John Lakey pics his highlights from all aspects of this year's Goodwood Revival
The Goodwood Revival celebrated its 20th anniversary on the weekend of 7-9 September. A stark reminder that the biggest costume party in the world has been operating for two years longer than the period it commemorates, as the original circuit was only an active race track between 1948 and 1966. If you had told those racing in that period that their grandchildren would dress up in their clothes and come from all over the world in ancient cars that give the RAC and AA their busiest weekend of the year (as I found out in 2017, as my period car was one of the breakdowns) I'm sure they would have roared with laughter at such a daft idea.
Classic car enthusiasts line-up in Austin 12s, Ford Zodiacs, Rolls-Royce Silver Clouds and every type of pre-1966 Ferrari to arrive in style at the Revival because, simply, it’s absolutely brilliant. Many don't even see the racing, choosing to spend the weekend enjoying the giant open air costume party.
Make no mistake, however, the racing is of superb quality featuring top draw machinery, often worth twenty times the price of an average house, being flung around the circuit by racing royalty such as Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, Gordon Shedden and many more.
John Lakey picks out his top moments from this year's event.
Yes that is a steam train, transported at great expense and difficulty, to be displayed in full steam every day. Disappointingly it didn't do a parade lap. Maybe next year the 'Titfield Thunderbolt' can be recreated. Locomotive 'Earl of Berkeley' weighs 89 tons, just slightly more than the Rover 3-litre (P5) police car parked next to it. It was there to celebrate the establishment of the nationalised 'British Railways' in 1948 and swathed every visitor in steam and instant nostalgia as they entered the event.
This lovely 10¼ inch gauge train, set up next to the full size loco, was pulled by saddle tank engine 'Alice' – driven by Rose Coster (right) or Leo Reynolds and I'm sure they wouldn't have made him sit on the floor!
This opening theme extended to the first parade of the day, 70 years of British Transport, which had a particular emphasis on the creation of the Austin FX3 taxi cab. Built between 1948 and 1958 (when the incredibly long lived FX4 was introduced) it became the taxi cab of its day, especially after the creation of BMC hastened the axe of the slow selling Nuffield Oxford Cab.
Although there was an alternative, the now largely forgotten Beardmore Mk7 Paramount, which used Ford components and was regarded as superior by some in terms of comfort and refinement. It lasted from 1954 until 1966 and around 650 were made.
A 'nothing is new' moment was provided by the Harrods electric delivery van. Limited in both power and range by the prevailing lead-acid battery technology these vans were ideal for local deliveries in the capital and served Harrods from 1935 until the early 1970s. Incredibly they were designed and built in-house at Harrods' own workshops to update their fleet of 1919 Walker Electric vans. A total of 60 were made and they could do around 60 miles on a single charge; enough for their daily round.
One fabric of British life that some will be glad has gone – in times of war they often brought bad news as well as good – are these ex-GPO BSA Telegraph bikes. It's amazing to think that these were the quickest form of communication available to many UK residents until the mid 1970s.
One of the privileges of owning your own race track is you get to play on it before any racing begins. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon, Charles March, is a true car enthusiast who genuinely loves racing. He is very much the driving force responsible for Goodwood's motorsport resurgence and managed a quick lap ahead of the race. It's a tough job...
The Kinrara Trophy is known for having the most expensive, jaw droppingly beautiful grid of cars in the world.
For closed cockpit GT cars raced before 1963, it's a tough hard race, which top drivers fight hard to win. Despite the risk that entails to these fabulously valuable cars.
It developed into a duel between the Ferrari 250GT SWB 'Breadvan' of owner Niklas Halusa and former F1 driver and five time Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro and the Jaguar E-type of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen.
With Pirro taking the later stint, the Ferrari gradually edged away into the sunset and all eyes turned to the battle for third place.
Nigel Greensall had seemed assured of third aboard the E-type roadster he was sharing with the car’s owner, Chris Milner. Nevertheless, Rob Huff drove the doors off the E-type coupé started by Richard Meins, putting in a series of very fast laps. Making his way through the field, the former World Touring Car Champion mercilessly chased down his rival, despite having a bonnet that flipped forward under braking, and was glued to his tail with only 40-seconds left. He forced Greensall wide at Lavant to take the place; a thrilling end to a race that entertained from start to finish.
You might have seen Lisa Sampson on Britain's Got Talent, but then again you might have been busy that night. She reached the semi-finals with what must surely be the most advanced Hula Hoop-based show in the world. Now there's a sentence I didn't expect to be writing in a review of Goodwood...
Hula Hooping colossus Lisa bestrode the Hula Hooping bar wowing everyone with her techniques and preaching the Hula Hoop gospel to children and adults alike. This seven hoop shape is a signature pose and does require amazing muscle control, she can hold it for more than a minute, working all seven hoops.
Sport is the greatest theatre invented, and has its share of last minute disasters which are etched on our collective memories; Carlos Sainz flinging his helmet through the rear window of his broken Toyota WRC car after losing the title with metres to go, or those Bayern Munich players Manchester United managed to beat in the UEFA Champions league in 1999 after an injury time goal forced extra time.
Former Manx GP winner Michael Russell is now definitely part of that list, as the gearbox on his Velocette MSS locked up and he dropped it coming out of the chicane, with only 300 yards or so to the victory flag. He had an 8 second lead at the time coming to the end of a 25 minute race and the commentator had just said his victory was assured...
Glen English and TT legend John McGuiness inherited the win on their Manx Norton after 16 action-packed laps, 1.4secs ahead of fellow Norton riders Ian Bain/James Hillier.
The remarkable Australian racer Troy Corser and race partner Herbert Schwab placed a brilliant third in the first race and even more incredibly took victory in the second on Sunday. Remarkable because they were riding a 1929 BMW R57 Compressor with a solid frame, no suspension and apparently over 70bhp! They were competing with bikes made before 1955. Just holding on to the thing for a lap at anywhere near racing speeds was an achievement but the apparently fearless Corser was hitting over 130mph on the back straight and always appeared to have one arm reaching down or across the bike, utterly stunning.
The car park and clothes were as impressive as the race track. Sarah, Peter and Wendy Adams dressed to match their 1955 Jaguar XK140 FHC, which they bought at the Revival last year.
Sarah Bradley and Jake Turner with Sarah's 1956 Chevy pick-up, which features in Octane regularly.
Jake Ingles with his Alvis TE convertible, which has been owned by his family for over 40 years. Its previous custodian, his father Murray, is in the passenger seat with Tamsin Ingles and Ralph Shropshall-Clark in the back. Presumably the hats were not worn on the motorway...
Peter, Carol, and Mark Badger plus Michael Meaby with Peter's 1966 Ford Mustang GT 289 manual. It's an original factory GT in its original factory Tahona Blue, which he has had for six years, but only just re-tuned to the road after a full restoration.
Jacqueline Haliday and Andrew Court with his 1948 Chevy pick-up resto mod 'Coltrina' which runs a modern 4-litre turbo diesel engine, disc brakes and low-rider airbag suspension.
Tata's long term brand building for Jaguar Land Rover starts with youngsters and was a great hit with kids and their parents alike, although we wonder what the walking minder could actually do if the child decides to run wild and escape the hay-bale circuit.
Goodwood's ‘over the road’ car park section has developed into a kind of car-based music festival. As well as the usual mix of Citroen H food vans and the opportunity to spend half a million pounds on a 1930s Rolls Royce, you can now watch a 'drive-in' movie showing a selection of suitably period car-based movies, showing Grease. Sadly the equipment needed to replicate O Winston Link's iconic 'Drive in Movie' wasn't to hand, although there was a steam train across the road, but you get the idea.
The movie theme persisted in the Earls Court Motor show, which was partially centred around Steve McQueen's collection of vehicles and his film career, including these stunning two cars both used during the making of his famously atmospheric film Le Mans.
McQueen bought this Mini from Hollywood Sports Cars and had it taken straight to Lee Brown’s custom shop, where the originally Almond green and white car was refinished in medium-brown metallic with a beige roof. Brown also reversed the wheels to widen the track, fitted a wooden dash, a fold back sunroof, and had trimmer Tony Nancy re-cover the seats in brown vinyl. Twenty years later Lee Brown spotted an advert for the car and bought it back. When driving home late one night in this Mini, McQueen stopped for a comfort break and watched it glide past him down hill!
He ran after it but it rolled into a parked car so he knocked on the nearest door and the family were so shocked to have one of the world’s most famous film stars arrive in the middle of the night that they insisted he came in. They refused to take any money for the damage to their car but kept him up all night talking! On escaping he drove straight round to Lee Brown’s garage at around 6am to leave the Mini for repair. McQueen loved Minis and had previously raced one at Brands Hatch while filming in the UK, and was, famously, narrowly beaten by BMC’s golden girl of saloon racing, piano teacher Christabel Carlisle.
Take That Singer and star of C4's new classic car series, Mission Ignition, made his Revival Debut and admitted to being a bit nervous, but then who wouldn't be? He had tuition from his C4 co-star Dario Franchitti and had a spin in practice but still managed to qualify 8th. He drove a sensible steady race but a failure led to him retiring on lap 8.
The pedal car race for period Austin J40s features a double sided LeMans start and more than one child running towards the wrong car. This is the reason J40s are now more expensive on eBay than a usable Porsche Boxster.
The Lotus Cortina has come to dominate this 1960 to 1966 saloon car racing event, which is a definite crowd favourite and a two stage event; Saturday for guest pro drivers, with Touring car form, Jason Plato, Ash Sutton and the like, Sunday is for the owners of the cars although that does not stop former drivers such as Mike Jordan buying a car and competing as an owner. However, one machine did get among the Cortinas, Nick Whale's unlikely looking 1963 Studebaker Lark Daytona 500.
A third-generation Lark, which means it was launched for the 1964 MY, it's is an ideal compromise between the huge yank tanks such as this Mercury Comet Cyclone driven by Gordon Shedden and owner Roger Wills, and the nimble Cortinas.
For an American car its positively petite, and while its 4.6-litre V8 is small by US standards, so is its weight and frontal area.
Three-time BTCC Champ Matt Neal drove a blinding race with it on Saturday, really mixing it with the Cortinas in the early stages and was rewarded by second place. The race was won on aggregate by the Steve Soper/Andy Priaulx in the Cortina number 7, at the back of this leading group in the early stages.
Dragon's Den presenter Theo Paphitis got his Anglia crossed up exiting the chicane, but gathered it together and didn't spin.
The headless bodies of James Maffett and Steve Gilbey working late into the night rebuilding the ignition system of Graham Bryant's Cobra for the TT after it had failed in practice. They succeeded but the car failed to finish the race. A front running car, built to a very good specification it's not had much luck at Goodwood, retiring more than once and famously being very badly damaged in practice a few years ago by F1 ace Gerhard Berger.
The Cobra wasn't the only unlucky TT entrant though. The Sunbeam Lister Tiger of Matt Neal and Michael Squire burst a water hose and only narrowly avoided spinning on its own coolant.
Unfortunately the following Cobra of Greg Audi and former F1 star Jean-Pierre Jarier came upon the damp patch shortly afterward and didn't have a chance, spinning into the wall with some force.
The race was won by father and son David and Olivier Hart, with 19 year old Olivier putting in new lap records to overcome a five-second penalty incurred by his father for clipping the chicane early in the race.
A richly-deserved second place was taken by Jon Minshaw's E-type, which he shared with Phil Keen.
While a very popular last podium spot was taken by the diminutive underdog TVR Griffith 400 of Mike Whitaker, who shared with Mike Jordan. It suffered some damage during the race battling the bigger Cobra's, which popped out the back window during the event and led to an impressive lap of honour.
The fashion show wasn't so much a fashion show as multi-act musical play about a playboy GT man who roars about Europe circa 1964 in a Aston Martin DB5 playing Polo, going Skiing, etc, all the while longing for a girl he met randomly in Britain. He does of course meet her randomly again and sweeps her off into the snow of a London Christmas. Slightly off the wall but beautifully resolved and for me worth it just to hear 'Where do you go to my lovely', on a properly powerful speaker system. It got into my head...
The undoubted star of the Jack Sears Trophy was this recently restored Austin Westminster, the actual car that Gentleman Jack used to win the UK's inaugural British Saloon Car Championship in 1958, beginning the story that continues with today's BTCC. Driven by Nick Jarvis, the car was classified last but that didn't matter, one of the most important cars in British saloon car racing history was there on track to celebrate the BSCC/BTCC's anniversary with a race named in honour of the series first ever winner.
The actual race turned into an epic battle of the Jaguars which finished in the order of this picture, John Young winning in IVA 400, Justin Law second in UXF 863 and Grant Williams third in BUY 1. Charismatic Welshman Williams won best interview of the weekend though, gushing like an excited 12 year old about how much he'd enjoyed the battle, which was brilliant to see and made him even more of a crowd favourite.
Featured parade this year was in honour of the privateer's privateer, Rob Walker who famously said 'the only way to make a small fortune in motorsport was to start with large one'. This cheerful gentleman enthusiast made a career of being David against Goliath, beating works cars with private entries often driven by the great (now Sir) Stirling Moss. His team scored the last F1 win by a front engined car, Moss in the rain at Oulton Park driving the Ferguson-Climax P99 and the first win for a rear engined car, Moss again in Argentina.
They also won the TT in 1960 and 1961 at Goodwood in Ferrari 250 SWBs.
Probably the best drive of the weekend came in the last race, the Sussex Trophy. Phil Keen (33) had qualified on pole and having had a 3rd and 2nd in previous races over the weekend was keen to get a win. However, the throttle stuck open on the start line meaning he started dead last after his car had been fixed. He tore through field holding the Lister Jaguar at impossible angles and took the lead with three corners to go on the last lap, relegating the nimble Lotus (25) of Roger Wills to second
And of course it is a law that no Goodwood Revival report is complete without some Glam Cab girls, here on Sunday afternoon finally accepting that those boots are just not made for walking, or standing.
Words and photography by John Lakey