On September 18 1948, the Earl of March and Kinrara officially opened the Goodwood Motor Circuit by completing a lap in a Bristol 400. Lord Freddie March was an experienced Brooklands racer before the War. In 1938 he had offered a part of his Goodwood estate to the Royal Air Force, who turned it into an airfield. During the War ‘RAF Westhampnett’ served as a base for among others Hurricanes and Spitfires. With peace restored Lord March decided to turn the perimeter road into a racing circuit. Between 1948 and 1966 the Goodwood Motor Circuit hosted many great national and international races. Later that same day one Stirling Moss won the Formula 3 race in 500cc engined Cooper. He had celebrated his nineteenth birthday the day before. Throughout his career, Moss had tremendous success at Goodwood, but also suffered his career ending accident on the high speed track in 1962. It was one of several major incidents that ultimately lead to the suspension of all racing at the track in 1966.
History often has a tendency of repeating itself and certainly did so in 1998 when Lord Freddie’s grandson Charles re-opened the Goodwood Motor Circuit with a lap in a Bristol 400 on September the 18th. It was the kick off of the first Revival meeting on the Goodwood Motor Circuit. The track and facilities were completely restored to the 1966 condition and Lord March asked the competitors and spectators to dress in period outfits to match the décor. He created a thoroughly unique event that quickly grew to become one of the highlights on the historic racing calendar.
In September of 2008, the 10th anniversary of the Revival and 60th anniversary of the Motor Circuit was celebrated in great style in front of a capacity crowd. With various parades and displays the rich history of the track and the many great drivers that raced there were highlighted. The real show was provided by the drivers, riders and pilots that took to the track and went into the air with some of the finest historic machinery and often in quite spectacular fashion.
Auctions are today a common ingredient of historic motoring events and the Goodwood Revival is no exception with a sale by founding sponsor Bonhams. After the big hitter auctions in Monterey, it was good to see some more affordable lots take centre stage. Highlighting the sale were two lots from the collection of former racer and champion Bernard Consten. Topping the sale was the Porsche 904 that Consten owned since 1994, which sold for a strong £485,500. In the 1960s Consten was very successful in various Alfa Romeos, including the Zagato styled TZ1. In 1990 he added a similar car to his stable. At Goodwood it found a new owner for £254,500. Also attracting plenty of bids was a very rare Aston Martin DB6 Volante, which was hammered down at £287,500. A much more unusual lot was a NSU Kettenkrad; half motorcycle, half tracked vehicle. Developed for the German army during the War, it is fully road legal, but really excels on more difficult terrain. Doubling the pre-sale estimate, bidding ended at a staggering £67,500.
A few months earlier during the company’s Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale, Bonhams set a new world record for a Jaguar vehicle and now continued the tradition by setting a new world record for a number plate sold at an auction. The first plate issued in Edinburgh, ‘S1’, swapped hands for no less than £397,500.
At the end of another successful auction, Bonhams sold 84% of the car and automobilia lots for a clean £3.6-million, beating the previous years’ totals.
Track parades and celebrations
The Goodwood Revival traditionally celebrates a driver and a theme with special displays and parades. This year was no exception with the ‘Racing Dentist’ Tony Brooks and the track’s 60th anniversary being celebrated.
Like so many of his British peers, Brooks could be found at Goodwood very early in his career. While still in dental school, he started racing in club events in his mother’s Healey Silverstone in the early 1950s. He quickly managed to work his way up driving for various privateer teams like Equipe Endeavour. In 1955 he startled the racing world by winning the Syracuse Grand Prix in a Connaught B-Type at his Formula 1 debut. It was the first Grand Prix win for a British car piloted by a British driver since 1923. He subsequently raced as a Works driver for Aston Martin, Vanwall, BRM and Ferrari. His biggest successes were scored in the Aston Martin sports cars, highlighted by a victory in the 1958 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood together with Moss. With the exception of his tenure at Vanwall, his Formula 1 drives were often poorly timed. In 1959 he joined Ferrari just as the mid-engined revolution took place, rendering the 1958 World Driver Championship winning Dinos obsolete. Ferrari was competitive again in 1961, but by that time Brooks had jumped ship to BRM. Disappointed by the uncompetitive cars he retired from racing in the build up of what would become the British manufacturer’s most successful season. With six Formula 1 victories and many racing successes he made the most of his relatively short career, although many feel the results on paper do not do justice to Brooks’ talent and skill. His former team-mate and co-driver Moss described Brooks as the ‘greatest unknown racing driver’ of their era.
The celebration of the 60th anniversary was two-fold. Firstly ‘Life on the road in 1948’ was brought back to life with a parade with all sorts of vehicles that could be found on the streets and in the air during the late 1940s. Participants of the parade ranged from massive trucks to bicycles and even two small trainer airplanes. More impressive was the tribute to the ‘Goodwood Legends’ that so successfully raced on the Motor Circuit between 1948 and 1966 and also between 1998 and 2008. Headlined by legend of legends, Sir Stirling Moss, many of the surviving legends were present. In a touching ceremony Lady March awarded them with a commemorative medal and a replica of the silk scarf worn by Freddie March when he won the Double 12 race at Brooklands. The ‘legends’ were reunited with their original machines, complemented by cars used to great effect by drivers that are no longer with us. Joint holder of the track record on the original track with the late Jimmy Clark, Sir Jackie Stewart was reunited with the BRM P261 that he used to score his first Formula 1 victory. The Beaulieu museum brought out their BRM V16, which scored its only victories at Goodwood. It is as legendary for its impossible complexity as it is for its ferocious soundtrack and we were treated to both. The mechanics managed to get the V16 engined machine on track twice but not before a small fire smoldered the engine covers.
For us it is not the unique atmosphere or the special parades that make the Revival so special; it is the racing. Spread over two days historic cars and bikes compete in a total of fifteen different races, which are all closely contested. The owners and seasoned historic racers are joined by professional drivers of today and the past. Among them were past champions like Emmerson Fittipaldi, Derek Bell, Bobby Rahal and Henri Pescarolo and current racers like 2006 and 2007 crowd favourite Jean-Marc Gounon, Emanuele Pirro and Marino Franchitti. Now 79 years old, ‘Boy Wonder’ Sir Stirling was also out in three of the races, piloting three different Jaguars in his grand style.
In the spirit of the great nine hour races held at the Motor Circuit in the 1950s, the final event race on Saturday, the Freddie March Memorial Trophy, was scheduled to run into the sunset. The 90-minute endurance race was open to sports racing cars of the 1952 – 1955 period, which were driven by a team of two pilots. After a dreadful summer, the weather was good all three days, so the participants did really race into the setting sun. Darren McWhirter placed his father’s Lagonda V12 on pole position, but during the race the rare Le Mans racer lost a lot of time after a spin. By that time multiple Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro had already built up an impressive lead in Robert Waterhouse’s Austin Healey 100S. Under beautiful orange skies Stuart Graham completed the race a full two laps ahead of Adrian Hall and Nick Adams in the former’s Lotus X Bristol.
The traditional feature race of the meeting is the one-hour RAC Tourist Trophy for early 1960s GT cars held on the Sunday afternoon. The 28-car grid was valued at £85 million by the organizers and that is a conservative estimate. A victory in the TT is highly rated as it was back in the day; several of the teams were found testing before the race to be fully prepared. Winners of the previous two TTs Michael Vergers and Juan Barazi were not present, leaving F1-designer Adrian Newey and former F1-driver Martin Brundle in a similar Jaguar E-Type Lightweight as the favourites. Brundle did not disappoint and placed the white and red Jaguar on pole position. Newey did well to keep up with the professional drivers in the opening stages of the race, but problems with the belts during the driver-change threw the team right down the order. After all the pit stops the Ferrari 330 LMB of Peter Hardman and Bobby Verdon-Roe with the latter behind the wheel emerged well in the lead ahead of Anthony Reid in the unique Lister Jaguar Coupe. In the closing stages of the race Barrie Williams ran wide in a Cobra and crashed into the barriers. ‘Whizzo’ was fine, but the safety car was called out, which decimated Verdon-Roe’s lead. When the cars were let loose again, he did manage to keep Reid at a safe three-second distance and scored a well deserved victory. Amazingly it was the first Revival TT victory for Ferrari while in period the Italian machines absolutely dominated the race.
Each of the other races saw great action, but it would take too much ‘ink’ to go into them in detail. We would however like to mention the efforts of two drivers. Firstly the performance of Brazilian historic racer Carlos Monteverde, who competed in all of the previous Revivals and missed out on victory every time. He is well known for his spectacular, sideways driving style in priceless Ferraris, which resulted in some big shunts. This year he kept it all together and scored that much coveted win in the Madgwick Trophy in his Ferrari 206 SP against very strong competition from very quick Elvas and Lotus 23Bs. He was understandably ecstatic after the race and not only because ‘Marilyn Monroe’ was going to present him with kisses and a laurel wreath.
Barrie Baxter was rightly awarded the Spirit of Goodwood award for his valiant effort to help Jochen Mass after he rolled his Lancia-Ferrari D50. The German Formula 1 and sports car ace got his foot stuck between the throttle and brake and carried too much speed into the chicane. He tried to make the corner, but failed to do so and ran wide into the barrier eventually flipping the car. Baxter was right behind him and immediately stopped his TecMec Maserati on track and got to Mass together with the first marshals. They freed the German pilot, who was well shaken and bruised, but because the load was taken off him so quickly he suffered no serious injuries.
A record breaking 124,000 spectators attended the Goodwood Revival over the three days. It was great to see that most of them put a serious effort to match the décor. The unique atmosphere and off-track entertainment also ensure that partners and children who are not really into racing still have a great weekend. For racing enthusiasts there is no better place to spend a September weekend than Goodwood.
Now sit back and enjoy our spectacular 220-shot slideshow
that includes all of the races, parades and displays.