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Start of the Varzi Trophy at the Goodwood Members Meeting 2017
Start of the Varzi Trophy at the Goodwood Members Meeting 2017

Improbably Fast Pre-War Racers Attack Goodwood

The Goodwood Members Meeting 2017 featured an epic weekend of spectacular cars, high-speed track demonstrations and tight historic racing. As always, the pre-war machines — racing in the S.F. Edge Trophy and Varzi Trophy — were extremely popular with the enthusiasts at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in England.

The S.F. Edge Trophy again featured all manner of eccentric Edwardian leviathans wielding aircraft engines, manual fuel pumps and lanterns, racing improbably fast around the famous Goodwood Circuit. Named after Australian born British businessman and race driver Selwyn Francis Edge, the race was spectacular to behold.

Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in the pole-sitting 1921 GN Curtiss, which struggled to get off the line, suffered a mystery misfire and had to make a trip to the pits early in the race. Mathias Sielecki’s 1923 Delage DH V12 and the 1908 GN Thunderbug of Mark Walker were left to have a ding-dong battle out front — which saw more overtakes than a season of Formula One — before Blakeney-Edwards put his foot down and charged back through the field to very nearly snatch victory. In the end, Sielecki pipped Blakeney-Edwards by a mere 0.592 seconds.

A race for French and Italian pre-war Grand Prix and Voiturette machines also joined the roster for the 75th Goodwood Members Meeting. Named in honour of Italian superstar Achille Varzi, who switched from motorcycles to cars in the late 1920s and achieved great success for Alfa Romeo, Auto Union and Bugatti during the 1930s, the Varzi Trophy formed part of the 12-race programme at Goodwood’s springtime spectacular.

Catering for cars that competed up to 1939, the race featured a line-up of comprising beauties from Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Delahaye, Maserati and Talbot-Lago. Members and racegoers at the 75th Members’ Meeting ogled 8C 2300 and 2600 Monzas and P3 Tipo Bs from Alfa Romeo, all the important racing Bugattis, Types 35, 35B, 51 and 59/50B, a Delahaye 135 S and classic Maseratis in the shape of 4CM, 4CS, 6CM, 8CL, 8CM and V8 RI and a T150C from Talbot-Lago.

In spite of a couple of incidents in the first half of the race, Michael Gans’ 1935 Maserati V8 made it a respectable fourth place in the end, albeit finishing a full 20 seconds behind Julian Majzub in his 1927 Bugatti Type 35B in third. The winning Alfa Romeo Tipo B of Christian Glasel had a similar moment to Gans’ first, running off on the grass before returning to the circuit to maintain the lead.

Pre-War Races at Goodwood Members Meeting 2017 – Photo Gallery (photos: Julien Mahiels)

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