2014 Goodwood Revival: A step back in time for race fans
For one weekend each year, there is no need for the DeLorean from Back to the Future or the Tardis from Doctor Who for a magical journey back in time. This is the weekend of the Goodwood Revival Meeting where event host Lord March sets the stage and all visitors from the competitors to the spectators play a starring role. The result is a gigantic open air theater with around 50,000 stars each day.
Held for the 17th time, the Goodwood Revival this year paid tribute to the career of three-time Formula One World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart and also celebrated the 50th anniversary of both the Maserati 250F and the Jaguar D-Type. The site’s role during the War was also marked with a parade, which featured 23 D-Day Veterans also honored the great contributions of the civilians on the ground during the War years. As always, the blue ribband race of the weekend was the RAC Tourist Trophy Celebration for the GT cars of the early 1960s, which boasted a star-studded field of cars and drivers. This year’s charity beneficiary was the BRM V16 owned by the British Motor Museum, which is due for a very expensive rebuild.
Bonhams Revival Sale
Although involved from the very first Revival Meeting, Bonhams recorded their best ever result at this year’s edition with a sale total of GBP 15.4 million ($25.1M USD). The auction kicked off with 20 cars from the Maranallo Rosso Collection; 10 Ferraris and 10 Abarths. The latter particularly grabbed our attention as the lovely machines only very rarely come up for auction. A majority of the 20 cars found new owners for a combined total of GBP 3.5 million ($5.7M USD).
Topping the sale however, was a Lagonda LG45R competition car, which was actively campaigned in period and has also been raced with great vigor in historic events. After an intense bidding war, it eventually changed hands for just over GBP 1.5 million ($2.4M USD). Another pre-War machine that generated a lot of attention was an OM 695 SS MM Superba, which was one of the stars of the 1930 Mille Miglia, where it eventually placed fifth overall. Fresh from a trip to Pebble Beach, this veteran of many Mille Miglia retrospective exceeded all expectations as it sold for GBP 1.25 million ($2M USD).
Traditionally reserved for the Freddie March Memorial Trophy, this year the first race of the weekend was the Sussex Trophy for slightly later sports racing cars. Starting the one-hour race into the Friday evening sunset on pole were Nick Leventis and Bobby Verdon-Roe in the former’s Ferrari 246 S Dino, which has been a regular Sussex Trophy winner. Sadly not able to start the race, following a practice accident, was the Sir Patrick Head Cooper Jaguar, which had been raced at Goodwood by the former Williams technical director’s father in period.
As soon as race director John Felix dropped the Union Flag, it was Phil Keen who grabbed the lead from second in the Lister Knobbly he shared with Jon Minshaw. Following the driver changes, the field was bunched up once more, which allowed Verdon-Roe to move back up the order in the pole-sitting Ferrari from seventh. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race, he could not catch winner Minshaw and had to settle for second. Third was for Alasdair McCaig and Andrew Smith in a Chevrolet-engined Lister Knobbly.
Maserati 250F 60th anniversary
In the year Maserati celebrates its 100th anniversary, one of the fabled Italian manufacturers greatest, if not the greatest, machines also turned 60 years old; the 250F Grand Prix car. Developed from the Formula 2 A6GCM, the lovely single seater racer was campaigned in F1 throughout the 2.5 liter era (1954 – 1960) by the works team but also by numerous privateers. To mark the occasion, a recreation of the Monza pit-building was created to house a dozen 250Fs with all variants represented.
Among them was the car used by Juan Manuel Fangio to score his final and finest win at the Nurburgring in 1957, on his way to his fifth World Championship. The most extreme version of all, the Indy-specification 420M or ‘Eldorado’ was also brought out and participated in one of the high-speed demonstration runs. In addition to these runs, a majority of the 250Fs also participated in the Richmond Trophy. This was however dominated by later machinery with Julian Bronson in his striking Scarab set to score a much desired victory until his differential broke on the final lap. This promoted Roger Wills and his Lotus 16 to the lead and eventual victory. The New Zeeland-born racer showed great sportsmanship as he pulled over where Bronson had stopped on the slowing down lap.
Another legendary racing car introduced in 1954 was the Jaguar D-Type. Replacing the two-time Le Mans winning XK120 C or C-Type, the new Jaguar was built around an aeroplane inspired monocoque chassis and sported a very slippery body, which made it ideally suited to the long straights of Le Mans. With consecutive wins in 1955, 1956 and 1957, the D-Type added three more Le Mans victories to Jaguar’s tally.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic sports racer, Lord March added the Lavant Cup to the roster, open exclusively to the D-Type and its road-going counterpart, the XKSS. As some examples are too significant and/or original to race, additional cars were also demonstrated in special high speed demonstrations. These featured the very first D-Type and also the ex-Ecurie Ecosse 1957 Le Mans winner. Participating in both the demo and the race was the 1955 winner, driven by 1988 Le Mans winner for TWR Jaguar, Andy Wallace. Despite his best efforts, there was little he could do about Gary Pearson in his Longnose D-Type. The most successful Goodwood Revival racer on four wheels, Pearson used the British Racing Green D-Type to claim his 12th win.
Jackie Stewart tribute:
One of the all-time great Grand Prix drivers, Sir Jackie Stewart, had an inconspicuous start to his racing career. Make no mistake, he won his first four races but he entered under the pseudonym A.N. Other to prevent his mother from learning he also aspired to be a racing driver. He first made his mark in single seaters some two years later, early in 1964 when he tested the brand-new Cooper F3 car at Goodwood. Even though, he had not driven a single seater before, he quickly managed to match and beat the fastest time set by the team’s lead driver, Bruce McLaren. One of the observers that day was Ken Tyrrell, who signed him on the spot and the rest, so they say, is history.
Fifty years after making his single seater debut, the three time World Champion returned to Goodwood for a fitting tribute. Joined by his two sons Mark and Paul, Stewart headed the special parade, alternating between the actual Cooper T72, driven in 1964, and the Matra and Tyrrell he had used to score his 1969 and 1973 championships respectively. He was followed by many of the other cars he raced during his brief but highly successful career, which underlined Stewart’s versatility. Among the drivers present to pay tribute were former rival John Surtees and also Mark Webber, who drove the 1969 Matra MS80 on Saturday.
RAC Tourist Trophy
Of all the races during the Goodwood Revival weekend, the RAC Tourist Trophy Celebration race is the most highly coveted. Participants go to great lengths to clinch victory in the one-hour, two-driver event. One of the most unfortunate of the regular competitors is the Grahame Bryant owned AC Shelby Cobra, which is always competitive but the victory has proven elusive thus far. Driven this year by son Ollie Bryant and Andrew Smith, the red and gold Cobra managed to grab pole position. The car was however beaten off the line by the ever spectacular driving David Hart in a similar Cobra. The Dutchman managed to build up a considerable lead, only to see it disappear due to a safety car period caused by an accident of yet another Cobra. It allowed the top runners to change drivers.
Still emerging in the lead was current Sauber F1 test driver Giedo van der Garde, who made his Revival debut in Hart’s Cobra. A mistake early on in his stint allowed Bryant to pass Van der Garde. Unfortunately, it was not to be for the Cobra manufactured in period by High Efficiency Motors as it started to develop a misfire. Although having to give up the lead to the Dutch Cobra, Bryant managed to hold onto second in the sick Cobra but eventually had to pull over. This promoted the striking Maserati Tipo 151 shared by Americans Derek Hill and Joe Colasacco to second and third was for the Jaguar E-Type shared by Robbin Liddell and Matt Nicoll-Jones, following a great recovery drive after a spin that involved six cars early in the race.
A set fixture at the Goodwood Revival is the Glover Trophy race for 1.5 liter Formula One cars and this year’s edition proved to be the best in living memory. A pre-race highlight was the demonstration of John Surtees in the Ferrari 158 F1, which he had driven to the World Championship 50 years ago. The race that followed proved even more spectacular and unusually for a historic event, the most significant cars on the grid were found at the very sharp end.
Starting on pole was Andy Middlehurst in the Lotus 25 driven to numerous victories by Jimmy Clark in period. Closely behind was James King in the very Brabham BT7, he had seen his compatriot Dan Gurney score a victory in the 1964 French Grand Prix. After the race, King revealed that he had received strict instructions from Dan’s wife Evie Gurney that morning to make them proud. Fellow American Joe Colasacco was also hot on their tail with a 1512 F1, which is the only Ferrari of this era driven in anger today. Joined by Nick Fennell in another Lotus 25, these four men had a truly spectacular scrap during the opening stages of the lead. Sadly Fennell had to pull out first with engine issues and Colasacco was taken out by a back-marker. King emerged from the lead after the safety car was brought back in but eventually it was Middlehurst, who scored his fourth win in a row. The first to congratulate him was Jim Clark’s former mechanic Bob Dance, who once again prepared the car for Classic Team Lotus.
Stars in the sky
While the cars and drivers are very much the stars during the Goodwood Revival weekend, some of the most poignant moments are usually the displays in the sky above the former RAF fighter base. When we recently talked to Dan Gurney about the year he was honored at Goodwood, he said that he was most impressed not by the cars but by the airplanes. He certainly would have loved to have been at Goodwood this year as we were joined by the only two flying Lancasters in the world, one of which was flown over from its base in Canada.
It was great to see the two majestic machines, flanked by a Hurricane and two Spitfires, but this year’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight also serves as an eery reminder that there are just two flying examples left of the thousands of planes built during the War. A vast majority of these were lost in battle with very brave 19- or 20-year olds behind the controls. Of a slightly newer vintage were a pair of Hunter fighter planes and a Canberra bomber, which also made three appearances at the Revival this year.
Once again the period spectacle that is the Goodwood Revival was enjoyed by a sell-out crowd of a combined 148,000 over three days. With mostly sunny skies throughout the weekend, they will undoubtedly have had a great time both on the trackside but also in the paddock and the periods shops and bars around the track.