2014 Goodwood Revival

You always know what you’re going to get at the Goodwood Revival. The set dressing, the clothes, the cars, the smiling drivers… it’s the same every time. So how come it still manages to surprise and make its captivated audience, many of whom return year after year, gawp and gasp in amazement? We guess some things are never tiresome.

Each Revival leaves defining images that linger, then blend in to the bank of memories from meetings past. This time, for us, it was the unique sight of a Canberra jet flanked by a pair of Hawker Hunters crossing the skies; a lone Ferrari crackling around the track, guided with the crispest of gear changes by its revered driver; old F1 cars demolishing the chicane walls just as Jean Behra did in a BRM (except this time they hit polystyrene rather than real brick); and more than 100 period vehicles of WWII, including a lumbering gun tractor, as a nod to D-Day’s 70th anniversary.

The racing was, of course, marvellous, capped as usual by the pair of St Mary’s Trophy races and another gripping TT Celebration. But even in competition there were surprises. We’re used to the Glover Trophy for 1961-65 F1 cars running as a high-speed procession, led by the ex-Jim Clark Lotus 25 of Andy Middlehurst. He did extend his consecutive run of wins to four, but this time he had to work for it. He dropped as low as fourth in a slipstreaming screamer, before his pressure told and Joe Colasacco plunged his glorious Ferrari 1512 into a gap that was always too slim as he attempted to lap John Romano’s Brabham. That was the chicane-destroying moment that made us wince and hold our heads.

The safety car could have spoiled this one as the clock ran down, but they’re good sports at Goodwood. An extra seven minutes allowed a five-lap shoot-out between Middlehurst and James King’s ex-Dan Gurney Brabham BT7. What a duel it was. The Lotus squeaked it, but the result was only a certainty in the final seconds.

There were tales of heartbreak that reminded us why clichés about ‘first you have to finish’ ring so true. Oliver Bryant and Julian Bronson had such tales, from RAC TT and Richmond Trophy respectively.

Between the races, the demos attracted incredible collections of racing cars – driven slowly. This year it was Jackie Stewart’s turn, the 50th anniversary of his launchpad F3 test at the circuit all the excuse that was required to gather just about every racing car from his career. Mark Webber guested on the Saturday, while Jackie took runs in the Cooper-BMC F3, Matra MS80 and Tyrrell 006. It was great to see – although he could have pressed on, just a little bit.

In contrast, John Surtees and his lone demo in the Ferrari 158 somehow made a greater impression. The 80-year-old would hardly have troubled Middlehurst and King, but he wound up the V8 enough to propel us back half a century.

Flypasts by the two remaining airworthy Lancasters, joined by Spitfires and Hurricane, made us gasp a little more, while the all-aluminium Cessna business liner was voted best in show among the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation collection. Then again, everyone’s a winner at the Revival. A hoary old cliché? Most definitely, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Writers Damien Smith and Simon Arron

TT Celebration

Giedo van der Garde looked to have thrown away victory in the TT Celebration, traditionally the Revival’s showpiece, but the Sauber F1 reserve gladly grabbed a lifeline when Oliver Bryant’s dreadful luck kicked in.

Team-mate David Hart had worked hard to build a convincing lead in the Dutch duo’s blue AC Cobra, only for his advantage to be nullified by a safety car period caused by Ludovic Caron’s overly optimistic move on Joe Colasacco’s Maserati at Madgwick. It was never going to end well for the black Cobra.

The interruption coincided with the opening of the window for mandatory driver changes in the hour-long race, and the field duly dived in – causing havoc in Goodwood’s narrow pitlane.

Nevertheless, van der Garde was still ahead as the race turned green once more, only to slither off at Lavant under pressure from Bryant, who had taken over the red Cobra from Andrew Smith.

But when the leader dropped a cylinder, the Sauber reserve was waved into the lead once more, Bryant lingering on until pulling off and ceding a safe second in the closing minutes. Colasacco and Derek Hill thus finished as runners-up in their Tipo 151, ahead of the Robin Liddell/Matt Nicoll-Jones E-type.

The Jaguar pair came through plenty of dramas to claim their podium. Liddell was among those forced to spin in avoidance as Gary Pearson’s E-type and Craig Beighton’s Sunbeam Lister Tiger pirouetted out of the chicane. How the world’s most expensive pile-up was avoided is anyone’s guess.

Liddell handed the car over to Nicoll-Jones, who found himself one of the biggest winners from the safety car pit lottery. His progress was blotted by tapping Bobby Verdon-Roe’s Iso Bizzarrini into a spin at Lavant, but his delight with third was still understandable.

BTCC foes Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan, went head to head in Sunbeam Tiger and AC Cobra respectively. Neal, sharing with Beighton, had to settle for eighth, behind Jordan and James Cottingham.

St Mary’s Trophy

Other events command the headlines, but few capture spectators’ attention – or divert them from their picnic hampers – in quite the manner of the St Mary’s Trophy.

Staged this year for saloons built from 1950-59, the first part (for professionals) produced a wonderful, three-way fight between Andrew Jordan (Austin A40), Emanuele Pirro (Alfa Romeo Giulietta) and Anthony Reid (Jaguar Mk1). After a frenetic start, Jordan settled into the lead but came unstuck when lappery began. “I cocked up in traffic and lost momentum,” he said. That triggered a frenzy of place-swapping among a sea of Standard Tens and suchlike, with Reid working his way to the front – and staying there, despite occasionally straying onto the grass at the chicane exit. Pirro and Jordan spent almost a whole lap side by side while weaving through traffic, but the Italian eventually got his nose ahead to take second. “Historic racing is sometimes over the top,” Pirro said, “but this was just how it should be – hard, but fair.”

Darren Turner (A40) took a distant fourth, while Rob Huff retired his Austin A95 and left Mark Blundell (Ford Zodiac) and Jackie Oliver (BMW 700) to dispute fifth. That was settled in Blundell’s favour after they arrived side by side at Madgwick, the two cars touching and Oliver being left with little option but to take a detour via the grass.

The second race was arguably better still, Justin Law replacing Reid and Jordan handing over to father Mike. They were joined at the front by Grant Williams, whose Jaguar Mk1 had retired in Derek Bell’s hands on Saturday. Williams was leading when he ran wide at Madgwick, after which failing oil pressure left him unable to get back on terms. Law held the advantage into the final lap, but then his car coughed on the approach to Lavant, momentarily starved of fuel, and Jordan swept through to win on the road. The Jag swiftly regained momentum, however, and Law stayed close enough take aggregate victory by less than half a second. “I thought I had enough of a gap,” Jordan said, “but after two races like that it really doesn’t matter. What a weekend.”

One car that wasn’t seen beyond qualifying, sadly, was Chris Snowdon’s Vauxhall Cresta PA. Although it had an MoT and tax when Snowdon found it in Anglesey, five weeks of welding were required before its new owner could even think about transforming it into a racing car. The project took 18 months to complete, but co-driver Rupert Keegan unfortunately buzzed the engine during qualifying. Once sorted, the pink-and-white leviathan should be something to behold: its straight six is estimated to produce 280bhp… about 180 more than was standard in period.

Lavant Cup

For an event that cherishes the past, the Goodwood Revival now regularly features one-make races… a concept that scarcely existed during the circuit’s original period of operation. The idea worked well first time out in 2009, when the St Mary’s Trophy featured 27 Minis and a Wolseley Hornet, but that doesn’t always make it appropriate.

This year’s Lavant Cup (left) honoured the Jaguar D-type’s 60th birthday, but attracted a field of little more than half the Revival norm. It took place after Saturday’s D-type/XKSS parade (led by the model’s father figure Norman Dewis). Gary Pearson led all the way, while Christian Gläsel took second from Gregor Fisken, Derek Bell and John Young, who’d spun at Woodcote while lying second on lap two.

Maserati 250F parade

Much fuss is justly being made about Maserati’s centenary this year, but Goodwood chose to commemorate a separate landmark – the fact that the firm’s most famous product has turned 60.

On each day of the Revival, a clutch of 250Fs gathered for what were formally labelled “high-speed demonstrations”, although “demonstrations” was closer to the mark. A few were being driven with appropriate vim, but the impact was slightly diluted by the fact that almost as many 250Fs were actually racing in the Richmond Cup.

There were some landmark machines involved, including the original chassis, the first lightweight V12, Fangio’s 1957 German GP winner and the last true 250F produced (the car Fangio took to fourth place on his final GP appearance, at Reims in 1958).

The best bit of the whole venture, though, was to be found on the main paddock’s fringe, where the 250Fs were lined up in a lovingly faked Monza pit complex. It was topped by a gigantic, old-style scoreboard containing the names of 250F alumni, from Moss, Fangio, Villoresi and Behra down to Horace Gould.

The parade underlined two things: there was perhaps a little too much inertia in the timetable (an extra race or two might appeal more than some demos)... and a 250F doesn’t actually have to be moving to stir the soul.