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Thrills and spins in Revival spectacle



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Goodwood Motor Circuit


2007 Revival Meeting, RAC TT Celebration practice (September 1, 2007)


You expect first-timers to be in awe of the spectacle Goodwood’s Revival Meeting manages to come up with each and every year. This time, however, even the veterans sang praise to the quality of racing, although a small number of hair-raising accidents – specifically those of Julian Bronson and Martin Stretton – gave cause to concern for some of the safety aspects of the event. But overall, as the meeting profited from three days of steady, overcast weather with tiny patches of sunshine, the thrills and spins in this Revival left the thousands of spectators breathless on many occasions.

There was not a single drop of rain in sight all weekend but quite a few drops of coolant gushing from Anthony Reid’s Jag engine gave the effect of a local thunderstorm at Lavant, as over a dozen of cars slithered in all directions bar the right one. Jackie Oliver in the Galaxie was among the few to make it through but all eyes were on Jean-Marc Gounon in the leading Plymouth Barracuda who used the last inch of track to keep it on the black stuff while going close to 90 degrees sideways in his efforts to control the car. It was this unbelievable piece of driving, next to a commanding display in the Aston Martin DBR2 that handed him the Sussex Trophy, which made him the deserved Driver of the Meeting.

Another highpoint was undoubtedly Barrie Williams’s superb comeback drive to overcome Frank Sytner in the curtain-drawing Glover Trophy. Having just grabbed the lead ‘Whizzo’ seemed to have given it all away by spinning at the entry of Woodcote. In fact, it made him even more determined, as he clawed his way back from fourth to challenge Fearless Frank on the final lap. The decisive move was inch-perfect, leading to yet more post-race interview antics by the inimitable Williams. “And I just beat Frank Sytner!” It just wasn’t Frank’s weekend, as an overambitious last-gasp move on Jac Nelleman in the Madgwick Cup ended in tears, while later on the Saturday he spun himself out of the lead in the Whitsun Trophy. It was small consolation that he had just set Fastest Lap of the Meeting in his Lola-Chevy T70.

Williams’s Sussex Trophy glory wasn’t the only fightback worth mentioning, however. Having been knocked around at the start, Jamie Boot came up through the ranks to capture third in the Fordwater Trophy, his TVR Griffith later even promoted to second when race winner David Methley’s Marcos was excluded from the results. Similarly, Julian Majzub’s seemingly unobtrusive drive in the Sadler from the fourth row of the grid to finish third in the Sussex Trophy deserves an honorary mention here too.

First prize for a calm and collected win in not the fastest car of the race went to Jac Nelleman from Denmark who not only withstood pressure from Frank Sytner’s Cooper Monaco but kept his wits in a four-way tussle with Ollie Bryant in a Lotus 15 similar to that of the Dane, and another Cooper Monaco driven by Graeme Dodd. The same can be said of John Chisholm’s drive in the F Junior Chichester Cup, as he made a great start from third row of the grid, before steadily climbing up the order and fully taking advantage of mistakes made by the other front-runners.

There were imperious performances by Mark Gillies in the Saturday morning Goodwood Trophy, Mark Piercy in the Sunday morning Brooklands Trophy, and Wayne Gardner in the first of the Barrie Sheene Memorial races, the Australian opening up a 10-second gap to the competition. “I looked back and couldn’t see anyone following me”, he said after the race. “And I thought, that’s how I like it!”

The Whitsun Trophy not only provided the fastest cars but also the closest lead battle next to the probably somewhat staged second motorcycle race. As the big-banger sportscars thundered around the track there was almost nothing between Sytner’s T70 Spyder, Nick Whale’s McLaren-Chevy M1B and eventual winner Ray Bellm’s GT40.

In all, it was a weekend with lots of things to cheer for – except perhaps Martin Stretton’s elbow. And one had to feel sorry for Brooklands Trophy runner-up Tom Dark when he got beached at Lavant during the winners parade right at the end. His stricken MG was then passed by all the remaining cars in the parade, a number of course cars and even a bus full of marshals. Let’s hope he didn’t have to spend the night there…

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