Preview Goodwood Revival

The cars, planes, bikes and stars will be at the Goodwood Motor Circuit from September 1-3

In garages, sheds, and lock-ups the classics are being polished in readiness for the annual pilgrimage to their Mecca. Some will bring their motors for the sole purpose of gaining access to the pre-1966 car park, as close to the inner sanctum as you can get.

Women are retrieving their 1950s frocks from the back of the wardrobe, where they’ve hung since last September. Many of them will also be searching for the trilbies and flat caps that the men have mislaid.

They are preparing, of course, for the Goodwood Revival, the historic racing event that the Earl of March describes as a magical step back in time, a return to the glory days of British motor sport. Judging by the ever-increasing crowds since the first Revival in 1998 there are a huge number who would agree with him.

This year, there are some notable changes to the format of the Revival in an effort to inject yet more excitement into this theatrical occasion. New for 2006 is the inclusion of specialist small-capacity sports-racing cars in the Madgwick Trophy: these rapid little cars will create some spectacular dices. The addition of some rarely seen endurance specials will add a new dimension to the already popular Fordwater Trophy and you can expect to see some lesser known British specials from Sunbeam, Lenham and WSM on the grid.

The Revival is best known for its celebrity two-driver races, the RAC TT Celebration and the St Mary’s Trophy saloon-car thriller. The line-up for 2006 is as impressive as ever. Known to be joining in the fun are Bobby Rahal, Jochen Mass, Derek Bell, Stirling Moss, René Arnoux and Henri Pescarolo. It’s hard to think of anywhere else in the world where you can see such a spectacular grid of cars racing in anger and driven by aces past and present.

The motorcycle races, in memory of Barry Sheene, will have spectators on their feet, while a tribute to World Champion Phil Hill, featuring the man himself and most of the cars he raced, will stir some great memories.

And that’s just the action on the circuit. The sky will be alive with Spitfires in an emotive farewell to Ray Hanna, the masterful pilot who created the Revival’s extraordinary air displays and who died last year. Can it be the same without him?

Pull on the flat cap, pack the picnic and take that step back in time. From September 1-3, Goodwood will be closing its gates on the modern world for what is surely the most fun event of the season.