Editorial, November 1999

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There was a lot of talk at the Goodwood Revival about the sense or otherwise of allowing the meeting to continue in what were often foul weather conditions and, in particular, the wisdom of letting 3-litre Formula One cars loose on the circuit. More than one driver, none noted for any yellow streaks, suggested too much was being asked of drivers and machinery to compete at that circuit in those cars and in those conditions. And, for them, Sir Jack’s accident provided confirmation.

I am less sure. Whatever you think of the track, conditions and cars you cannot escape the simple fact that no-one held a gun to anyone’s head and everyone who took to the track did so in full knowledge of what they were taking on. There was no championship to be fought over, no points to be scored. Those who thought the weather too bad could simply elect not to drive or to retire. And many, rightly, did just that.

If it was claimed conditions were such that spectators were endangered, I’d feel entirely different but not once was such a suggestion made to me. My view is that this is historic motor racing and those who indulge in it are big boys and girls who know the risks; of course the cars and track are not as safe as modem machines on modem facilities but that is simply the nature of the beast. If you are to replicate authentically the atmosphere of days past, these are the hard points within which you must operate.

There are limits, of course, and races for machines of all types much more modem than the late ’60s F1 cars should be discouraged at Goodwood; apart from anything else they would look out of place on a circuit kept so in period. But I, for one, will be looking forward to seeing Lotus, Ferrari, Brabham, BRM and Eagle F1 cars back next year. I can’t remember when I last saw in action a collection of cars more beautiful and thrilling to watch than these.

We were all saddened to learn that Mark Hanna had died from bums received crash-landing at an airshow in Barcelona. Though not part of the historic motor racing circus, the outstanding displays he put on with his father at Goodwood this year and last were for many the highlight of the weekend and made sure that Mark’s memory will live on in the minds of tens of thousands of historic racing fans. To Ray, his legendary father, and all his family, we send our most sincere condolences.

Finally, please read our appreciation of Tony Rolm. Anyone who can win the British Empire Trophy before the war, two Military Crosses during the conflict and Le Mans after it has got to be worthy of your attention. He also, just so you know, helped build the Colditz glider. Delightful company to this day, his story starts on page 70.