I know I risk a fatwa for writing this letter but wonder if I am alone in feeling increasingly uncomfortable about the Great Goodwood Revival. Perhaps “You had to be there”, but from where I’m sitting I think that objective reporting of the event has been abandoned in what seems to be an orgy of hype. Historic motor racing has long been an important part of the sport and has an enthusiastic and highly knowledgeable following. But when I read of 80,000 spectators willingly being parted from their £35 a head for a bizarre fancy dress party I begin to wonder. (And I bet Jenks would have more than wondered…)
I wonder exactly who the spectators were – one thing’s for sure, they were more than the regular crowd who turn up rain or shine to such classic events as the VSCC Cadwell Park meeting; an event, incidentally, which boasts a fabulous entry on a quite stunning circuit.
Like your readers, I adore seeing racing cars of any vintage being driven hard on a challenging circuit. But I’m damned if the price of doing so is dressing up as some ludicrous facsimile of what late 1990s Britain thinks the.’50s and ’60s were actually about.
What is so desperately wrong with motorsport that we are so desperate to recreate the past? It’s dangerous ground – you can’t selectively recall the past without looking as daft as Morris Men. I’m old enough, just, to remember 1960s motorsport; while it had many strengths it did have its downside, such as creative organisation, untrained marshals (I was one of them), terrible driver and spectator safety and unspeakable catering.
Let’s enjoy old racing cars and drivers, remember great races from the past and reflect on changes within the sport, but let’s not wallow in Never-never land. If you enjoyed watching the GTOs and Astons at Goodwood, go and watch Ian Flux hurl a TVR Tuscan around Croft or Tim Sugden pilot a McLaren F1 at Donington or Oulton. It’s just as spectacular, a lot cheaper and you don’t have to dress up!
I am, yours, etc. John Aston, North Yorkshire