Lord March was blessed with a heatwave for his annual old-car racing feast — and the action on the track sizzled too. Damien Smith reports
From giant-killing Austin A35s to glorious pre-war Brooklands racers, the seventh Goodwood Revival meet retained the charm and eccentricity that has made Lord March’s vision the biggest motorsport crowd-puller in Britain after Silverstone’s GP. A crowd of 103,000 passed through the Sussex circuit’s gates over three sunbaked September days.
The racing was fierce and the demoes absorbing. Track tributes to Sir Jack Brabham brought the fans to their feet, while air displays of Spitfires, a Mustang and a monstrous Thunderbolt made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
The downsides? The recent injury that kept Sir Stirling Moss out of racing and the postponement of Win Percy’s debut in a Jaguar fitted with hand-controls. And then there was Chris Smith’s Glover Trophy crash. His Lotus 18 ploughed into a Madgwick tyre wall, leaving him with a broken tibia in one leg and a fractured ankle in the other. It could have been a lot worse.
The hour-long delay as Smith was cut from the wreck did cost the meeting its momentum at the end of Sunday afternoon, but the crowd had already been treated to some thrilling action. Rae Davis’ charge to victory in his flame-red A35 was a highlight (see page 20), while Mark Hales repeated his stealthy performance from last year to claim the TT Celebration again. Richard Attwood survived a first-lap contretemps with Gerry Marshall’s Ferrari 330LMB and stopped early to hand over the deceptive Bizzarrini to Hales. As the other front-runners made their pit stops, Hales smoothly rose up the leaderboard.
Tiff Needell and Frank Sytner looked certain for second until diff problems on their Cobra forced a late retirement. The Bill Shepherd/ Grahame Bryant Cobra inherited this spot, finishing ahead of Justin Law’s Lister-Jaguar Coupé, which had set the pace during the first half in the hands of Andy Wallace.
Sytner made up for his TT disappointment with a pair of wins at the close of the day. Thomas Bscher’s BRM led the Glover Trophy until Smith’s accident, but after the restart Duncan Dayton’s Brabham BT11 hit the front. Sytner stalked the American and took a decisive lead at the end of the third lap.
The Whitsun Trophy for mighty Prototypes was another affair dogged by red flags. Simon Hadfield’s Lotus 30 took the fight to Sytner’s Lola T70 Spyder until a beached car at Madgwick caused the race to be stopped. At the restart, Hadfield struggled off the line, giving Sytner a much easier run. But again the red flags flew when the Brabham BT8 of Dayton clashed with Willie Green’s Ford GT40, both spearing into the wall at high speed.
The first race of Sunday morning was also run in two halves after Josh Sadler’s Allard hit the wall at Lavant. Michael Steele’s HWM Jaguar was a comfortable winner.
Mark Gillies’ Lowline Cooper secured the Richmond & Gordon Trophies for 1954-61 F1 cars, but it was Michael Schryver and Dayton who really shone. Schryver’s Lotus 18 led, then broke a driveshaft; his only consolation being a 100mph fastest lap; Dayton was superb in the front-engined Lotus 16, but he was always on a knife-edge and it was no surprise when he spun at Lavant.
For the first time, Saturday at the Revival featured a full race programme. The Brooklands Trophy and the Chichester Cup for Formula Juniors were both highlights (see page 18).
In the Goodwood Trophy’s battle of the ERAs, John Ure’s R9B just shaded Ludovic Lindsay in R5B ‘Remus’ after Mac Hulbert’s R4D hit the Chicane. Nick Wigley’s Tojeiro-Bristol claimed the Madgwick Cup, while Julian Bronson came out on top in an entertaining battle of the Listers in the Sussex Trophy.
Ricketts’ comeback recalls spirit of Brooklands
Goodwood Revival’s first venture into pre-war territory added a new flavour to this charismatic meeting as an exciting field of Brooklands-type cars produced a dramatic race with an unexpected twist.
At the start the Tipo B Alfa Romeos of Thomas Bscher and Robert Fink out-dragged pole-man Duncan Ricketts. but the Dixon Riley soon began to haul them in, until a too-brave dive inside the leader Bscher on lap three saw Ricketts spin onto the Madgwick grass. Losing only a couple of places, he attacked again, until with two to go he snatched the lead back with a lap 2sec under his qualifying time and opened a gap from Bscher and Fink to the flag.
Behind them Alex Boswell (Bequet Delage) matched Julian Majzub’s Pacey-Hassan all the way. Majzub’s Bentley power finally edging out the aero-engine.
The crowd roared appreciation for Chris Williams’ tyre-smoking Napier-Bentley. matched for bulk with Keith Schellenberg’s Barnato-Hassan and that prime Brooklands special. the Birkin single-seater. with Ben Collings aboard.
An imposing trio of SS. SSK and SSKL Mercedes made an appropriate posse on the same day that DaimlerChrysler began building its Heritage Centre at Brooklands. the track whose social atmosphere inspired Goodwood from 1948. GC
Duncan Ricketts win in the Brooklands Trophy wasn’t a surprise — but the way it happened was The experienced VSCC racer qualified his Dixon Riley almost 2sec ahead of his nearest rival. Thomas Bschers Alfa Tipo B: “I knew the Alfas would beat me off the line, but if you play the Dixon’s tyres in. it gets quicker two or three laps in. So I thought I might have to back off to make a better race,” he admitted later. “But when I went to the inside of Thomas. I realised there wasn’t room and I had to spin or hit him.
With Ricketts seemingly out of play, Bscher relaxed, not knowing that Duncan was taking 5sec a lap out of him…
Caravelle lands one
Saturday’s Chichester Trophy broke a jinx for James Hicks’ FJ Caravelle, which finally won after failing to finish all its previous races at the Sussex track. Hicks traded the lead for several laps with Derek Walker’s Crosslé and the Lotus 18 of Neil Daws before pulling away to victory.
One of three Caravelles built and raced by Hicks’ father Bob in 1960. the 105E-powered Mk 3 was restored for the first Revival meeting in ’98. when Mike Knight drove it. Since then James has raced it at Pau. Le Mans and Monaco. where Frank Francis competed with it in ’62.
Caravelle Mk1 was also in the Goodwood race, driven by Richard Utley. who designed the cars and raced them in period. He had a big crash in Mk2. which is still “a pile of bits”, according to James. but the family intend to restore it GC
Baby Austin powers to win over big Jags
I was surprised at our speed.” admitted Rae Davis. So were the opposition in the St Mary’s Trophy saloon races.
His little Austin A35 scored a crowd-pleasing win thanks to ITV Formula One pundit Tony Jardine’s fine third in Saturday’s race and Davis’ tight victory on Sunday.
Jardine’s practice time in the newly prepared car was cut short by a blown gasket, and then the oil filter housing broke during Davis’ run. But a new engine for the races put their problems behind them.
Jardine was only beaten by Justin Law’s Jaguar Mk1 and Gerry Marshall’s bizarre but rapid Alvis Grey Lady. But the best was yet to come.
Davis started from the back, but quickly sliced through the field to challenge leader Andy Wallace who had taken over Law’s Jag. When Wallace retired. the A35 looked in the clear — but Grant Williams in another Jag Mk1 had not given up. Williams had led from the start, but was forced to pit after his bonnet came undone. He charged back and harried the A35 across the line.
“I didn’t know I was leading.” said Davis. “I thought at first that Grant was trying to lap me. I only realised I had won when the chequered flag was dropped rather than waved at me!”
Cynics might question the Austin’s speed. -There’s nothing illegal about the car.” insisted Davis. “We’ve just worked on a few areas: brakes, suspension and engine. We have nothing to hide.
Davis won Goodwood’s Driver of the Meeting award.