount instead of this wonderful rarity!
Having immersed ourselves in single-seaters and some of the best looking fifties and sixties sportscars - our photo man especially drawn to the picture-prettiness of 250GTOs and E-Type Lightweights - it was time to get out to the track, where free practice would soon make way for the first of the official qualifying sessons. Leaving the paddock we ran into our three bobby friends again, who politely informed with us whether we were enjoying ourselves. We duly confirmed. "Oh, yes we are." To which their stern reply came: "Well, don't!" We would have lots more fun with these chaps for the next couple of days.
Slightly undereducated as far as the sportscars, GTs and touring cars were concerned, the fendered machines soon set us straight, as the on-track qualifying action they provided exceeded our highest expectations. Many of them set up for thundering straight-line speed, they often coaxed and waltzed through the corners, the drivers seemingly in a contest of trying to become the first to run out of opposite lock. Most typifying of them all was the Jaguar MkVII touring beast jointly handled by 'Lord Edmund' Rowan Atkinson and Sir Stirling Moss, with Sir Jack at the wheel of another example. Having bellowed across the finish straight it had to be thrown into Madgwick, the first right-hander consisting of three combined corners, each with their own apex, and a slightly off-camber middle section. There, the left-rear wheel of the monster Jag was almost completely covered by its body while undoubtedly the suspension travel on the right front had already reached its limit. It left Atkinson to say that trying to sail the car through the corner was "a bit like yachting".
The same applied to the huge Ford Galaxie driven by girl combo Lyn St.James/Desiré Wilson and the pole-setting Chevy 150 Sedan raced hard by John Fitzpatrick. The sheer pace of the flary red American rare bird must have come as a surprise to anyone in the field, but especially to the pairing of Grant Williams and Derek Bell in their Jaguar MkI, a car that had been expected to clean up the field after its commanding 1999 and 2000 performances. Last year, the flying motocross expert Williams took third behind a pair of Mustangs that were a no-show this year, while the year before he was the star of a very wet race. But now he and Bell had a trio of very fast and able Lotus Cortinas to deal with, and the fast but fragile sister car of Justin Law and Win Percy. Further entertainment was provided by Steve Soper in the unsightly Austin A35 while Tom Belsö looked like a touring-car natural in his Volvo Amazon 122S.
The final session of the afternoon brought the highlight of the day as the Sussex Trophy cars went out to provide some qualifying drama. Having witnessed ex-F3000 driver-turned-historic racer Peter Hardman throw his DBR1 around on the hillclimb at the Festival of Speed, we were expecting the Aston Martin to come up with most of the tail-whipping action. But a single lap was needed to convince us that this was in fact the only way to drive these bulgy fifties sportscars through the corners, although some of them, like Bill Sadler in his Sadler-Chevy, were overdoing it... Doing it just right, Tiff Needell in the Lister-Jaguar 'Knobbly' and British GT contender Steve O'Rourke in a similar Lister were easily emulating Hardman's sideways efforts into Madgwick, as was another leading contender, Barrie Williams in the Tojeiro-Jaguar (no.29 in this picture). The Ferrari 246S Dino of Tony Dron, however, took slightly cleaner lines into the corners and by looking less dramatic looked less fast too. Nonetheless, Dron's effective style brought him pole ahead of his four-wheel drifting rivals. Best-looking car award went to Nick Mason's Birdcage, as the Pink Floyd drummer seems to have a good taste in cars...
On Saturday we decided that this day would be a fine one for walking the entire boundary of the circuit and watch the cars handle every turn of the track. The second Revival day would be all about qualifying, with the first four of fourteen races at the end of the afternoon. It would also give us the opportunity to observe the place where Stirling Moss had his near-fatal accident. We watched the Freddie March Memorial (for early-fifties sportscars) and Chichester (for F Juniors) sessions from the far end of Madgwick, where you could especially see the sportscars drift their way through all parts of the corner. The all-out Fordwater righthander - another one with an off-camber dip right in the middle - was a blast for the touring cars, watching their bootlids slide into position and turning this into an unbelievable around-the-outside overtaking spot. A short walk led to St. Mary's, the track's only left-hander, and a slow and treacherous one at that - as we had discovered ourselves two years ago when doing a lap of Goodwood in our road car (see 8W's 1999 Festival of Speed Special). Several of the F1 and Inter-Continental racers of the late fifties midjudged their braking points here and slid onto the grass. But the real treat was watching the unnamed kink just before St. Mary's, that upset the balance of many cars and thus was the actual cause of most of the braking mishaps at St. Mary's.
Or you would just spear off the track, straight on into what is now a reasonably safe and solid tyre barrier covered by a steep earth banking. It wasn't there when Moss had his historic off back in 1962. As the man survived the crash there is no memorial of any kind at the place where he left the track and it took us quite some time to figure out what happened.
Then, finally, it was time for the races. First up was the Goodwood Trophy for Formula 1, Formula 2 and F Libre cars of 1948-'55. Regretfully, the curious double rear-wheeled hillclimb Alta was a no-show but the rest of the field was present and accounted for. And this race immediately saw the undoubted passing manoeuvre of the weekend! From the start the Goodwood Trophy had been a three-horse race between Rod Jolley in a Cooper-Bristol MkI, Flavien Marçais in a Cooper MkII and John Ure in ERA R9B, the trio putting up an amazing fight for the lead, taking and retaking each other on the straights and into the corners. On lap 5, the three-way battle became a straight dogfight between Jolley and Ure, as the Frenchman pulled up his Cooper on Lavant Straight. Then, on lap 8 out of 12, Jolley was leading Ure out of Lavant corner and while blasting onto Lavant Straight. In the distance the slower Maserati 4CM of Barrie Baxter was minding its own business. Probably numbed by the speed with which the two leaders approached, with Ure already lining up his pass, Baxter stuck to the middle of the track, deciding that any move now would be more dangerous than just staying put at dead center. In a split second Jolley chose Baxter's right but Ure was already onto the left of the Cooper. With no time to make up his mind, Ure jinxed further left, past the Maserati, left wheels on the grass. Using all his heart, the ERA driver kept his foot down and catapulted ahead of a bewildered Rod Jolley, who spun away his second place one lap later while trying to retake first position. It was a move that must have had Baxter think he was the Zonta in a Häkkinen/Schumacher sandwich! With Jolley out, Ure cruised to victory over the Alfetta of Willie Green. The 159 had been looking majestic on Lavant Straight but was visibly akward through Woodcote. In a travesty of history, the once all-conquering Alfetta had been beaten by a simple ERA. Once again it showed what a difference it makes to race a well prepared car in historics.
Next up were the 500s - on sound alone they could be mistaken for a drone of motorcycles, except that they did run on four wheels. You would expect these machines to be nimble and indeed they were. Especially through the chicane the cars were fun to watch, although their spectacle was very much underwhelming through fast corners like Madgwick and Fordwater. Judging by their qualifying efforts for the Earl of March Trophy the blue Kieft-Norton of Reg Hargrave looked like an odds-on favourite for the win, his time 2.5s up on the rest of the field. Come the race, however, it soon turned into a fierce battle between Hargrave and David Woodhouse in the Cooper-Norton Mk9. This lasted for six hard-fought laps until pole-sitter Hargrave retired on Lavant Straight. This didn't mean that Woodhouse had the remaining two laps to himself though. Fellow front-row starter Julian Majzub, his flying scarf funneling underneath his Cooper-Norton's rollbar, had made a bad start, dropping to sixth into the first corner, but his comeback had been magnificent. Within a couple of laps he was back up to third and was swiftly closing on the lead battle when Hargrave's Kieft gave up the ghost. Now, with the Kieft out of the way, Woodhouse had his position to defend against his fellow Cooper-Norton racer. On the approach to the final lap the flamboyant Majzub was all over Woodhouse and made it through at Madgwick - around the outside! Julian then proceeded to almost throw it all away, going completely sideways through Woodcote but he bravely collected his slide and, one arm already raised in triumph, baulked his way through the chicane. He was on the power just in time to beat Woodhouse on the line. Ever the showman, that Mr Majzub.
The first leg of the Lennox Cup for vintage motorcycles saw a five-way battle between Bill Swallow's Aermacchi 408, Mick Hemmings' McIntyre G50 and the Manx Nortons of Tim Jackson, Barry Sheene and Duncan Fitchett. Lap after lap Sheene, the double world champion, had been languishing in fourth, seemingly content to go with the flow in this magnificent leading group in which Swallow and Hemmings were dealing each other blow after blow for the lead. Most of the track commentator's attention was going to Sheene, and during the time that Barry kept station in fourth one thought all that attention was doing some injustice to the guys in the lead. What's more, the circuit voice seemed arrogantly certain of the fact that Sheene was playing a waiting game, while in the meantime praising the elegant style of that brash Cockney racer to no end. It was all getting a bit absurd. But then, suddenly, with two laps to go and without further warning, Sheene pounced on the blast to Woodcote, outbraking Hemmings and Jackson in one go. The unbelievers were silenced on the spot. But was he going to win? Oh, no doubt about that, as he put the same move on Bill Swallow on the final approach to Woodcote. The brave but underpowered Aermacchi rider gave it his best shot into the chicane but there is just no place for two through there. Forced to go heavy on the brakes Swallow almost lost second to Jackson while Sheene finished a triumphant first. Of course, the man in the commentary box knew it all along.
The final event of the day proved to be a corker of similar magnitude. After providing the highlight of Friday through an electrifying end-of-day qualifying session the Sussex Trophy racers went on to show that back in the good old days a race used to be ten times as exciting as qualifying - as opposed to the Saturday and Sunday proceedings at your average 21st century F1 Grand Prix. The start saw Tony Dron in the Ferrari being outdragged into Madgwick by Needell's Lister-Jaguar, with Peter Hardman in the DBR1 and Barrie Williams' Tojeiro in close quarters. Needell pulled out all the stops to build a cushion but there was nothing he could do against the slippery 246S Dino, as his tyres already started to go off by hand of his apparent over-driving. By lap 2, Dron was in the lead - in the process having exchanged some red paint with the yellow-and-green Lister - and slowly started to open out a small gap. At the finish line this had slowly but steadily increased to 2.5s and the Ferrari driver hadn't looked in trouble for one single second. Meanwhile, the battle for second was raging at full force, as Needell, Hardman and Williams fought over the same piece of tarmac by using every trick in the book. To their credit no-one was pushed off or nudged out of the way in their efforts to pass each other. The penultimate lap finally saw an overtaking move of consequence as Williams moved ahead of Hardman to take the final place on the rostrum.
After two beautiful Indian summer days there was a first threat of rain on Sunday. At Madgwick a chilly wind was bellowing towards us across the airstrips on the open circuit midfield. Clouds were gathering in the distance but in the end it remained dry until the last couple of races - a blessing compared to what the weather was like on the continent, that as we understood was covered by dark clouds and tortured at times by almost violent outbursts of rain. Thankfully, these monsoon circumstances kept to their side of the Channel, as the sun reappeared around noon.
By then we had had lots of hard racing, with some of the early-morning protagonists overacting their part quite a bit. The Freddie March Memorial Trophy for early-fifties sportscars saw a tremendous struggle for the lead between young Justin Law's C-Type and Willie Green's Cooper-Jaguar T38. Gary Pearson in his Cooper-Jag T33 was keeping guard at close distance. Lap after lap the Law/Green battle increased in intensity and on the penultimate lap the inevitable happened, the youngster overestimating his overtaking abilities into Woodcote. The Jaguar rammed sideways into the Cooper, which momentarily got airborne with its nose up. Meanwhile Pearson nipped through on the grass and gratefully strolled away to an easy win. Afterwards, Green was livid with Law, and not just because of the cost involved in repairing the priceless cars. It seems the organizers agreed. An investigation into debatable driving tactics has already gone underway - surely they must have had this incident in mind when calling for it. Having said that, the hungry-for-action spectator was served well, and young Justin at least demonstrated how these cars were raced at the time, as in the touring car event he unabatedly showcased some of the very same nailbiting stuff.
The main spectacle of the Formula Junior race was provided by a first-corner pile-up that took out three cars at Madgwick. It sort of befitted this Chichester Cup event, as it was the kind of mayhem you expect to happen in your regular feeder-category meeting, with young brash drivers all eager to prove their worth while in the process tripping over each other. The race itself was a bit of a yawner although the lead battle between Mike Hibberd and Neil Daws in their Lotuses was enjoyable if a bit clean compared to the fender-bending action we had seen with the sportscars. The performance gaps between the various cars was astonishing. The peculiar Sauter-DKW 'raced' by Josie Bishop was on a demo run compared to the pace set by Hibberd and Daws and finished four laps in arrears in the 12-lap race. The triple-exhaust system it sported during qualifying was a sight to behold, however. The other rare birds didn't figure in the race. David Noble's Gemini Mk3A and German Peter Knöfel's Emeryson were unlapped, but the interesting Swedish Focus-Peugeot Mk3 and the lovely Italian Sanctis-Fiat were trailing badly. James Hicks' Caravelle was among the first-corner victims while a fellow named Duncan Rabagliati finished 16th, two laps down, in his Elva 200.
So on to St. Mary's Trophy, the 20-lap race for production saloons of the 1957-1963 era that would turn out to be a straight Lotus Cortina benefit. One of the Cortina gang's main rivals took care of itself as the surprise pole-sitter, the Cole/Fitzpatrick Chevrolet 150 Sedan, fluffed the start immensely, dropping to seventh by the first corner. In Fitz's hands it did set fastest lap of the race and stormed up to fourth behind the three-strong Cortina onslaught but it had a lonely race from the start. However, the lead Cortina car of touring car legend Gerry Marshall was having all but a lonely time, being harried by the Law/Percy Jaguar Mk1 all through the first part of the race. With Justin Law doing the first stint, the elegant and effective Jag was the star of the opening laps, at one time even repassing Marshall for the lead on the outside into Fordwater! The well-handling Jag had a clear upper hand through Fordwater and St. Mary's but suffered through the slower corners, with Marshall reclaiming the front each time around. Unfortunately, the Mk1s and Mk2s proved to be fast but fragile. On lap 10 the Needell/Suckling Mk2 was out, as was the Grant Williams/Derek Bell Mk1, while Win Percy had to pull off at Fordwater on lap 12, after just one lap in the car, the Jag throwing out all of its oil. As, sadly, the Galaxie Girls were non-starters, the Cortinas had the race all to themselves now. While Chris Sanders nursed his lead Cortina's 12-second advantage the second and third-placed cars of Goodwood instructor Les Goble - having taken over from Jackie Oliver - and David Leslie - in Andy Middlehurst's seat now - were exchanging places all through the second part of the race, Goble using his circuit knowledge to good effect by finally passing Leslie into St. Mary's. Suddenly, with four laps to go, Sanders' lead was diminishing rapidly, Chris struggling with an audible fuel feed problem around the back of the circuit. Goble and Leslie took out large chunks of his lead with every lap and having lost over two seconds on the penultimate lap Sanders had to defend a 1.5s lead on the final lap. It looked to have been one lap too many. But miraculously, the car picked up again and Sanders even increased his lead to 2.5s on the line. Marshall was confident that Chris had been "playing with the fluff switch" all along. "He's a bit of a showman, our Chris is." But during his winner's interview Sanders confirmed a "terrible fuel surge around the back" that was spontaneously cured on the final lap. Well…
Another highlight would be the Richmond & Gordon Trophies for 2.5-litre Inter-Continental and F1 cars from 1957 to 1961, with the Gordon Trophy being handed to the driver of the best front-engined car. From the start just four cars were in it: pole man Rod Jolley's Cooper-Climax T45/51, John Harper's Cooper-Climax T51 and the front-engined cars of Catalonian historics expert Joaquin Folch (in a Lotus-Climax 16) and Martin Stretton (in the Connaught-Alta C-type, better known as the Toothpaste Tube). Well, not from the actual start, as Jolley had a terrible getaway and found himself seventh after one lap. Conversely, Stretton in the Connaught contained his wheelspin masterfully and had a lightning start to lead the first laps from Harper and Folch. Soon Harper in the intrinsically faster Cooper took over while Jolley was surging through the field to pass Stretton and Folch for second after just four laps. While the two front-engined cars were left dicing for third Jolley also passed Harper into St. Mary's. A couple of laps later Harper made a sizeable mistake into the same corner, going all the way on the grass to let Stretton and Folch through. With Harper back on track, the Connaught and the Lotus were no match for the Cooper though, and Harper was soon back in second. He then set off in pursuit of Jolley but time ran out too fast. Meanwhile an error by Folch cost the Spaniard dearly, as he was no longer in touch with Stretton when the flag fell.
The second Lennox Cup leg was rather less thrilling than the first, mostly because of Barry Sheene approaching the race with a different strategy... Instead of hanging back for the larger part of the race, Sheene was soon in front and from then on he effortlessly controlled a two-second lead to the four-man group that he had been dicing with the day before. Having said that, the last-corner shenanigans these four provided were mind-blowing in themselves, as Swallow and Hemmings were at it again through Woodcote and into the chicane. On the line only modern time-keeping could tell them apart, Hemmings beating Swallow by 0.001s…
And so the time arrived for Sunday's big race: the RAC TT Celebration for sixties GT cars. And if the E-type Lightweights were ruling the roost in the event - and were lovely to watch through the corners, and lovely to watch per se - nothing could beat the Ferraris in their looks and their sheer drama during cornering. Although Mark Hales and Nick Mason could only finish ninth, their mother of all GTOs - licence plate "250 GTO" - was awesome through Lavant as its tail kept on trying to catch its nose. No contest. But in effectiveness, no-one could touch the two Lightweights in front, Barrie Williams leading Emanuele Pirro in the early stages, as the English historic racer proved to be the equal of the American Le Mans Series leader. A long way back were Peter Hardman's Ferrari 330LM/B in third and the similar car of Tony Dron, while "Jumper" Jarier and his bellowing, propped-up AC Cobra monster was storming up the field. Then, just before their driver change, Williams lost it at Woodcote, so all Pirro's team mate Gregor Fisken had to do was keep the beautifully restored Jag - back in its original grey John Coombs livery - on the road. Which was tough enough in itself for the large number of competitors that had filled the Woodcote gravel trap during the earlier laps. So when two-thirds race distance was completed the red flag was waved - to the amazement of Will Hoy in the Aston Martin Project 214, who had yet to make his compulsory driver change and found himself in second place, ahead of the faster Hardman/Franklin Ferrari and the positively flying Jarier/Andruet Cobra. While it was a shame that the race was cut short, it had still been a pleasure to watch these cars in action.
Meanwhile, a mobile phone hot-line with sunny Spain kept us informed of the proceedings at the Italian GP at Monza. And as soon as the winner became known during the tribute to John Cooper the rumour visibly and audibly spread among our fellow spectators: "Montoya won… Montoya won…"
There were more offs in the Glover Trophy - and the place to watch proved to be the end of Lavant Straight. It was a delight to try and grasp the top speed of the 1.5-litre F1 and 2.5-litre Tasman cars in what was expected to be the fastest race over the weekend. Another positive surprise was the noise their little engines made. Who was it who called these cars "sissy"? It was no surprise, however, to see the Climax 2.5-litre Tasman cars claim the front row and streak away into the lead. Young American F3 racer Paul Edwards had his historic debut at Goodwood and he handled his Cooper T79 like it was some Dallara F300. He was up against old hand Frank Sytner in his recently restored Brabham BT4, and this was to be his undoing as Sytner has a reputation for being as tough as Michael Schumacher. And sure enough, with three laps to go, the pair clashed at St. Mary's, resulting in a huge off and some distinctively bent corners. And yet again the third man playing the waiting game came out victorious as Dickie Attwood made sure he kept in touch in the car he used to test-drive back in 1964, the BRM P261. With Sytner and Edwards into the hay bales, Attwood ran out his comfortable lead to the flag, 14s ahead of Martin Stretton in the Lotus 25. Almost a minute later Duncan Dayton in his Brabham-Climax BT11 followed in third, while amazingly the fourth car across the line was an ATS 100, Andrew Wolfe taking the best result in the car's history by a long stretch. Having just remained unlapped, his battle with Malcolm Ricketts in the Tasman Lotus 32B and Christopher Smith in the Lotus 21 had been the one to watch, as the ATS continually stretched its lead over two much better cars. Martin Walford's Scirocco proved to be another testimony of excellent preparation, the disaster car of yore overtaking Smith's Lotus in the end for sixth. The Emeryson in the field stuck to its reputation, however, by finishing 15th, two laps down. And where was Brian Horwood in his ex-Van de Vyver Lotus-Alfa Romeo? One place and 40 seconds up on Brian Ashby in the Emeryson.
In the Whitsun Trophy for sports racing of 1963-1966 Frank Sytner didn't need to call upon his reputation as a hard racer as he easily kept his lead in the striking silver Cooper Monaco, just keeping enough space between himself and Robert Brooks' Lotus-Climax 19 to be safe from slipstreaming attacks down Lavant Straight. There was a third man involved as well, Joaquin Folch in his green Ferrari 275LM, but the Catalonian slowly lost touch with Robert Brooks, of Bonham-Brooks auction house fame. Meanwhile John Hugenholtz - son of Zandvoort and Suzuka track designer Hans - and Richard Attwood in their GT40s were battling over fourth. And then a light drizzle started falling on lap 10… Suddenly the cars were all over the place, especially under braking at Woodcote. Alain de Cadenet in the Lotus-Ford 23B was the first to go off, and he was soon joined in the gravel by Malcolm Young and his Ferrari 330P. There were yellows all over the place but right after Woodcote they were allowed to race again, with Brooks putting in a final all-out effort to catch Sytner. But on lap 12 it all went wrong for him, as he ploughed his Lotus straight through the mobile barriers that marked out the chicane. In seconds the barriers rolled across the track and onto the racing line, and the officials could do nothing but stop the race. With the results taken from the previous lap, Sytner was the winner, one second clear of Brooks and 8 seconds ahead of Folch.
Then the drizzle became a shower and although the closing race, the Fordwater Trophy 'club' event will have been a lot of fun in the wet, we were off to the shops for books, and more books. It was time to look back on a splendid weekend: we could not have imagined a more delightful antidote to the previous week's horrors. We would like to thank all involved for creating an experience of a lifetime.
Ah, but did they really race? Well, yes! There may have been huge differences in the quality of preparation, with most of the entrants being gentleman racers on top of that, but there is nothing to deny the fact that the top drivers were going at it hammer and tongues. To prove this, Frank Sytner in his 2.5-litre Tasman Brabham BT4 took fastest lap time of the event in 1.22.541, which was some 1.5s slower than Jim Clark's lap record of 1.20s. Now how does that compare? To the eye, it doesn't seem a lot. How is it possible that an ageing ex-touring car ace such as Sytner is able to lap within two seconds of one of the greatest of them all? Of course in the short races of this modern event lesser fuel load and tyre wear play into the hands of the historic racers but Sytner's time nonetheless is testimony to the way these cars should be raced. And we'll say amen to that.
Additional pictures by Frank van de Velde
- People: the 8W reporting team in front of Swan House, the excellent B&B of Peter and Lorraine Whiting.
Left to right: Frank van de Velde, Felix Muelas, Mattijs Diepraam.
- People: Taking a bite.
- People: On track in front of the pit building.
- People: Are you enjoying yourself, sir?
- People: Well, don't!
- 500cc paddock: the Swedish 1949 Effyh-JAP.
- 500cc paddock: the stunning 1951 Emeryson-JAP.
- 500cc paddock: another Swede, the 1952 JBS-Triumph.
- 500cc paddock: rear view of the JBS-Triumph.
- 500cc paddock: Felix investigates Alan Brown's Ecurie Richmond Cooper-JAP Mk5.
- 500cc paddock: and this is what he saw.
- 500cc paddock: mystery car. What is it?
- Junior paddock: the undressed Chichester Cup-winning Lotus-Ford 20 of Mike Hibberd.
- Junior paddock: is this what you call a 're-creation'?
- Junior paddock: well, it does look like this frame was welded only yesterday...
- Touring car paddock: the aptly numbered Jaguar MkVII in need of some urgent repairs.
- Grand Prix paddock: the striking Alfa Romeo 308.
- Grand Prix paddock: the rather uncomfortable Talbot-Lago T26C.
- Grand Prix paddock: the best car of 1949?
- Grand Prix paddock: try this for driver ergonomics. Now where's that gear stick?
- Trackside: The editors enjoying themselves at St. Mary's.
- Trackside: the marvellous pit complex.
- Trackside: 'And we told you not to enjoy yourselves!'
- Trackside: not everyone at Goodwood was working at the same speed...
- Trackside: Lancaster bomber.
- Trackside: Spitfires flying formation.
- Trackside: Spitfire on the ascent.
- Trackside: Spits in attack mode.
- Trackside: you almost touch them...
- Bike action: Barry Sheene on his Manx Norton.
- Bike action: Mick Hemmings on his McIntyre G50 leading Duncan Fitchett on his Manx Norton.
- Racing action: C-types to the fore.
- Racing action: Jags take on Minis. David vs Goliath on equal terms.
- Racing action: Jaguar Mk2 in all its glory.
- Racing action: Justin Law's Jaguar Mk2 shows its first signs of resignation.
- Racing action: Cortinas lead Jaguars.
- Racing action: the puff of smoke from Steve Soper's Austin A35 was apparently supposed to be there...
- Racing action: Jaguar Mk7 riding majestically.
- Racing action: the ultimate GTO.
- Racing action: the JBW-Maserati.
- Racing action: John Harper's Cooper-Climax T51.
- Racing action: Allan Miles's Maserati 250F.
- Racing action: Clive Smith's Maserati 250F driven by Rob Hall.
- Racing action: the strangely shaped 'Tecnica Meccanica'.
- Racing action: David Cooke's Centro Sud-liveried Cooper-Maserati T51.
- Racing action: John Harper and Rod Jolley slugging it out at St. Mary's.
- Racing action: Andrew Garner's Cooper-Climax T51.
- Racing action: Adriaan van der Kroft's similar machine.
- Racing action: the Walker-Climax that did not race in its epoch has become a full fledged racing machine at last.
- Racing action: Martin Stretton in full swing in Cedric Selzer's Lotus 25.
- Racing action: Stretton again, from a closer angle.
- Racing action: Steve O'Rourke in his Lotus 24.
- Racing action: the ex-John Love Cooper T79 showing mind-boggling straightline speed at the hands of Paul Edwards.
- Racing action: the lovely Cooper-Climax T53 'lowline' of Christopher Bullimore.
- Racing action: Frank Sytner in the brutal Cooper Monaco.
- Racing action: the Racing Team Holland Ford GT40 raced by John Hugenholtz Jr.
- Racing action: Grahame Bryant in David Piper's ex-Scuderia Filipinetti Ferrari 365P, just before getting caught up in the Woodcote sandtrap...