A new meeting at Goodwood

Historic Racing News

When the highlights of this year’s Goodwood Revival make it onto the telly, viewers will fast forward to the moment in the St Mary’s Trophy when Frank Stippler driving an Alfa GTA four-wheel drifted his way across the kerbs, through Woodcote and past Tom Kristensen’s vast Ford Galaxie to take the lead. According to seasoned Revivalists in the grandstands, the gasp from the crowd was the biggest they’d heard there. By common consent it was the move of the meeting.

What viewers will pay no attention to at all will be the little white Alfa these lunatics had lapped a split second before Stippler made his move. That was me, subbing for an absent Arturo Merzario in Geoff Turral’s lovely and fully trimmed Sprint GT that he’s owned since he was a teenager. I was sitting in the best seat in the house from which to watch Tom and Frank do their thing. I also had the privilege of being slowly drawn in over half the race distance and finally dispatched by Rowan Atkinson in a three wheeling Lotus Cortina driving with a skill few people realise he possesses.

My other race, driving a Ferrari 750 Monza ended on Friday night when after an hour the organisers decided it was too dark, wet and dangerous to continue. At the time I couldn’t work out whether I was happy or sad but the answer is probably both: happy I’d not harmed someone else’s unimaginably valuable car in probably the most difficult conditions I’ve raced in, but still somehow sad not to be out there. Anywhere else and I’d have been delighted.

But the highlight, at least for Team Frankel was the performance of the Lister Coupé in the TT Celebration. Anyone who was there will remember how calmly my neighbour and Goodwood debutant Chris Harris started fourth and handed the car over to Anthony Reid in the lead and how outright victory was lost only when a sudden downpour sent Reid spinning off the road at Woodcote. What few will know is that the car had been worked on in its shelter for 15 hours the previous day, missing the second qualifying session altogether to replace and repair collateral damage from a broken oil pump.

So that was that and now I’d normally be sighing at the prospect of waiting another year for it all to happen again. Not this time. The original arrangement that allowed Lord March to return racing to the circuit provided for five ‘noisy’ days a year of which the Revival has always accounted for just three. Next year however there is to be a new race meeting to be held in March to use up those two extra days.

The new meeting isn’t going to be another Revival, but instead an event held in the spirit of the regular Members’ meetings that sustained Goodwood throughout the original history of the site as a motor-racing venue. It will also celebrate the track’s less well known but crucial role as a testing venue long after its doors closed to racing in 1966.

The 72nd Member’s Meeting, as it will be, will therefore be devoted far more to grass-roots racing than the stellar grids of multi-million pound motors that now routinely gather for the revival. Moreover current thinking is to open the doors only to members of the Goodwood Road Racing Club (currently numbering around 5000) and a few of their guests, limiting the gate to an estimated 20,000 people. The waiting list to join the GRRC is already inconveniently long. If you don’t have a chum who is also a member and sufficiently close to be sure to offer you a guest ticket, my advice is to get in the queue now before it gets even longer.

Click here for more from Andrew Frankel

race opinions  Judging at Syon Parks Salon Privé

You may also like