Better late than never… Goodwood MM76

We’ve been promising this for months but the looming Goodwood Revival meet next week reminded me that we had never shared our rather unusual experiences of the 76th Members Meeting.

Taking place back in March, the first major event of the year can obviously be a bit chilly, although we were all lured into a false sense of security with the first ’72’ MM which took place in glorious sunshine back in 2014.

On the Friday before the meeting I was invited to a special talk by the Duke of Richmond, this was exclusively for the founder members of the GRRC and was a fascinating afternoon with the Duke telling great stories about how Motorsport was brought back to Goodwood. It was a beautiful sunny day and the circuit looked magnificent under blue skies with the daffodils gently nodding in the breeze.

However this year the forecast was looking decidedly dodgy for the weekend and as we set off on Saturday morning it was grey and foreboding and very cold. Mario was booked into the Chicane Parking, partly to be on display to his always appreciative public but mainly so we have the most convenient locker, for all those extra layers of clothing and of course the picnic!

This year was going to be even more interesting for us as our friend Adam had his Lola-Chevrolet T142 taking part in the F5000 demonstration. But by mid morning when he was out for his first run, it had started to blizzard and we could hardly see him come down the startline straight from our viewpoint on the top of the pitlane.

The snow eased off after the demo and we were wrapped up exceptionally well, although I looked and felt like a Michelin Man. Taking photos was difficult in thick fur mittens and I couldn’t put my arms down to my side but I wasn’t cold. We spent the rest of the day mooching around the paddocks, watching racing and then in the evening we stayed on for some of the party which had some great entertainment and parades. By the time we came to go home though, poor Mario had a little coating of snow and it was falling lightly all the way back to Haslemere.

The following morning the alarm went at 6am, we were supposed to be at the circuit by 7.30 as Mario had a place in the Members Parade. However I pulled back the curtains to a white landscape. There was no way we were going to be able to move poor Mario and the roads were more or less blocked.

So Mario stayed safely at home. After a couple of hours talking to friends and following FaceBook we managed to get a friend who had James’ ‘truck’ to come and rescue us. Once over the first couple of hills, the snow became much lighter and we were able to get to the circuit just in time for Adam’s demo. the F5000 cars are very powerful and most opted not to go out but Adam was brave or foolish depending how you looked at it and he took to the track with about four4 others and put in a few careful laps for the crowd. The rest of the day went ahead with some good racing, especially the Edwardian Race which was exciting. 

So, considering the conditions we still managed to have a good day and got home without too much trouble although we couldn’t get Mario back to his garage for about three days.

Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us next week, when Mario will be back at Goodwood for his favourite weekend of the year, working as a taxi at the Revival… see you there.

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Summer continues… on the Thames, at Silverstone and Goodwood

This summer has been good, the sun has shone and there have been plenty of things to go to…

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to go to Henley to the Thames Traditional Boat Rally. This event is a huge display of traditionally built craft with the very finest examples of  boatbuilding skills on display. There are around 200 craft on the water from slipper stern launches like the one we were on, gentlemen’s day launches, steam launches, river steamers, sailing craft, vintage speedboats, skiffs, rowing boats, punts, unpowered and electric canoes, right through to vintage sea-going cruisers and many of the famous Dunkirk Little Ships.

The boats take it in turn to parade in classes along the rowing course. There are also pre-50’s cars on display and vintage bicycles. We had a lovely lunch on the boat and then went for a trip down through Henley and then up to Temple Island. It was a stunning day, hot and sunny with loads of beautiful boats with lots of gleaming teak and brass.

DSC01750 DSC01761 DSC01771 DSC01789 DSC01798 DSC01807 DSC01843 DSC01862 DSC01869 DSC01931 DSC01951 DSC01964 The following weekend we went to the Classic Festival at SIlverstone, again without Mario. This annual event is huge but personally I find it a bit low on atmosphere, Silverstone is so spread out and you have to get a bus between the national and international pits. For my personal choice the displays have far too many modern cars and although the actual racing is always good and very competitive it is difficult on a modern GP circuit to get a good vantage point. The cars racing included historic formula one and Group C endurance However we had gone to see a friend race his Lola in the Peter Gethin Trophy for F2 vs F5000, which meant that for one race as ‘Team members’ we could watch from the International Pit Wall. This gave us a great view and as you are so close to the cars as they come down the straight you get a real impression of the speed they are doing.DSC02001 DSC02016 DSC02018 DSC02046 DSC02060 DSC02089 This weekend Mario finally got an outing! It was Thoughbred Sunday at Goodwood Breakfast Club for pre 66 vehicles to get into the spirit of the Revival. We had a pass and so after a horribly early start on a Sunday got in easily and were parked in one of the paddocks. There were a lot of cars there and again it was a lovely sunny morning.

As soon as we stepped out of the car the normal crowd assembled around Mario, loads of people took cards so hopefully even more people will be reading this and liking him on Facebook

I felt rather guilty as I was rather busy on Saturday so Mario didn’t get the promised pre-event pamper. He looked rather grubby to me but his fans didn’t seem to notice! There are a few jobs and some tidying up we need to do before the Revival in September. We are getting excited about it already and there is a surprise afoot so watch this space…

After some sustenance (a bacon buttie) we had a good wander around, a good collection of cars including lots of Aston Martins celebrating their centenary. The theme did seem rather confusing though with quite a smattering of modern sports cars but what the hell everyone was having a good time and as always there were lots of friends to catch up with.
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A day at McLaren F1…

Last saturday Mario (along with his friend Kato the Subaru 360) was invited to take part in the McLaren Employees Motorshow. The day at the spectacular McLaren Technology Centre near Woking was held during the F1 season summer break and was an excuse for staff to show off their interesting cars and specially invited others, to their family and friends and raise some money for Help for Heroes.

There was quite an interesting collection of cars including hotrods and americana, race machinery, including one guys collection of Lola’s, bikes and classics plus some modern sports cars, a smattering of McLarens road cars and even a couple of powerboats. The Bloodhound Land Speed Record team were also their with their mock up of the vehicle due to attempt the 1000mph on land challenge. Mario’s humans were especially keen on a couple of lovely Opals, the Manta would be a lovely everyday practical classic.

We were allowed in the Technology Centre to see the collection of McLaren race cars and the very impressive display of trophies although you wouldn’t want a lot of them on your mantlepiece, for something that is given as a prize for winning a significant world event some of them are very tacky looking and the use of sponsors logo’s as awards should definitely be banned – the Santander ‘flame’ trophies look especially poor!

We thought that we should keep quiet about Mario’s ‘relationship’ with Adrian Newey – ex McLaren designer and now at arch enemy Red Bull, funnily enough there didn’t seem to be any sign of the energy drink as refreshments! drain who we often see at the Goodwood Revival has always expressed his appreciation of the Multipla’s innovative design for it’s time.

Unfortunately there was no photography allowed inside the centre. You could see some of the workshop areas behind glass walls and they were completely pristine as was the whole of the building, McLaren are renowned for their precision and attention to detail which was certainly apparent wherever you looked down to the pens in the meeting room all being placed at exactly the same angle at every place. The actual building is very beautiful being long and low, constructed of glass and situated on the edge of an infinity lake, the surroundings are very natural with lots of wild planting.

Mario and Kato as always attracted a lot of attention. However it was the hottest day of the year and was rather a long and tiering day as we had to be there by 8.30 am and couldn’t leave until after 5pm. Mario went rather well and seemed to enjoy his ‘blast’ up and down the A3 having to be reined in at times from going too fast, he even overtook at one point but it was a Austin 7!