So what makes Goodwood’s Revival Meeting so good — the fantastic cars, the period dress, the Spits and ‘Stangs scudding across a Battle of Britain skyscape? Yes, yes, all of those things. But what makes it truly great? For me, it’s the track. A sweeping, swooping rhythm of a place with none of the big stops and bottom-gear chicanes so beloved of the modem track builder and so alien to drum brakes. Even its Chicane, which rivals Monaco’s left-right flick of yore as the most famous of them all, is quick-ish. Given the opportunity to sample this testing lap in a variety of historic racers, I eagerly jumped aboard.
My first trip was alongside Willie Green in the ex-Philippe Etancelin Monza Alfa. WG pressed on as you might expect, braking neatly and smoothly before balancing rather more grip than / had expected on the (centre) throttle.
Next was Nick Wigley’s Tojeiro-Bristol, nose-up even when stationary, surefooted on the move. Nick was economical with his inputs, and still umming and ahhing over second/third for Lavant.
After lunch I sweltered in the passenger seat of the Lister-Jaguar with which Tiff Needell has thrilled us in recent years. A misfire at 4500rpm stymied its progress, which was a shame because a bit more breeze would have been welcome.
My final ride of the day was in the incredible aero-engined 1923 GP Delage-based Becquet Special. With the smallest movement of any gearbox I’ve ever seen, over-and-under throttle and brake, 12 litres of proptwisting torque and minimal grip, Alex Boswell’s laps were understandably less precise than those of the others, but they were also the most exciting. The Revival’s new-for-2004 ‘Brooklands’ race should be a hoot. Can’t wait.
Talking of old and new, as you may have noticed on the contents page, change is afoot And if you turn to page 15 you will see that we’re not shy about it: Motor Sport will have an eye-catching new look come the October issue.
Not everything is changing: our main thrust will be still be historical, and the same enthusiastic team will be lovingly putting it together each month. We won’t pretend that dealing with any subsequent brickbats will be as enjoyable as accepting any plaudits, but we will do so happy in the knowledge that you all love sport and the magazine — old and/or new — as passionately as we do.