Goodwood Revival 2014

When setting out to write a description of the Revival, it is extremely difficult to decide where to start. But that, of course, is exactly the point, as this is not one event but several running concurrently and so intertwined that they cannot easily be pulled apart. It is a motor race meeting, a classic car show, a music festival, a motoring craft fair, an air show, a huge picnic and a theatrical production in which the visitor is expected to play his part. And it’s great fun.

The public car parks, and in particular the pre ’66 car park nearest to the circuit entrance, are full of hundreds, maybe thousands, of beautiful classic cars of all years, ‘though there seemed to be a leaning towards sporting models, and these alone are worth a couple of hours spent in admiration. Just in front are food and drink stands surrounding grassed areas with tables and chairs, together with large screens showing the track action. Such an ideal place for that picnic that you almost have no need to go further.

Once in the circuit, everything is in period and supplemented by wandering actors staging little cameos, such as airline pilots, road menders, a group of roving girl singers, military personnel or Dads’ Army. Who else would think of creating a replica Stonehenge, complete with druids? Or Brighton Pier, fronted by mods and rockers?

A most poignant track parade marked the 75th anniversary of RAF Westhampnett, with four hundred extras representing the civilian population waving enthusiastically at over a hundred military vehicles, the scene completed by the Battle Of Britain flypast.

On to the Earls Court motor show, this year exhibiting a variety of cars with an emphasis on V8 engine sporting cars. AC, Aston Martin, Alphas, Jensen, Bristol, Porsche, BMW, De Tomaso and more; and every one highly desirable. Here Jaguar had a large central presence displaying a D-type, the latest F–type and taking centre stage, my favourite, the brand new lightweight re-creation E-type. Or maybe you would prefer the latest McLaren P1, also on display?For those who have attended the Revival before, we have become accustomed to air displays by Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs and they were again there, flying several sorties during each day. But glorious as they are, this year they became just a support act to the two Lancasters that flew in formation each morning. Only two airworthy Lancs left in the world, and Goodwood had both – how cool is that? And each afternoon there was a display by the aircraft of my era, a Canberra and two Hunters. Anyone else remember when the Red Arrows flew Hunters? Although then they were the Black Arrows and there were sixteen of them.

Oh yes, and there were a few races. Well, fourteen actually, with five of special interest to fans of the Jaguar marque.

The Freddie March Trophy race for cars from 1952-53 included six C-types, with Nick Finburgh qualifying best in third, but then having three spectacular spins in the race and missing the podium.

The RAC TT race, promoted rather crudely for a grid valued at £150 million, sported seven e-types. The Pearson/Harris car started the best of these, but had an early spin exiting the chicane and took three other cars with him, notably the red, ex-Jackie Stewart, e-type of Liddell/Nicoll-Jones. With a superb recovery drive, however, this team went on to finish third and best of the Jaguars.

The two part St Mary’s Trophy for saloons (1950 – ’59) always has plenty of drama and the three Mk 1 saloons were soon in the thick of the action. In race one, with all the celebrity drivers, two A40s qualified and started at the front, but Anthony Reid was having none of that, Reid winning whilst Derek Bell in BUY 1 retired mid distance. The two Mk 7 saloons rolled majestically through both of their races. Stuart Graham’s Mk 1 had suffered fuel starvation in qualifying, so started fourteenth but finished ninth.

In race two for the cars owners, with problems fixed, Grant Williams brought BUY 1 round in the lead, hounded by the cream A40 as Justin Law trailed in yesterday’s winning car. After a tremendous battle, Law won and Williams consoled himself with some lurid opposite lock slides to entertain the crowd. Richard Butterfield had a great drive to bring the third Mk1 home in fourth.

To celebrate sixty years of the three times Le Mans winning car, D-types had their own race, and an unparalleled thirty three examples paraded, before nineteen of these raced in the Lavant Cup. The race was won at a canter by maestro of Goodwood and leading exponent of the racing D-type, Gary Pearson, from Christian Glasel second and Gregor Fisken in third. Andy Wallace, who also won for Jaguar at Le Mans in the XJR-LM9 in 1988, drove the ex-Mike Hawthorn race winning D-type from 1955.

Post by Roger Gage | Photographs are in the Gallery