With the Goodwood Revival, Lord March has provided us with an annual time-warp back into the 1950s and '60s. He had the Goodwood Motor Circuit completely restored to its former glory and invites all visitors to dress accordingly. Back in 1998 people were a little hesitant to dress up but by now it is embraced to the extent that those who don't look completely out of place. It is not all show though; the racing, the motorcycles, the airplanes and the cars are very real. The bikes and racing cars competed in fifteen different races with as absolute highlight the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration one-hour, two-driver enduro for 1960s GT-cars on Sunday afternoon. Honouring the track's roots as a World War II airfield were a variety of airplanes that were demonstrated just above the heads of the crowd.
Most 'period correct' are the people that were actually involved in top level racing back in the day, like ace Lotus mechanic Bob Dance or legend of legends Sir Stirling Moss. He celebrated his 80th birthday on the eve of this year's Revival and throughout the weekend the celebrations continued. In addition the 75th anniversary of English Racing Motors (ERA) and the 50th anniversary of the original Mini were also celebrated.
75 Years of ERA
Even though only a handful of ERAs were built between 1934 and 1939, they rank among the most famous British racing cars. That is partly due to the successes scored in period but even more so thanks to their continuous record in historic racing. Many of the cars were never retired from racing and have scored wins in all the major historic events around the world.
The ERA had been the brainchild of successful racer Raymond Mays, who was desperate to make England a player again in international racing. In 1933 he had successfully raced a much modified Riley, which would form the basis for the ERA A-Type Voiturette racer that debuted a year later. It combined the Riley twin-cam, supercharged engine with a Reid Railton designed chassis. All but one of the ERAs built to this original design managed to score a victory in period. Among its drivers were Prince Bira of Siam and Richard Seaman, who would later be hired as a Mercedes-Benz Works driver. In 1939 the heavily revised E-Type ERA was launched but it failed to impress; it did not score its first win until 2000.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of ERA, over a dozen examples were paraded around the track on all three days. It did seem a little superfluous as almost all of the were entered in the Goodwood Trophy race for pre-1950 Grand Prix and Voiturette Cars. This race was duly won by Ludovic Lindsay in the ex-Prince Bira ERA R5B 'Remus,' which ranks among the most successful of all ERAs. Featured exclusively in the parade were Mays' White Riley Special that started it all and the second of two E-Types built in 1938.
50 Years of the Mini
Goodwood pulled out all the stops to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Britain's best-known motoring icon. Originally conceived by Alec Issogonis in 1959 as the the new Austin Seven, the Mini stole the heart of many generations to come. The small car was not only popular with the masses, it was also embraced by celebrities like the Beatles who zipped around town in heavily customized Minis. The Mini also starred in many movies, highlighted of course by the 'Italian Job' of 1969. Most famous of all are the John Cooper tuned Minis that were raced highly successfully on track but also on rallies like the Monte Carlo, which was won three times by a Mini Cooper S in the mid-1960s. Such was the car's popularity that it remained in production until 2000 when it was replaced by the much larger, BMW designed MINI.
To honour the Mini's Golden Jubilee, the St. Mary's Trophy race for touring cars was reserved exclusively to Minis. The two-part, pro-am event saw the professionals out on track on Saturday and the owners on Sunday. Among the professional drivers were 1964 and 1967 Monte Carlo winners Paddy Hopkirk and Rauno Aaltonen. Current Corvette works-driver Oliver Gavin won the first leg of the event in the Swiftune Mini and Nick Swift repeated that feat in the race on Sunday.
During the parade of Minis and Mini derived vehicles, Mr Bean made his first ever public appearance. He piloted his famous green Mini around the track, while sitting an a sofa mounted on the roof of the car. Also present in the colourful parade were various genuine Cooper S rally cars and several of the Union Jack-liveried Minis that starred in the Italian Job.
Sir Stirling Moss at 80
On September 18th 1948, a day after his 19th birthday, Stirling Moss scored his first notable victory. He had won the 500 cc race at the first ever day of racing at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. Since that day the history of the driver and venue would be forever intertwined; Moss achieved some of his biggest successes but also suffered his career-ending accident in 1962 at Goodwood. In the fourteen years between those two fateful days at Goodwood, Moss scored victories around the world in a wide variety of vehicles. Among his finest wins rank the 1955 Mille Miglia at record breaking pace, the 1959 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood, which secured the World Championship for Aston Martin and the 1960 Monaco Grand Prix in the privately entered Rob Walker Lotus 18 (this was Lotus' first of many F1 wins). After his professional career, Moss has continued to display his typical laid-back style in historic events until this very day.
Needless to say Sir Stirling Moss' 80th birthday did not go by unnoticed during the Revival. The celebratory parade featured over 80 cars that Moss had originally raced. Among them were all of the Grand Prix and Sports Racers that brought him his biggest successes. Mercedes-Benz even made a very rare exception to the permanent retirement of Moss' Mille Miglia winning 300 SLR. Over the three days Moss drove a Mercedes-Benz W196 similar to the car that brought him his first Grand Prix win, the 1960 Monaco winning Lotus and the 1959 TT winning Aston Martin DBR1.
On Sunday the parade was stopped on the start-finish straight where Lord March held a touching speech. He described Moss as the 'oldest 16-year old he knew' and the 'greatest Englishman' alive. The ceremony was concluded by a very loud cannon fire salute made by the Royal Horse Artillery.
For frequent visitors of the Goodwood Revival many of the cars in the entry-list will have looked familiar. Although it never tires to see a Ferrari 250 GTO, an Aston Martin DBR1 or a Lola T70 driven in anger, variety is the spice of life. Fortunately several very interesting 'new' cars appear at every edition of the Revival.
This time our attention was grabbed by the Lotus 25 that Jim Clark used to score six of his seven Grand Prix wins in the 1963 season. At the end of last year this highly successful Formula 1 car was auctioned for nearly $1 million USD. Prepared by Classic Team Lotus, the car was looked after at Goodwood by Bob Dance, who first joined the Lotus Formula 1 Team in 1960 and is generally considered the best Lotus mechanic in the paddock. Andy Middlehurst drove the car to an impressive sixth in the Glover Trophy race on Saturday. Martin Stretton took the win in a Lotus 24 ahead of James King in a Brabham and Philip Keen in a Lotus. The 2nd and 3rd placed drivers finished just 0.038 seconds apart. Entered in the same race was Jan Biekens' Ferrari 156 'Sharknose' recreation that made its debut at Goodwood. Using as many original parts as possible, Jim Stokes spent thousands of hours to reconstruct the 'Sharknose' driven by Olivier Gendebien in the 1962 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
American enthusiast Don Orosco had entered both of his Scarabs in the Richmond Trophy race for 1950s Grand Prix cars. The very rare Offenhauser engined cars were blisteringly quick in qualifying but unfortunately neither made it out onto the grid for the race. Don Orosco had come into contact with the tire-barrier in qualifying and the prop-shaft failed on the example piloted by his son Patrick shortly before the race. Hopefully we will see these beautiful machines back out during next year's Monaco Historic Grand Prix where the Scarab Formula 1 team debuted fifty years earlier. Victory in this race was for 1970 Le Mans winner Richard Attwood in a Ferrari 246 Dino recreation. He narrowly beat Frank Stippler who piloted Burkhard von Schenk's Maserati 250F in a very spectacular fashion. It was the German's first outing at Goodwood and his brave drive filled with glorious slides did not prove enough for victory but did earn him the 'Rolex Driver of the Meeting' award.
The feature race on Saturday was the one-hour, two-driver Lavant Cup, which celebrated the Goodwood TT races of 1958 and 1959. Early in the race Graeme Dodd in the ex-Ecurie Ecosse Tojeiro Jaguar and Gary Pearson in a similarly engined Lister headed the field. Nicky Leventis kept his father's superbly balanced Ferrari 246 Dino in contention before handing it to Bobby Verdon-Roe. In spectacular fashion he drifted his way to the lead of the race. Despite his much smaller 2.4 litre engine, he managed to extend the lead even after he had slowed down 2 seconds from his ultimate pace. Shortly after he finished the race, the crowd was treated to the thunderous AVRO Vulcan bomber. This was most fitting as AVRO was founded by Bobby's grandfather Alliot Verdon-Roe. Having benefited from a recent 6 million pound restoration, it is the currently the only airworthy Vulcan in existence. With its extreme delta-shape, it provided for a very surreal and loud spectacle. Other air displays included demonstrations from Spitfires and Mustangs as well as two passes of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, featuring another great AVRO bomber; the Lancaster. The most surprising plane to hit the skies over the former RAF airfield was a Messerschmitt BF 109.
The blue-ribbon race of each Goodwood Revival is the RAC TT Celebration for 1960 - 1964 GT cars. At 2pm on Sunday afternoon a grid lined up of around thirty thoroughbreds, reportedly worth up to 150 million pounds in total. This year the entry included Le Mans winners like Derek Bell, Vern Schuppan, Richard Attwood, Jacky Oliver and Stafan Johansson, and single seater aces like Bobby Rahal, Eddie Cheever, Danny Sullivan and Marc Gené. In the early stages of the race Jean Marc Gounon and Bobby Rahal fought out a great battle in a Ferrari 250 GTO and Jaguar E-Type Lightweight respectively. Gounon held onto his early lead but eventual had to led his American rival past. After the race the jovial Frenchman complemented Rahal on his drive: "Not bad for an old man." Rahal's drive earned him the Will Hoy Memorial Trophy (for the greatest drive in a closed cockpit car). Shortly after Gounon had handed the Ferrari to Peter Hardman, it started to develop a fuel-feed problem and it sadly had to retire from the lead. Owner of the E-Type and ace-F1 designer Adrian Newey replaced Rahal in the driving seat and all he had to do was to defend a seemingly comfortable lead. Considering as his challenger was Bobby Verdon-Roe, Newey had no time to relax but did eventually clinch the coveted win after finishing second last year. Reportedly, Newey put the E-Type in the Red Bull Racing wind-tunnel for some aero-tweaks in preparation for the TT Celebration.
Defying the current economic situation a record-breaking 134,000 spectators spread over three days visited the Goodwood Revival this year. All of them who made the effort to dress up were not just visitors but participants of the event. This is one of the unique event's great strengths and also helps to attract spouses and children who would otherwise never visit a car race. Fortunately there were very few incidents on the very dangerous track although the bodywork and paint on several of the cars will need some touch-ups. It was once again a great pleasure to visit the Revival and above all an honour to attend Sir Stirling Moss' 80th birthday celebrations. For 220
reasons to come (back) next year, we invite you to explore our exclusive gallery
with images from all races, displays and parades.