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Don’t rain on my parade
2017 Goodwood Revival report


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Michael Gans/Andy Wolfe


AC Cobra




2017 Goodwood Revival (September 10, 2017)

Michael Gans/Andy Wolfe, AC Cobra, 2017 Goodwood Revival

The Goodwood Revival has almost always been blessed by a glorious late-summer sun but this year the event’s luck ran out. The weather played a huge part in the 2017 edition of the Goodwood Revival, especially dampening the spirits of those residing on the surrounding campsites, and making the daily car-park exit a nightmare for all other visitors, but there were upsides too. The racing was all the more entertaining while much less visitors were seen searching for cover at the first sign of rain than in 2013, when the event was also marred by incessant rainfall.

Yes, both the Saturday and Sunday started with feeble sunshine, so in that respect 2017 was definitely better than 2013, but the excessive downpour on Friday and the rest of the two race days effectively turned this Goodwood Revival into the wettest ever, possibly with the exception of the dreadful circumstances during the first edition in 1999. Then again, in the virtually non-existent summer of 2017 – in Northern European parts of the world at least – so much rain had fallen already that the earth was saturated nearly all the way up to the surface. The massive thunderstorms that hit Goodwood were enough to turn the circuit and its surroundings into one huge mudfield and caused ground weather to come up through the floor of many of the tents erected on the site.

Atmosphere, 2017 Goodwood Revival

It was wet, very wet at the 2017 Goodwood Revival... (photo 8W)

There was nothing that a good pair of wellies were unable to cope with, and so most of the visitors – and of course all of the participants – simply stuck in and got on with it. What’s more, the racing made everything worthwhile. The event’s showstopper, for instance, turned into a barnstormer of a race, the RAC TT Celebration entertaining from the first second to the last.

At the start, David Hart grabbed the initial advantage with his customary demon start, and drove a faultless opening stint in his AC Cobra while his pursuers bent their fenders fighting over second place. Poleman Chris Ward had been jumped on the getaway by two more Cobras but then began the fightback in possibly the fastest E-type the world has ever seen. Having muscled his way past Andrew Smith in the Smith/Bryant Cobra and Michael Gans in the Gans/Wolfe Cobra, Ward had to do it all over again when he ran wide at St. Mary’s and dropped back to fourth. In his eagerness to undo his mistake he made another one while harrying Smith into Fordwater, tapping the Cobra into a spin that would put Smith and Bryant out of contention. Ward would later pick up a 30-second time penalty for that.

Olivier Hart, AC Cobra, 2017 Goodwood Revival

Olivier Hart's was among the star drives of the event. Here he charges out of the pits
having taken over the wheel from his father. (photo 8W)

More excitement came our way after the pitstops, now with David Hart’s teenage son Olivier in the Dutch Cobra while Gordon Shedden took over the wheel of the JD Classics Jag. Initially, Oli pulled out a gap on Shedden but then found that his engine was starting to overheat. This allowed the BTCC star to close in and pass the Cobra, but the Dutch youngster wouldn’t give up. In spectacular style which would gain him the ‘Driver of the Weekend’ award, Hart Jr fought back and repassed Shedden but then the smoke and steam exiting from the Cobra’s engine bay became just too much. A ‘meatball’ flag had been waved at Hart anyway, so it was a matter of time before the Dutchman pulled in.

This handed Shedden a seemingly unassailable lead of Andy Wolfe – now in the Gans/Wolfe Cobra – but then the penalty for Ward’s misdemeanour came. That allowed Wolfe to take the win for himself, Gans and car owner Jason Wright, who last autumn had also won the Spa Six Hours for the first time, adding another big triumph to the Wolfe Manufacturing trio’s achievements. For Gans, it was the second win of the weekend, as the American had also been victorious in the Goodwood Trophy for pre-war single-seaters, his ERA B-type taking the spoils after three of his rivaling ERAs had fallen by the wayside on the opening lap.

Michael Gans/Andy Wolfe, 2017 Goodwood Revival

Another huge win for Michael Gans and Andy Wolfe. (photo 8W)

Meanwhile, David Hart produced another superb getaway in the event-closing Sussex Trophy, but the Dutchman couldn’t keep his Lister Costin ahead of Olly Bryant’s Lotus 15 and Sam Hancock’s Ferrari 246S Dino. In a very, very wet race, it was the Ferrari’s combination of handling and power that suited the circumstances best, Hancock beating Bryant to the win.

The opening Kinrara Trophy – on repeat on Friday night after last year’s resounding success – was equally wet and all the more confusing after a couple of lengthy safety-car periods. The new race that was effectively created for the GT cars that have become increasingly uncompetitive for the RAC TT Celebration proper, such as the Ferrari 250 GT SWB and Aston Martin DB4 GT, failed to see one of those cars win this time, though. E-types of the non-Lightweight kind ruled the roost, with the opening part dominated by warring duo Rob Huff and Nigel Greensall, while after the two caution periods the Jon Minshaw/Phil Keen E-type emerged ahead of the field to win.

Atmosphere, 2017 Goodwood Revival

The Revival did a top job in creating a 'little Italy' at the back of the main grandstand.
Both vision and execution were truly outstanding. (photo 8W)

On Saturday morning, though, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining on the Chichester Cup for older Formula Junior cars. This came to a nailbiting finish as Stuart Roach’s Alexis-Ford Mk3 began developing an oil-pressure problem, allowing Peter de la Roche to close the gap in his BMC Mk2. Using every bit of the track and more, Roach was only narrowly able to keep ahead of young De la Roche.

Miles Griffiths then won the Madgwick for small-engined sportscars of the late fifties. Taking the lead from the outside of the first row, the Lotus XI driver was never headed, even though he did face pressure from Dion Kremer in the opening stages. A mistake by Kremer allowed him to break free. Initially, Billy Bellinger looked set for third place in his Lola Mk1 but an error helped Ian Dalglish (Lotus 17) and Ben Adams (Lola Mk1) get past for third and fourth.

Nick Padmore, Chris Ward, Ford GT40, 2017 Goodwood Revival

Nick Padmore led away after the restart but Chris Ward had the last laugh
in the wet and wild Whitsun Trophy. (photo 8W)

The afternoon started with the pro drivers’ part of the St. Mary’s Trophy for fifties touring cars. In his Austin A40, Andrew Jordan jumped into the lead but was soon forced to deal with the close attention of Frank Stippler in his Jaguar Mk1. The German made his way past to grab the lead and eventually the win while Jordan had to retire his A40. Meanwhile, all eyes were on ‘Tommy Lee’ Kristensen in ‘Billy Bob’ Shepherd’s mighty Ford Thunderbird, the Dane making his way to the front from 28th on the grid, but on his way to catching the top-three Kristensen lost the exhaust from under the big bird and was forced to drop out. This left Jason Plato (Austin A95) safe in second place, despite losing pace at the end, while Michael Caine won his battle of A40s with Rob Huff to claim third.

The rain was back for the Whitsun Trophy for big-banger sportscars, and with the rain came the inevitable safety-car periods. In fact, the drivers were given an additional six minutes to still have some decent laps at full speed. In the sprint to the finish, Nick Padmore’s GT40 led Chris Ward’s similar example but then Padmore’s car snapped into a triple spin while braking for Woodcote, handing victory on a plate to Ward. Padmore recovered to finish second.

Bill Shepherd/Tom Kristensen, Ford Thunderbird, 2017 Goodwood Revival

Award for best sense of humour went to Bill Shepherd. (photo 8W)

Ward also won the final race of the day, and a heroic effort it was, hauling the Cooper-Jaguar T33 from last to first in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy, passing Rob Hall in Martin Mellings’s Aston Martin DB3S on the final lap. In a twist of fate, though, Hall was handed back the win when Ward was slapped with a five-second time penalty for clipping the chicane. It was obvious why Ward was looking so displeased after the end of the RAC TT – losing two Revival wins through a time penalty must really hurt a lot.

Sunday saw an equally sunny start of the day, with Niklas Halusa and his beautiful Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 coming through from the third row of the grid to win the Brooklands Trophy for pre-war sportscars.

The Richmond Trophy for front-engined Grand Prix cars began spectacularly when Nick Adams lost a wheel on his Ferguson-Climax P99, turning it into a three-wheel-drive car in the run to the first corner. Initially, Miles Griffiths appeared the favourite for his second win of the weekend but then the gearbox of his Lotus 16 began giving him trouble. This paved the way for a terrific scrap between Tony Wood’s Tec-Mec-Maserati, Julian Bronson’s Scarab-Offenhauser and Joaquin Folch’s Lotus-Climax 16. In the end, Wood came through to narrowly beat Bronson who in turn had Folch breathing down his neck.

Rod Jolley, Lister Monzanapolis, 2017 Goodwood Revival

Rod Jolley storming past the pits in his shiny Lister 'Monzanapolis'. (photo 8W)

The ‘owner’ part of the St. Mary’s Trophy was blunted by another lengthy safety-car period, after which a real battle ensued between Mike Jordan’s A40 and Richard Meaden in the Alfa Giulietta Ti. Meaden looked to have given it all away with a huge moment at Fordwater but he managed to collect the car and not lose too much time in the process of doing so. Unperturbed, Meaden then set about chasing Jordan again, and made the pass when Jordan was tripped up by backmarkers. The combined win went to the Jason Plato/Nick Naismith Austin A95.

Right after the TT, the heavens opened once again, leaving the Glover Trophy for 1.5-litre F1 cars to be run in truly torrential conditions. Andy Middlehurst (Lotus-Climax 25) held the lead initially, and looked set for yet another Glover Trophy win, but Martin Stretton (Lotus-BRM 24) reeled the 25 in to pass it into Woodcote with five minutes still on the clock.

Ecurie Ecosse demo, 2017 Goodwood Revival

The Revival at its best during the Ecurie Ecosse demo: a driver, two lovely girls and a moment of connection. (photo 8W)

The Mini 500 parade, the Ecurie Ecosse tribute and the two bike races complemented the four-wheeled on-track action while the various air shows were severely hampered by the weather. When the planes did come out, they were a sight to behold. Let’s hope for better conditions next year.

Full gallery: more pictures of the 2017 Goodwood Revival