As usual the greatest gathering of historic race cars and all things vintage just gets better and better.
To get the most out of the Goodwood Revival you need to get there early. I’ve been to most to them, my friend and I have everything planned with almost military precision.
So… up just before 6am and dressed in correct period attire, tweed naturally. A cup of tea and a fry up. Wicker hamper packed with enough food to feed the five thousand and a large quota of beer to wash it all down with. This year we will be travelling to the Revival in my friend’s 1967 Lotus Elan. So with the obligatory jump start (it is a Lotus after all) we are off. The blast across the glorious Sussex Downs, the warm glow of the morning sun and the fact that we have caught up with a very nice Austin Healey 3000 which is also being driven rather briskly to the Revival makes the day feel very special already.
We are parked up at 7.45am and make our way across the road to the circuit. The first thing that greets up is a forty foot long fishing trawler marooned on a pile of shingle with captain Birdseye on board waving at us with a large fish finger! This somewhat surreal scene is quickly forgotten as one of the many American Hotrods (Gassers) is started up. These over powered beasts with such names as “Nasty Habit” and “Horrid Henry” are amazing creations some with 9ltr plus engines. The way these things accelerate or wheelie is quite something. Crossing the track and we are greeted by a line up of Daytona Cobras. Only six were made and they are all here. My favourite in the line up looks never to have been restored, dullish paintwork and small dents and dings on the body work, this is how I like my racing cars, wearing their history of past racing battles.
This year’s spirit of aviation exhibition paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of The Battle of Britain with a collection of British aircraft that flew in the second world war. Spitfires, Hurricanes and the newly restored Bristol Blenheim were on display. Later that morning saw Spitfires, Hurricanes and a Mustang take to to the sky, the sound of the Merlin engines are enough to make anybody feel nostalgic.
A lot of people who go to the Revival are not particularly interested in the racing. The whole feel and vibe of the event really does make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time and a lot of people go for the atmosphere and brilliant sets created by Lord March’s team. If it’s vintage you want this is the best place in the world to be, for the next three days at least. Most wear the correct period clothing, come along in jeans and a t-shirt and you’ll feel very out of place. Most of the stalls sell vintage. Be it clothes, leather suitcases, watches or automobilia, it’s all too easy to get caught up in it all and spend a little too much on that much needed tweed jacket or car part!
The racing as always is brilliant and for me the main reason to go. Goodwood is a fast circuit with tricky corners, double apexes and hidden undulations. Watching the cars drift around Lavant corner and then power down the straight to Woodcote is always a pleasure to watch. The Saloon cars are always popular and this year was no exception. Henry Mann won the race this year in his 7ltr Ford Thunderbolt closely followed by two Lotus Cortinas. The Swiftune Mini snapping at the heels of an Alfa Romeo was great to see. The Mini trying to pass the Alfa on the bends in ever increasing lurid slides but the Alfa just having the edge over it on the straights.
Across the road from the circuit is the vintage funfair, wall of death, a roller disco, yet more vintage stalls and a pre 1966 car park. This in itself is a day out and feels like an entirely different event to what’s happening trackside. Sadly I was was unable to make all three days this year and ideally you need all three days to fully appreciate and have the chance to see everything. Roll on 2016 and fingers crossed I will be getting the chance to do so!