GOODWOOD REVIVAL – THE WORLD’S PREMIER CLASSIC MOTORSPORTS EVENT

GOODWOOD REVIVAL

The World’s Premier Classic Motorsports Event

StateofSpeed.com has visited the Duke of Richmond’s glorious Goodwood Estate several times for the Festival of Speed but this was our first trip to the fantastic Revival. 

More open wheel racing at Goodwood Revival
Photo Credit: Eric Sawyer

Goodwood, located near Chichester on the south coast of England about 60 miles from London, has been the home of the Dukes of Richmond for more than 300 years and a house has been on the site since the early 1600s. However, it was Freddie March, the 9th Duke who instilled the 12,000-acre estate with its motorsports heritage. Freddie trained as a mechanic and became a racing driver. After World War II, in 1948, he turned the perimeter road of the wartime Westhampnett airfield into the 2.367-mile Goodwood Motor Circuit that hosted Britain’s first post-War race and was Britain’s most prestigious circuit for eighteen years from 1948-1966. Over the years, the circuit fell a little behind contemporary standards that is until Charles, the 10th Duke, took over and initiated both the Festival in 1993 and the Revival in 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the circuit opening. The circuit is now fully restored to its original glory and can often been seen in movies and on TV.

Classic car racing at Goodwood Revival
Photo Credit: Eric Sawyer

Twenty-one years on, the Goodwood Revival, with around 150,000 attendees, is one of the world’s most prestigious and yet fun events. There really is nothing quite like it. Notwithstanding all the hoopla that includes air displays, auctions, on-track demonstrations and parades which this year included one celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Mini, the Revival is above all an event of classic circuit racing for cars and motorcycles. In fact, no modern vehicles are allowed within the circuit perimeter throughout the weekend. That said the new Land Rover Defender was introduced at the Revival.

The gates opened on Thursday but the ‘tra-ction’ began on Friday and ran full throttle beginning at 9:45 am through Sunday at 6pm with the Freddie March Memorial Trophy race.  And these are no parade laps; this is serious racing with the likes of Le Mans’ superstars battling real Cobras against Corvettes, Ferraris and XKEs just like it was in the sixties. Andre Lotterer and Chris Wilson won the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration race in their ’65 Cobra when Olly Bryant hit the tire walls and, well, retired. Fastest lap was Oliver Hart in a Trojeiro Ford in 1m25.5seconds with an average speed of 100.18 mph.

Classic car racing at Goodwood Revival
Photo Credit: Eric Sawyer
Vintage race cars on the track
Photo Credit: Eric Sawyer

There was another fantastic race, the Brooklands Trophy, for Pre-War Bentley sports cars that look more like green London busses they are so big. The start looked like a bus jam on London’s Oxford Street but the checkered flag was taken by Martin Overington in a 1929 Blower Bentley. They were averaging 75 mph. 

Pre-war Bentley racing
Photo Credit: Eric Sawyer

One of the most prestigious races is the Goodwood Trophy for 1930-’51 Grand Prix and Voiturette cars. That was won by Gareth Burnette driving a 2-liter 1938 single seater Alfa Romeo. His fastest lap was 1m30.909seconds with an average speed of 94.24 mph.

Classic open wheel car racing at Goodwood Revival
Photo Credit: Eric Sawyer

While the historic, pedigree racecars put on a terrific show; a crowd favorite is the St. Mary’s Trophy for 1950-’59 Saloon Cars (sedans to Americans). Here you get everything from large lumbering, Brit-speak Yank tanks that this year included Patrick Watts’ 1957 Studebaker Silver Hawk to diminutive British Austin A40s that look like shoe boxes compared to the Kelvinator-sized American counterparts. Nicolas Minassian and Mike Jordan were the eventual winners in a tiny A40 that was about as big as the trunk on the Festival’s ‘Fastest-man-up-the hill’ Romain Dumas in a Ford Thunderbird that ran a credible 1m34.907seconds with an average speed of 90.27 mph.

Classic car racing at Goodwood Revival
Photo Credit: Eric Sawyer
Classic car racing at Goodwood Revival
Photo Credit: Eric Sawyer

In all, there are more than a dozen trophy battles ensuring that every race fan gets his or her fill. One of the cutest races, however, is the Settrington Cup for kids in tiny Austin J40 pedal cars. There were 64 entries including a lot of young ladies but young Harry Dark, the darkhorse, took the flag.

“The Revival is a truly smashing day accompanied by lashings of ginger beer and noisy parp parp, bang bang cars.”Jessica Helen Reinhold

The Revival is not all racing though and there is so much more to see from the themed corporate displays from companies such as SU Carburettor (Brit spelling) to the fifties’ British beach scene for toddlers to the ‘The Wild One’s’ Lee Marvin-inspired Boose Fighters motorcycle gang. Thankfully, they were no more threatening than the kids kicking sand. At Goodwood for the first time American Evonne Morton, dressed as ‘Rosie the Riveter’, said, “Give me Goodwood on a summer’s day and you can forget about the rest of the world”

And while there is no official dress code for the Revival, if you don’t want to feel out of place you’d better be dressed in some kind of relevant outfit from the 1920s, through the 1960s. You can mix ‘n’ match decades and even styles but you’d better be cool or look conspicuously out of place. StateofSpeed.com caught up with Revival regular Jessica Helen Reinhold whose husband Tom is in charge of McLaren Heritage had the last word saying, “The Revival is a truly smashing day accompanied by lashings of ginger beer and noisy parp parp, bang bang cars.” We couldn’t have said it better. For more info visit www.goodwood.com

 

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