Edwardians star at 74th Members Meeting

PrintA couple of weeks ago we spent the weekend at the 74th Members Meeting at Goodwood. This much lower key event was revived in 2014 and is intended to be a recreation of the original seventy one Members Meetings that were held at the track in it’s heyday. It’s a treat for us, as we actually experience a weekends racing, it’s much less crowded and more accessible with no corporate hospitality then at the Revival later in the year, when we are busy working as part of the period taxi fleet.

Taking place in mid March the potential downside is the weather, luckily it stayed dry but it was rather chilly as it is an exposed airfield. However as James often says “there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing” and so we prepared well. With lots of layers – I could hardly move and looked like a Michelin Man – hats and warm boots, we stayed toasty all weekend. We saw some very stupid people who didn’t dress for the conditions and obviously weren’t enjoying it and the numbers thinned out quite quickly in the afternoons.

Saturday is practice day and after a great journey down to Goodwood, we arrived about 10.30. Unfortunately we didn’t have circuit parking for Mario, unlike the first 72 meeting and so left him at home. New this year and what we were most looking forward to, was the SF Edge Trophy for Edwardian Specials raced up until 1923. These proved to be the total stars of the weekend. One of the first things we saw in the paddock was this fabulous fire breathing Darracq, a 1905 land speed record car which was totally awesome. The practice session was amazing with a field of unique vehicles, most of which looked positively dangerous.DSC07239 DSC07287 DSC07304 DSC07305 DSC07343 DSC07352 DSC07354 DSC07360 DSC07244On Saturday there was a special demonstration of two Championship winning Mercedes Benz W196’s from the 50’s. Driven by Jochen Mass and Mika Hakkinen. We almost missed them so only got a rear view!DSC07371 DSC07388 We popped in the viewing of the Bonham’s auction. Mario would have been pleased to see a couple of small Fiats. We loved the Mercedes Service van and wanted to take home the Autobianchi Bianchini, just as well it wasn’t the cabriolet version or I might have had a problem keeping my arm down!DSC07402 DSC07404 DSC07409 DSC07411 DSC07412 DSC07414 DSC07420 As it started to get dark the Alan Mann Trophy got underway with a field of 29 Ford GT40’s charging into the darkness.DSC07446 DSC07457Then it was time for the party. Unique to the Members Meeting, everybody is invited to an evening of entertainment, with fairground rides, high wire acts, fire dancing and parades. All finished off with a tremendous fireworks display which lit up the sky as far as the eye could see.DSC07466 DSC07471 DSC07485 DSC07503 DSC07553 DSC07556 DSC07625 DSC07630 DSC07672 Sunday morning saw another good run to the circuit and we made sure that we arrived in plenty of time for the Edwardian race. At the entrance was this lovely Speedwell Blue A35, just like my first car (sort of!). We discovered that the racing was already running very late, this was due to a horrid and freak accident in the first race of the day, when a car had rolled and ended up in the tunnel beneath the track. Amazingly nether the driver or any members of the public were hurt but unfortunately it put a damper on the day and heralded a day of incidents and red flags, including another massive accident in the afternoon, again under unusual circumstances. The driver although injured wasn’t as bad as feared. Goodwood keep a very low profile over major accidents and do not show or comment on them and so I will not dwell on them any further or add links to images and video. The result of all the stoppages was that several of the races had to be shortened and it did take the gloss off of the racing.  DSC07675

DSC07698The Edwardian race however was superb. Exciting, competitive and with no incidents. In vehicles that were difficult to drive and handle, the drivers showed tremendous respect for each other while racing hard. They are completely bonkers, racing as they do while perched high up, exposed and unprotected on tiny seats and with a huge difference in size between the cars.
DSC07715 DSC07718 DSC07721 A high speed demo by the group 5 sportscars, which had dominated the World Sportscar Championships in the 70’s, including the iconic Gulf Porsche was a spectacular sight.DSC07765 DSC07773 DSC07778 DSC07797 We set off for a trip out to Lavant and spotted this lovely Volvo P1800 which is a car I’ve fancied owning for a while.DSC07812 Part of the Members Meeting is all the other events which take place around the circuit for people to join in and earn points for their house. Out at Lavant Corner I had a go at Duck Herding – well I stood in the middle of a field and the sheep (duck) dog and ducks did what the knew how to! There was also Feret Racing.DSC07813 DSC07819 DSC07822We went back to the paddock area for a tasty pre-birthday Afternoon Tea in the Bill Wisdom Enclosure. Then we had a good look around the Edwardian cars, which are even more impressive (and oily) close up and great for some detail photography.IMG_1087DSC07681DSC07685DSC07865 DSC07871 DSC07872 DSC07877 DSC07878 DSC07884 We went infield beyond the startline, to an area which at the Revival is all hospitality, here we had a good view back to the start through the daffodil display. The Ground Effect F1 cars gave a good high speed demonstration, unfortunately we missed the grid walk as due to the incidents the timings were all over the place. It was a good viewing spot so we stayed there to watch part two of the Gerry Marshall Trophy for the Group 1 Saloon cars 1970-1972.DSC07894 DSC07897 DSC07983 DSC07985 DSC08007 The Parnell Cup is another favourite with pre 1953 Grand Prix cars, including ‘Remus’ the blue with yellow wheels ERA which made such an impression on us, in the first race, at the first Revival, way back in 1998 and started our love affair with motorsport at Goodwood.DSC08027DSC08017 As the sun started to set, there were still three races to go, these all had to be shortened and were run with no ceremony but they had a certain intensity and in the cooling conditions, the lack of ‘hanging about’ was rather welcome.DSC08031 DSC08037 DSC08058 DSC08092 DSC08113 So with the racing over, the remaining spectators and competitors, headed for the Great Hall for the prize giving. Warmed up with Bullshot – hot Bloody Mary’s made with beef consommé – the ceremony took the format of a school awards day with the Race Governors in their robes handing out the prizes. The four House Captains waited anxiously to find out which house had won – Methuen and Anthony Reid for the third year running, although it was our house captain Emanuele Pirro who had the last word, thanking Lord March for the weekend.DSC08121 DSC08130 DSC08138

Historic Rallying, go, go, go…

Mario and his female human are quite happy just bobbling along the country roads but this isn’t quite enough for the male human of the family… James likes to indulge in a little more adventurous pursuit – historic rallying.

The sort of historic or classic rallying he does isn’t the pace note, balls out, off road type, even he considers that a little mad (although he did once compete in and got a class win on the classic RAC stage rally) but endurance events for classic cars that require skill and judgement to navigate a complicated route keeping to very specific speeds on regularity sections to arrive exactly or as near as on time at checkpoints. He mainly takes this a stage further and prefers to do the winter events which involve inclement weather and long and difficult night sections.

The reason for writing this post now is that James is currently in Norway having started the Winter Trial today – six days of tough navigation and driving on snow and ice in Norway. He is navigating for Dutchman Herman Maas in a Volvo Amazon 122s. You can follow their progress on his own blog dickingaroundwitholdcars

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James first started Historic rallying as a driver back at the beginning of the 90’s, his first event sharing the driving on the 1991 Monte Carlo Challenge in an A35 with Terry Langridge which started from Edinburgh, it snowed so much in this country that they didn’t think they’d even get to Dover. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any pictures of this car or their subsequent vehicle in 1993 – a Triumph 2000, maybe I will be able to add them later.

By now James had the ‘bug’ and progressed to a 1958 Hillman Minx series 3 with friend Dominic West. Again the event of choice was the Monte Carlo Challenge which had various starts over the years but always finished on the harbour in Monte Carlo after several tortuous days crossing the snowy alpine passes, the ability to fit snow chains quickly in difficult conditions and not getting stuck being a big part of a successful run. 
old-scans177 scan083old-scans181The Mini was followed by a Mini 850 MK1.MiniJames and Dom then decided to get ‘tough’ and built a Riley special. This was a major project with a pre-war car and was quite a different challenge being exposed to the elements. The build of the car encountered a few problems and they were still finishing it off the day before the Monte start at nearby Brooklands. As Dom was working I went with James to scrutineering, the car hadn’t been driven with a passenger and as we drove up the A3 towards Brooklands sparks started coming out of the floor between my legs! The drive shaft was catching on the floor with the weight of a passenger and so the boys had to modify the car that night before departure, of course they had to break off to have a goodbye pint with our mates.

The car was good but the lack of time for preparation was their downfall and they suffered several problems culminating in a wheel falling off. This finished their rally and as they were stuck in a very rural part of France with poor communications they were lucky to be taken in by some friendly locals who put them up for a couple of days – apparently it was like the episode of Ello Ello when two ‘airmen’ appeared in the kitchen. We are still in touch with these kind people to this day.old-scans175 old-scans183 old-scans211 old-scans212 scan082By the end of the 90’s James had a new partnership with Keith Webster and they competed in several Monte Carlo Challenges firstly in a grey Westminster and then in the Wolsey ‘4001BB’ which was fitted up to look like a period Police Car and they competed in full period Police uniforms.This was nearly to get them into trouble, when the local Police in Aix le Bains thought they were real policemen and invited them for a tour of the local police station, including the cells! James and Keith had great success in 4001BB and in 2003 were holding a top ten place until they made the fatal error of ‘overtaking the snowplough’, a little further down the slippery road the car slid into a rather substantial gate post – something they have never been allowed to forget!old-scans179133966_10150111135556800_7521332_o old-scans176
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Booking Sir Sirling Moss in Monte Carlo

DSCN1587 Dom navigated the 2003 Monte for another friend of ours Peter Rowley in his Mark 2 Jag.DSCN1606 DSCN1616 DSCN1627
DSCN1636 DSCN1640132186_10150111135756800_959460_oSo for 2004 the duo swopped to Keiths TR.
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DSCN2816 DSCN2819Several years before this in the Summer of 1999, James had his first go at navigating a full rally – the Summer Classic Marathon to Biarritz for George Melvile in his Alvis. He was rather surprised that he enjoyed the challenge of ‘the maps’ more than driving and it was to be the start of several successful partnerships, he is now lucky enough as part of his job to be asked to navigate on various events and now rarely drives. He is in the very rare position of having class wins as both driver and navigator on the Monte Carlo Challenge.Alvis

Over the years James has navigated on many varied events – Classic Marathon, The Winter Challenge, The Classic Malts, The Emerald Isle, The Meachem, The Flying Scotsman and with Herman on many Winter Trials, all over the Uk and both West and Eastern Europe.DSCN0306 DSCN0308 DSCN0316DSCN5347 DSCN5348 DSCN5356 DSCN5394 DSCN5397 DSCN5418 DSCN5423DSCN3296DSCN2597 DSCN5287DSCN2864 scan081

One of the more demanding events is Le Jog a four day event in December from Lands End to John O’Groats with very little sleep and often very inclement British Weather. Many of these have been navigating for Roy Williams in the Bigley Special, a Riley 12/4. One year they managed to roll the car, were back on the road in under half an hour and still won the class.54150_10150100639416800_7577383_o 57142_10150100639371800_141769_o 78190_10150100639541800_4524060_o 132687_10150100639491800_5716112_oHe has been involved in several rolls and incidents over the years, luckily with only damaged pride and most often with the car being able to carry on with the event. 54017_10150100623736800_6351442_o PorscheThis post is getting rather long now and I’ve realised how many ‘holidays’ (he calls it networking’) James has been on over the years! I hope he has a good, safe and successful week in Norway, do look at his blog to see how they are getting on. Hopefully they will do well, the only downside is the rather lovely trophies he gets to bring home!171066_10150135614026800_999594_o