What was your best bit? As ever, it was hard to choose as Goodwood hosted its 18th Revival meeting. The sight and sound of a dozen Spitfires marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain was hard to beat. But then there was the moving Bruce McLaren on-track tribute, which included members of his family. And what about Jackie Stewart and Dario Franchitti, slipping into the role of his hero Jim Clark, circulating in BRM P261 and Lotus 25 respectively? What a way to recall Clark and Stewart’s shared F1 lap record, set in the original Glover Trophy 50 years ago. Seeing all six Shelby Daytona Coupés in one place at one time was a bit special, particularly in the setting of a Sebring-esque garage scene, and the ‘Gassers’ drag racers blew away the cobwebs first thing each day. The world’s best celebration of motor sport offers so much – and don’t get us started on the racing…
It was about 6.40am when the first complete stranger wandered over and began chatting enthusiastically about the day ahead. The Revival Meeting has that effect, transforming a nation of introverts into the best of friends.
Officially the 2015 event attracted a record crowd of 149,000, although such was the congestion that it felt like more. As ever, though, a stroll beyond Madgwick opened the door to both breathing space and the sweeping views that are now a biannual racing treat.
Competition began with Friday evening’s 90-minute Freddie March Memorial Trophy, which Chris Ward/Derek Hood (Cooper T33-Jaguar) won by a lap, and got properly into its stride on Saturday morning. Nick Topliss (ERA R4A) was first to emerge through the traditional tyre haze of a Goodwood Trophy start, although serial victor Mark Gillies (R3A) picked his way through from fifth on the grid to win comfortably from pole-sitter Calum Lockie (Maserati 6CM) and Topliss.
Fastest qualifier John Young (Jaguar XK120) recovered from a middling start to usurp Chris Harris (Porsche 356) and win the Fordwater Trophy, while one-time 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz had to sit and watch from among the corn stooks after bike trouble ruled him out of the first Barry Sheene Memorial Race. Duncan Fitchett/Jeremy McWilliams (Manx Norton) triumphed after the MV Agusta of Paul Curran/Glen Richards lost power.
James Cottingham (500 TRC) won the all-Ferrari Lavant Cup, after rival Carlos Monteverde (750 Monza) spun when the pair touched at Woodcote, and the Brooklands and Whitsun Trophies were claimed respectively by Neil Twyman (Alfa Romeo 8C) and Nick Padmore (Lola-Chevron T70).
Best race of the day was the opening leg of the St Mary’s Trophy. Tom Kristensen managed only 400 metres in qualifying before fuel-flow problems brought his Ford Fairlane to a halt. From 28th on the grid, however, he was up to 12th within a lap (use of the grass helped) and steadily rumbled his way towards a stirring lead battle between Frank Stippler (Alfa GTA), Gordon Shedden and Andrew Jordan (Lotus Cortinas). They took longer to dislodge, but the Dane eventually slithered his way to the front to finish ahead of Shedden and Stippler – not bad for a bloke who insists he has “definitely retired”.
The left hand reached out to give his rival a cheeky tap as he squirted past. As ever with the bikers, it was all in good fun as James Haydon and Jeremy McWilliams offered a duel to relish on Revival Sunday in the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy. Haydon’s daring pass at Woodcote on the last lap would decide it, but McWilliams made us gasp as he almost drew alongside through the narrow chicane. Haydon clung on, as McWilliams and riding partner Duncan Fitchett claimed an easy aggregate win.
Part two of the St Mary’s Trophy was always unlikely to match Saturday’s thriller, although Henry Mann had a bit of work to do early on to repeat Tom Kristensen’s victory in the thumping Ford Fairlane.
Driver of the meeting Chris Ward scored the second of his weekend victories in the RAC TT Celebration, sharing JD Classic’s hot E-type with Gordon Shedden. Gearbox trouble would rob Ward of a hat-trick chance in the Sussex Trophy at the end of the afternoon, his Lister-Jaguar Costin trailing home behind Bobby Verdon-Roe’s Ferrari 246S – but he’d made his point.
In Formula 1, Andy Middlehurst scored yet another Glover Trophy win in his Lotus 25, while Revival veteran Rod Jolley claimed the Richmond and Gordon Trophies in his Cooper. The latter had his wits about him when Roger Wills allowed ambition to cloud his judgment into the chicane. The Lotus 16 speared into a backmarker ahead of them, leaving Jolley to pick his way around the mess.
The return of 500cc Formula 3 cars at Goodwood was most welcome, particularly as a large grid full of obscurities turned out. But two accidents could so easily have turned the whole weekend sour. Pat Barford’s ill-advised decision to keep his foot in on the grass out of the chicane led him to tip Paul Hewes on his head. There was much relief when Hewes – aged 84, no less – was helped away from the scene.
At the front George Shackleton fought with 17-year-old Peter de la Roche for the win. There were shades of Moss in the teenager’s terrific outside pass at Woodcote on the final lap, but Shackleton refused to give up. His trip on to that bumpy grass exiting the chicane left him sawing for control, until his Cooper slammed nose-first (and almost head-first for the driver) into the pitwall. The little car was launched across the track, and nearly into the path of its sister driven by David Woodhouse. Shackleton’s injuries were minor, unlike the apparent miracle that had saved him.