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

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Festival Fun… part 2

Continuing our musings and observations from this weekends Goodwood Festival of Speed…

Festival Ball Fireworks
On Saturday evening we popped down to Goodwood for a drink and to watch the Festival ball entertainment from a distance. The entertainment seemed to be a laser show with light lit dancers ‘fighting’ laser battles, this was followed by an awesome fireworks display which lit up the sky. We could just hear the sound of the Beach Boys playing in the distance but the wind was blowing the wrong way so it was very quiet.
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Cartier Style et Luxe
One of my favourite bits of FoS every year is the Cartier Style et Luxe, Concours d’elegance. Judged on design and style by a panel of guru’s from many disciplines, the event always brings together a collection of unique and fascinating vehicles. There were 7 classes ranging from Junior Sportscar of the 1920’s, Pre-war Supercharged Mercedes, Coach Built Maseratis of the 50’s to the Development of the Modern Super Car.

This amazing 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet was captured by the Russians during the war and driven back to Moscow where it was seen driving around for many years.
DSC02869 The 1971 Mazda RX500, seen in the UK for the first time was developed as a mobile test bed for high speed safety. Powered by a 491cc single rotor Wankel engine it had a top speed of 125 mph – is this the faster ever ‘micro’ car? The rear lights were intended to turn green under acceleration, orange when cruising at a constant speed and red when braking.DSC02930 DSC02935 I loved this 1964 ATS 3000 GTS. Automobili Turismo e Sport was founded by Ferrari defectors Giotto Bizzarrini and Carlo Chiti with the aim of beating Enzo Ferrari at his own game. The company folded in 1964 and only a handful of cars were made. I don’t know where the Dragon on the bonnet badge comes from?DSC03320DSC02942The 2004 Peugeot 907 concept car had an incredible leather interior which smelt devine!DSC02876 The 1971 De Tomaso Mangusta has a wonderful name which I had know idea about. Mangusta is italian for Mongoose, an animal capable of killing Cobras – a subtile swipe at the famous AC/Shelby Cobra of the time.DSC03317A 1969 McLaren M12 GTDSC02873The Best in Show was won by a rather unassuming Maserati A6 CGS Berlinetta, which I didn’t even take a picture of!

Displays
McLaren were very much in evidence this year not only with the F1 team but the Road cars had a big presence and for the first time, unveiled a new model at the Festival – this McLaren GT, their latest competition race car.
DSC03178The McLaren 650S was making its Festival of Speed debut having been revealed at the Geneva Motor show in March. There was a great display of F1 and road McLarens lining the walkway  to the Drivers Club.DSC02830 Maserati celebrating their 100th anniversary, were another company making a splash with the UK public debut of the Alfieri Concept, named after one of the Maserati brothers who founded the company. The Alfieri received the Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes at the upmarket Villa d’Este concours in northern Italy. The style of the moment seems to be for highlights of bright colours, this does look pretty good.DSC02921 DSC02920 Maserati had some great older cars in their display, the first generation Ghibli model from the 60’s, an original super car which now looks very small and simple compared with the modern versions. I never used to like this sort of car but I’m beginning to find them rather attractive.DSC02919 This 60’s first generation Quattroporte was probably one of the rarest cars at the event and one receiving the least attention.DSC02915 DSC02912Paddocks
The paddocks are of course the place to see the cars close up but it is quite difficult to get pictures of them, barriers and people in the way plus they are often half in shadow, half in sunshine. This 1911 Fiat S76 was absolutely huge, built to capture the Land Speed record it achieved over 180mph in 1912 and hasn’t been used since 1914 until this weekend! Another fantastic huge beast was the Renault 40cv Montlhery Coupe built in 1926 which averaged 107.5mph over 24 hours at Montlhery. The 1935 Monte Carlo winning Renault Nervasport was beautiful and very very shiny. On the Monte the car had faced extremely harsh winter conditions, with icy roads and temperatures down to -20°C. It followed up with a win on the 1935 Liège-Rome-Liège race (4500 km in a single leg) and took second place in the Morocco Rally, behind Bugatti.

DSC03493DSC03438 DSC03427DSC02794 In my opinion the Martini branding is one of the most attractive ever seen in motorsport, seen here on the Jaguar XJ220GT once the fasted car in the world. It’s great to see the livery back this year on the Williams F1.DSC02883 The Audi Type C Alpine was glorious, particularly the lovely oil/fuel can on the running boards. Audi won the Austrian Alpine Rally three times in this model 1912-1914.DSC02826 DSC02823 DSC02819For many years it has been traditional for cars to come straight from the Le Mans 24hr to Goodwood complete with dirt and damage. This year was no exception with several teams making an appearance including the winning Audi. Looking at how cramped the cockpit is I wouldn’t want to spend 10 minutes let alone a share of 24 hours inside.DSC02694DSC02696DSC03518The Mercedes-Benz transporter is pretty awesome and love the fact that it was built to go fast; 105mph and sign written on the side in order to intimidate their competitors!DSC02767Rally Stage
The forest rally stage cut into the chalk and woodland at the top of the hill is a great if dusty attraction. The rally paddock at the top is much quieter and more relaxed, much more like the earlier festivals. This year for the first time the rally stage was timed making it more competitive – possibly the reason it was red flagged so often! Nine times World Champion Sebastien Loeb was very quick in the Citroen DS3 WRC but I don’t know the final results. Also seen on the course the iconic Subaru Impreza WRC from 1997, a 1972 Lotus Esprit with ski’s on the roof, right up to modern cars.
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In the air
The skies above Goodwood are also full of action with regular air displays including a Hunter & Canberra, Typhoon and the Red Arrows in their 50th anniversary year livery with Union Flag painted tails.
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People
Of course it is the stars old and current that the people come to see, as the event has become bigger it is harder to meet your hero’s, rather than just mooching around the paddocks they are ensconced in the privacy of the drivers club and make timed appearances on sponsors stands. In the old days I always came away from the festival clutching a full autograph book and with ‘selfies’ in the camera, these days I can’t be bothered to try and run from stand to stand to try and catch a glimpse of a driver or push and shove in a scrum near the F1 paddocks to get my book signed. I was in the right place and the right place to see a few and at least amongst them a couple of my personal favourites Jochen and Emanuele …
Jochen Mass – F1 and SportscarsDSC03442Ex Red Bull F1 and now Porsche Sportscar driver Mark WebberDSC03356 1970’s Ferrari, Williams and March F1 driver Arturo Merzario, he was one of the drivers who saved Niki Lauda from his burning car in the 1976 German Grand Prix.

DSC03315Emanuele Pirro, F1, Touring car and Sportscar driver, winning Le Mans 5 times.DSC03192Current Red Bull F1 test driver Sébastien Buemi takes a new Infiniti up the hill during the Moving MotorshowDSC03084

 Shoot out
The weekend ended with the timed shoot out, the aim to try to beat Nick Heidfeld’s fifteen year hill record of 41.6 seconds in a McLaren MP4-13 Formula One car. Since then the F1 cars haven’t been timed as they were thought to be too dangerous, the current cars cannot be run as it is deemed by the FIA to be ‘testing’.

The main contender was Sebastien Loeb in the Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak car. Unfortunately as the hill was running very late and Loeb had to leave he ran first. He made a good time but it was still three seconds off the record. No one else could come close and this made a bit of an anti-climax to the day.

Sebastien LOEB Peugeot 208 T16 ‘Pikes Peak’ 44.60
Michael BARTELS Maserati MC12 ‘Goodwood Cent 100’ 45.82
Kenny BRACK McLaren F1 GTR ‘Long Tail’ 47.52

We’d had a great weekend and decided for once not to stay for the prize giving as the afternoon was still running late. It had been another good year, we have never really watched the actual hill climb preferring to just wander around, chat to friends and generally soak up the atmosphere. My father had a brilliant day on Thursday and is still talking about it. It is through him that I got into cars and motorsport at a very early age spending much of my childhood standing in forests watching rally cars tear past or at Thruxton enjoying the destruction of Caravan racing. I suppose it wasn’t surprising that I ended up with a partner who has been car obsessed since he could talk. At least having a shared passion means we get to have great weekends together at events such as FoS, now we start looking forward to the best weekend of the year and one that Mario can join in… The Revival.

Looking forward to Goodwood 2013…

Good News, Mario has been invited back to the period transport team at the Goodwood Revival in September, contracts are signed and returned and we can plan and look forward to our favourite weekend of the year.

In the meantime the ‘humans’ had the opportunity  to attend the press events at Goodwood last week to launch the Festival of Speed and the Revival for 2013. On the Tuesday evening we helped to recreate a scene from the Great Train Robbery for the Press Dinner at the House. It’s been 50 years since the hijack of the train and the haul of £2.6m (over £40m today) and Goodwood told the ‘story’ that get-away driver Roy John James – “the Weasel” who was a racing driver before and after the event, had been driving at the circuit the week before the robbery and hence the use of Goodwood House as a hideout.

The lucky guests who had earlier been passengers in rally cars on the hillclimb course and rally stage were drinking champagne when the robbers arrived with bags of swag to store in their hideout in the Egyptian Dinning Room, before the police tore up to the house in period police cars rushing in to arrest the ‘baddies’. James had great fun as a member of the constabulary.

You can see a film of the activity  

DSC07145 DSC07213 DSC07266The following day was the actual press day, once again Goodwood were lucky with the weather and the assembled cars and sideshows  formed a spectacular site in front of the house. The day takes the format of a ‘mini’ Festival of Speed, although there are currently more cars at Press Day then there were at the first four festivals!

Lord March opened the preceedings with a run down of what’s happening later in the year, then the journalists get the chance to ride in the cars on the Hill Climb course. A wonderful collection of catering H-Vans provided the refreshments and there was entertainment from the Goodwood actors and period singers.

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DSC07322 The press room still decked out as the robbers hideaway and ankle deep in ‘Goodwood notes’DSC07421The Chariot racing will be back at the Festival
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This year is the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Speed and lots of favourites from the last twenty years will be assembled. The central feature will celebrate 50 years of the Porsche 911. Other celebrations include 90 years of Le Mans, 60 years of World Sportscars and 50 years of McLaren and the Mini Cooper S.

A good selection of Celebrity drivers were in attendance – one of Mario’s favourite passengers Jochen Mass, Dougie Lampkin, Sammy Miller, Derek Bell, Emanuele Perro, Barrie Williams, Andy Wallace, Chris Evans and Nick Mason to name a few.

DSC07686 DSC07654 DSC07592Looking forward to the Revival the things to look forward to include, racing into the evening on the Friday (means a long busy day for Mario!), a GT40 exclusive race, the J40 pedal cars will be back and one of the parades will include a peleton of Tour de France Bikes with period support vehicles.DSC07617 DSC07607 DSC07471 DSC07372DSC07596 A beautiful BugattiDSC07547 The fabulous Napier RailtonDSC07447 DSC07427

All in all a great day and lots to look forward to for the rest of the year – lets just hope it gets a little warmer!