Goodwood Revival back on the taxi rank…

Finally a month late here is the story of Mario’s weekend at the Goodwood Revival…

Getting ready was all a bit of a panic as we had been really busy, this years new outfit was only finished on the morning of departure but by early afternoon a beautifully clean and shiny Mario was packed up and ready to leave. After all the repairs and work that has been done since last years Revival he was raring to go and we had a lovely sunny trip to Goodwood. We got there in time to see a bit of the drivers cricket match and watch the traditional Spitfire flypast before our sign on and briefing.


DSC04427 DSC04439 DSC04446 DSC04454 DSC04459 DSC04461 Readers will know that last year we had a few issues with the GRTC (Goodwood Racing Transport Corps) with the cars being overworked but this year a new shift system was introduced, which greatly improved our enjoyment of the weekend. The cars still did in excess of 200km each over the weekend but in a shorter period of time, so we had more off time and were able to see the event and socialise, it worked really well and we had one of the best Revivals in years.

Our first shift didn’t start until Friday lunchtime and it seemed very strange not rushing around to start at 7.30am, in fact we all felt rather lost to start with. Our relaxing morning was interrupted though by the sad news that Kato the Subaru 360 had a terminal breakdown right at the beginning of the weekend, when the gear linkage sheered from the engine. This was totally unexpected and very disappointing for Craig. He ended up having the car recovered home and then he helped run the taxi rank for the weekend but it didn’t seem right missing one of the gang. Mario and Regie the 4cv Renault were parked up for the rest of the morning and we set off to explore. Imagine our excitement when one of the first things we came across, was a General Motors Futurliner bus, having found these fabulous vehicles researching an earlier blog it was amazing to see one in the ‘flesh’.DSC04464 DSC04465 DSC04472DSC04521 There were also some other Fiats around… A lovely 500 in the Shell display, where we also bumped into John Surtess. There was also a cute 500 van running around as a service vehicle.DSC04481 DSC04483DSC04573 At lunchtime we reported to the taxi rank for our first shift. The new system works much better with a dedicated taxi rank with a turning circle and is well organised although it’s still a bit of a shame that the public don’t get a chance to interact with the cars much anymore. We got straight into it with lots of passengers wanting to go to the Kennels and Hotel for lunch. We were kept very busy all afternoon and into the evening not finishing until after 8.30 as there was a dusk race. Mario was very excited to pick up his ‘old mate’ Le Mans superstar Tom Kristensen. We’ve given Tom a lift before and he really is the nicest gentleman, we had great fun with Tom taking ‘selfies’ in the car and then posing with us back at the hotel.DSC04528DSC04503 DSC04511 Saturday morning dawned early with the morning shift, we were mainly doing pick ups at the hotel and Mario was very honoured to take Sir Stirling Moss and wife Suzie to the circuit. I think he enjoyed his ride even though Mario isn’t the easiest car to get in and out of. It was lovely to see Sir Stirling back on good form after the nasty accident he suffered at home a few years ago.DSC04516 DSC04518
DSC04523 DSC04530 People often ask me ‘why to you drive the taxi’s rather than just enjoy the racing’ well driving through the estate on beautiful sunny day with spitfires flying over head is the answer! Mario loves being useful and the whole event just brings a smile to our faces. Ok we don’t get to see all the racing but you can catch up with that on the TV later.DSC04535 DSC04540 DSC04541 DSC04553 DSC04554 The last two years I have had ‘Mario’ fabric printed and made 50 style dresses. This year we decided to go a bit more ‘up to date’ and designed some ‘Mario’ 1960’s style fabric and made a coat – you can’t really see in the picture but I ensure you there are little Mario’s travelling in the swirls of the fabric.DSC04557 These are our friends Walter and Jolie and their gorgeous children who are travelling round the event in style – in James’ old pram, his Dad brought it in 1964 and it was used for the whole family.DSC04572
DSC04577 DSC04582We popped over to the Bonham’s auction as there was a Multipla up for sale, unfortunately we didn’t see it, as it was a ‘drive thru’ auction and we missed it’s lot number. According to the catalogue it was fitted with a Fiat Panda engine and wasn’t in immaculate condition but it still made £22,137 including commission. (look out for a future blog post on values soon)
image This year celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Birds Eye Fish finger and Captain Birdseye was present with his trawler and lots of fish fingers. They ended up in an awful lot of our photographs!DSC04585 DSC04587 DSC04608 One of the big draws of this years Revival was the coming together of all six of the original Shelby Daytona Cobras, the first time they have all been in the same place, in a recreation of the Sebring pits. Their designer Peter Brock was also in attendance.DSC04631 DSC04632Our good friends from Derbyshire, who for many years have attended the Revival dressed as James Bond and Villains, this year turned up very cleverly attired as ‘Cluedo’ – Reverend Green, Professor Plum, Doctor Black and Colonel Mustard. It was great to have the time to be able to socialise.
DSC04669 On Saturday evening we had a lovely wander around as the sun went down, we looked round the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation which in 2015 was celebrating the Battle of Britain and there were Spitfires and Hurricanes as far as you could see. The roof of the new Aero Club gave a fantastic view over the proceedings as a couple of planes took off to do the party flypast. All the planes stayed until the Tuesday when they took part in the main BoB celebrationsDSC04674 DSC04689 DSC04695DSC04755 This year the entrance to the Drivers Club had been turned into an archaeological dig with dinosaur skeletons being unearthed.DSC04710For the first time the track opening was completed by ‘Gassers’ – stock vehicles turned hot rodders who burn petrol. 20 of these american beasts were on parade and parked around this garage.DSC04735 For a few months now James and I have been involved with a new product called GaugePilot an in-vehicle information system that looks just like a period ‘Speed Pilot’ with functions for rallying, racing or just classics. It was launched at this years Revival and James had a demo model fitted in the 4cv. Rally legend Rauno Aaltonen was very interested when Regie gave him a ride. James also demonstrated the system to some of his driver mates on the GaugePilot stand.IMG_6681DSC04737This year we actually managed to see some cars! On and off the track. We were especially interested in the St Mary’s where our friend Desmond Smail was driving a Mini. Unfortunately on the Saturday – the celebrity part of the two car race – the rotor arm failed on driver Emanuele Pirro which blew their chances.
DSC04654DSC04759 DSC04770DSC04834DSC04855 The 60’s was celebrated across the Revival with the anniversary of the Mini Skirt, James didn’t enjoy it at all! The new ‘Mario’ outfit fitted in really well. We tried on some wonderful Repro 60’s sunglasses, think I will have some made with my prescription for next year.DSC04788 DSC04811 DSC04814IMG_6688So all in all we had a fantastic weekend, Mario worked very hard but still managed to meet and great some of his fans and most importantly came home in one piece. The whole weekend went so quickly – bring on Revival 2016.


Respect the few…

After a very busy weekend at the Goodwood Revival with Mario (full blog to follow shortly), we went back to Goodwood today for the Battle of Britain Flypast.

42dabe_cf5bbda3e428476ca5cab297ea3aaea8.png_srz_p_178_160_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srz“SO MUCH OWED BY SO MANY TO SO FEW”DSC05079

Today is the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Battle of Britain and to honour the ‘few’ around 40 Spitfires and Hurricanes took off from Goodwood for a special flight – the most Battle of Britain aircraft to fly together since WW2. From Goodwood the planes dispersed around the South of England so as many people as possible saw a Spitfire in the sky on the anniversary.

The atmosphere at the circuit was electric with a round of applause as each flight took off. One plane had to abort his take off but obviously managed to solve the problem and took off solo at the end to the biggest round of applause of the lot – just image owning a Spitfire and failing to take part in the biggest event ever since the war!

Also taking part was the only flying Blenheim bomber.

The Battle of Britain – the first decisive battle in history to take place entirely in the air – took place between May and September 1940 with Germany trying to destroy the UK’s air defences. The great sacrifices of the ‘few’ brave men of the RAF gave Britain an advantage and changed the course of the war. The climax of the Battle of Britain was on the 15th of September when 1500 aircraft took part in a battle that lasted until dusk. Watching Spitfire after Spitfire take off from what was RAF Westhampnett was an amazing experience and gave just a little feel of what it must have been like to see wave after wave of planes take off for the battle that changed the war.

A few of the Spitfires are two seaters and one of the original pilots was a passenger today, the other seat was intended for Prince Harry but he gave up his ride for an Afghanistan war veteran.

Tens of thousands of people were gathered at the airfield today to watch this historical event and to show respect and say thank you to those who gave so much to save so many.DSC05090 DSC05064 DSC05061 DSC05059 DSC05053 DSC05051 DSC05050 DSC05046 DSC05043 DSC05037 DSC05036 DSC05033 DSC05026 DSC05025 DSC05016 DSC04998 DSC04996 DSC04993 DSC04992 DSC04986 DSC04983 DSC04982 DSC04973 DSC04970

Chocks away…

Last week we were lucky enough to have a tour of the engineering hanger at the Goodwood Airfield. This trip was organised through Goodwood’s ‘416 Forum’. We met in the evening at the Aero Club where we were welcomed by Rob Wildboer the Goodwood aviation general manager –  a man who lives and breathes aircraft.

Rob’s introduction told us a lot about the fascinating history and general running of the Goodwood aerodrome. Freddie March, Grandfather of the present Lord March, had a great interesting planes and begun to  design and build aeroplanes at Goodwood before the War from his ‘Flying Field’ adjacent to Goodwood House.

The actual aerodrome started during WW2 as RAF Westhampnett as a satellite to nearby RAF Tangmere. It was used during the Battle of Britain when two fighter squadrons were based there. Flying aces such as Douglas Bader and Tony Gaze favoured Goodwood to fly from. The Motor Circuit was created from the perimeter road in 1948 and since then the airfield has developed to provide first class engineering, flying training and aerodrome operations. Rob joined Goodwood as an apprentice in 1986 and his worked his way up to run the whole operation, as such he is a mine of information and has endless interesting and amusing stories about flying at Goodwood.Unknown3 men at od plane lrg462x337

We then went to the engineering hanger where Goodwood has a thriving business maintaining a large number of private planes. There were a number currently in the hanger and Rob gave us an insight on the sort of work that is done. My favourite was a tow plane from Lasham Gliding School, very basic, I think Rob called it a ‘flying tractor’ it had real character and looked like it had come straight from a ‘Pixar movie’.DSC05649 DSC05650 DSC05654 DSC05664 DSC05665 DSC05669Listening to Rob’s stories reminded me of one of the early Revivals when Mario was asked to work on the airfield. We had to collect passengers and take them to their planes. This wasn’t as simple as it sounds as we had to have CAA clearance to cross the runways and had to be escorted by an airfield Land Rover in constant contact with the control tower. The aerodrome is always very busy over the event weekends and there are quite a number of small aircraft parked up but I was pretty amazed that people couldn’t remember where they had left their plane and Mario spent quite a lot of time running up and down the rows waiting for the passengers to ‘spot’ their aircraft, just like Sainsbury’s carpark!DSCN2553

Around the same time some of the GRTC Taxi team were lucky enough to be able to watch the Saturday evening air display from the roof of one of the airfield buildings, this was spectacular watching the Spitfires and Mustangs flying in the sunset. This display is the start of the Revival Ball and the aircraft come into land and taxi over to the hanger where the party guests, weather permitting, are outside at the reception. The pilots are dressed in black tie and silk scarfs and look brilliant as the descend from the cockpit to be greeted by a lady in evening dress offering champagne! At one years party (when we were working) one of the pilots had forgotten their cufflinks and so had to fashion a pair with some spare nuts and bolts from a Spitfire, I’m sure it was a missed business opportunity.DSCN5165DSC03206 DSCN2568 DSCN8810 DSCN8824DSCN4232The air displays are always a big feature of the Revival and as Mario takes members of the press out around the circuit we often get a really good view of whats going on, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is always impressive but a couple of years ago the incredible sight of 10 Spitfires flying in formation was spine tingling.DSC03514 DSC03809 DSC03811DSCN8791 DSCN8793 DSCN8802 DSCN8809DSCN3915DSCN3921


Planes at the Revival aren’t just restricted to the air… at one Revival a plane took part in the   track parade and taxied a lap.DSCN3385DSCN3386

At the 2013 Revival on what was ‘Battle of Britain Sunday’, Goodwood honoured the ‘Dambusters’ on their 70th anniversary. Earlier in the day Mario had been called to carry a very special passenger Squadron Leader George ‘Johnny’ Johnson, at 91 the last surviving member of the Dambusters raid but although we met him, we were unable to drive to the infield and so alternative arrangements had to be made, a shame as it would have been a great honour for Mario to give him a ride, still, Rod one of the long standing GRTC drivers got the honour of driving him onto the grid for the tribute.523c55257cecd-Johnnie-Johnson-in-the-Dambusters-Tribute.

While Mario finds all the aviation at Goodwood exciting he intends to keep his four wheels firmly on the ground!


Time off at the Goodwood Revival…

Although we have to work hard we do get to have some time off and see some of what’s going on at the Goodwood Revival. Here’s a snap shot of what we got to see…

We took Mario along to see our old friends at Kenwood, they generously supported the Haslemere Classic Car Show earlier in the year and had a great set up at the Revival with a period style sitting room and Kitchen. They also had a photographer on hand who took these great images, you can tell Jane was missing her Kenwood Chef from home!1238755_522772184470841_714174175_n575268_522771934470866_1522749277_nWe then had a wander through the paddock, the only real chance we got to see the fabulous racing machinery on display.
DSC02784 DSC02786 DSC02788 DSC02789 DSC02790 DSC02791 This year Goodwood were celebrating 50 years of the Ford GT40 with a series of demonstrations, The Whitsun Trophy dedicated race and a special GT40 pit area.DSC02795 DSC02796 DSC02797DSC02799 DSC02800Following on from the re-inactment of the Great Train Robbery which James took part in at press day earlier in the year, they had an actual Royal Mail train carriage on site with actors creating set pieces throughout the weekend.DSC02803 DSC02805 This year the air displays were a little muted due to the weather conditions, however the English Electric Canberra PR9, the RAF’s first jet bomber introduced in May 1951 made an impressive sight and sound.DSC02816 Friday evening was supposed to see the 90 minute Freddie March Memorial Trophy race into the setting sun, unfortunately the weather had other ideas and the rain started lashing down. The race was eventually stopped early after several incidents and safety car periods. Cars such as Jaguar C-types, Aston Martin DB3’s and Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica’s still made an impressive sight in the dark, headlamps reflecting in the standing water.DSC02833 DSC02836 DSC02837 DSC02841 DSC02843 DSC02846 Saturday morning started in beautiful sunshine, we had to pick up Jochen Mass’ party outfit from the Revival Village and deliver it to the hotel so we stopped off at Tesco’s on route for a couple of period style pics.DSC02867 DSC02870After the taxi’s stopped on Saturday evening we took advantage of the lovely evening to have another look round the infield area. I love the revival like this when the public have gone home and everything is peaceful, the silence just broken by the Spitfire swooping in for the party display, the setting sun glinting off the bodywork.DSC02922 DSC02926 DSC02927 DSC02928 DSC02929 DSC02930 DSC02938 This year the ViP’s and drivers entering the drivers club were greeted with Everest base camp. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquering the summit of Everest. I’m not sure what the team used to create the snow but weirdly it felt cold standing there.

DSC02946 DSC02948 DSC02961 DSC02963 Sunday was too busy and then too wet to see much but managed to catch the Junkers Ju 52/3m. This WW2 transport plane seems so slow in the air that it really shouldn’t stay up there.DSC02976 We finished the weekend late on Sunday with our only visit to ‘Over the Road’, we managed to catch the final performances of ‘Black Elvis’ and Mr B – the gentleman rhymer. A great but rather drunken atmosphere in the marquee, if rather surreal with Land girls, sailors, 50’s girls and gentlemen in damp tweed all dancing the conga, all in all the perfect end to a weekend back in time.DSC03049 DSC03070

Not all the action was on the ground…

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While there is so much going on at the Revival, one mustn’t forget to look to the sky for some great action. Here are a few pics of an assortment of arial moments – the Spitfire flying over Thursday’s cricket match, the sun setting behind the parked up Spitfire on Thursday evening, Sally B from the Spirit of Aviation display, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on Saturday and the amazing sight of 10 Spitfires flying together on Sunday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Spitfire.