A struck match is held to a tobacco pipe, a breath of warm September air dances across the fabric of a vintage tea dress, an array of tweed caps form an almost camouflage fatigue in the grandstand, Champagne bubbles rise to the top of glasses and pop effortlessly into the air, thick with the scent of revving engines and perfume.
Goodwood Revival is like no other, unparalleled in its sense of period correct grace and effortless style. A celebration of the storied history of the circuit, which operated in period from 1948 to 1966, and is inextricably linked with some of the most notable motor racing successes and stories to ever come from the UK.
One of the most striking features of this event is the meticulous attention that ensures a sense of historical authenticity to every element of the meeting.
In the grounds of Goodwood House, the circuit with its notably fast sweeping corners and gentle undulations, maintains a period appearance that provides an impeccably atmospheric backdrop for a weekend of historic racing.
After Goodwood combined their events into the remarkable Goodwood Speedweek in 2020, due to the constraints of the pandemic, this year the three landmark motorsport events, Festival of Speed, Revival and the Members Meeting once again stand as three of the most notable events in the UK motor racing calendar.
With an approach based on celebrating the glorious years of motorsport that Goodwood proudly hosted in period, the grids are mainly comprised of cars that would have raced here in period, with exceptions only made for Grand Prix and Voiturette cars that raced in the period from 1931 to 1950, and post-vintage thoroughbred sports cars.
As one of the most prestigious historic racing celebrations in the world, the Goodwood Revival not only attracts an incredible pedigree of cars and bikes to its grids, but the list of drivers that wish to soak up the phenomenal atmosphere and compete in historic machinery, makes for incredible reading. Grand Prix world champions, Le Mans 24h winners, and great names from all walks of motorsport swarm to the Revival year on year for its unparalleled ambiance, and incredibly competitive racing.
A Tribute to the Legendary Stirling Moss
This, the first Revival since the passing of motor racing legend Stirling Moss, saw an incredibly emotional tribute to the great man. Fondly known as “Mr Goodwood”, Moss enjoyed his first ever racing victory at this circuit, and went on to star in numerous capacities at Goodwood, both during his racing career, and latterly as part of his long career racing historic cars, with a notable presence at countless Festival of Speed and Revival meetings at Goodwood.
In honour of the virtuoso, the opening race, known formerly as the Kinrara Trophy, was now to be called the Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy.
There was also a special tribute, with a touching speech from the Duke of Richmond, and a parade of some of Moss’ most famous and notable cars, including the incredible Mercedes 300SLR, which won the 1955 Mille Miglia. Considered perhaps his most celebrated victory, Moss completed the 993 mile route at a record breaking average speed of 98 miles per hour, reaching speeds of up to 170mph at the wheel of the 3 litre V8 Mercedes.
This would be the last outing for this particular car, before it is relocated to the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart, to be proudly displayed as one of the most memorable cars in motorsport history.
Action-packed Weekend of Historic Racing
As is traditional at the Goodwood Revival, after a frantic day of testing on Friday, the racing begins with an hour long race in the fading light of the day. The first of 16 races over the Revival weekend, the highly competitive racing under the glow of an English setting sun always proves to set the tone for a remarkable weekend of racing.
Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy
An unforgettable array of pre-63 GT Cars were assembled for the inaugural Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy. Qualifying saw the Jaguar E Type of Martin and Alex Brundle narrowly edge out the E Type of Cottingham & Stanley. Fittingly, given that 2021 celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Jaguar E Type, they were the toast of the field, with the Cottingham/Stanley car stretching an initial lead over the battle for second between Brundle/Brundle and Keen/Minshaw.
However, during the driver change, a slow stop cost Cottingham/Stanley the lead, as they were usurped by the charging Brundle/Brundle car. Disaster was to strike later on, as a high speed off for Alex Brundle, saw him out of the race, with the race win being hotly contested by the other two pace setting E Types.
In an enthralling last few laps after a safety car, the Cottingham/Stanley car took the chequered flag, seconds in front of the Minshaw/Keen E Type, with a late charge from the David Franklin/Remo Lips Ferrari 250 GT SWB securing them the third step on the podium.
Festival of Britain Trophy
Forming one of the most evocative grids of the weekend, the Festival of Britain trophy saw a host of Talbot Lagos, ERA’s and Maserati’s duke it out over the 25 minutes. Mark Gillies at the wheel of the ERA A-Type R3A set a blistering pace in practice to claim pole.
Into the first corner of the race, David Morris snatched the lead from Gillies temporarily, before the hot pace of Gillies saw him reclaim the lead. Morris enjoyed an enthralling battle with the ERA of Michael Gans, before a trip onto the grass saw a spinning Morris stall. Unable to restart the car, Morris was out of the race, leaving Gillies and Gans to pit their ERA’s against each other for the remainder of the race.
A nail-biting last lap saw the lead switch hands twice, but it was Gillies that claimed the race win, a mere 0.57s ahead of Michael Gans, with a third ERA of Duncan Ricketts making a 1, 2, 3 for English Racing Automobiles in this compelling race.
Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy
Enjoying two races over the course of the Revival weekend, the races for pre-66 motorcycles saw a host of famous names contesting for the victories.
Michael Dunlop winner of 19 TT titles proved to be the cream of the crop, taking both race wins with his co-rider Steve Plater on the MV Agusta 500/3, seeing off some intense pressure from James Hillier in race 1, Plater taking to the grass en route to the chequered flag avoiding a highside at St Mary’s.
Race 2 saw a flying start from the Norton Manx 30M of Davey Todd, before the pit stop for a rider change, saw James Haydon on the Matchless G50 lead from Michael Dunlop. Dunlop was to stretch out an unassailable lead, storming to victory ahead of Haydon.
John Whitmore Trophy
30 Mini Coopers took to the track for a 45 minute, two driver race that attracted an unrivalled caliber of drivers. The pole sitting car of Nick Swift and Andrew Jordan making a fantastic start to take the early lead. Battles throughout the field made for entertaining viewing, as is customary with Mini racing, a phenomenal save from Endaf Owens through the final chicane, drawing gasps of breath throughout the crowd.
The distinctive pink and blue livery of the Swift/Jordan Mini streaked away to an authoritative win, a whopping 24 seconds ahead of Middlehurst/Dumas and Smith/Neal, the other podium finishers.
The age old battle of Lotus vs Ferrari once again claimed centre stage on Saturday, with the 12 cylinder, 1.5L Ferrari 1512 mixing it up with the V8 Lotus Climax 25s that are often so dominant in this plateau. An early spin from Nick Fennell in the Lotus, left the Lotus 25 of Andy Middlehurst defending its lead from the Ferrari 1512 of Joe Colasacco.
A tense and enthralling battle ensued, with traffic stretching the lead of Middlehurst, only for Colasacco to close up again in free air. In the latter stages, an unfortunate loss of traction saw the Ferrari come to a race-ending halt in the barriers, leaving Middlehurst to claim the honours, with the BRM powered Lotus of Tim de Silva in second place, Mark Shaw making a Lotus lockout on the podium in the Lotus Climax 21.
St Mary’s Trophy
Two 25 minute races for saloon cars from 1950-1959 provided great entertainment over the weekend, with a swarm of quick and nimble Austin A40s chasing the hulking seven litre Ford Thunderbird. The grunt of the Ford at the hands of Romain Dumas, proved too much for its opponents, with a 7 second margin of victory in the first race, the Austin A40s of Andrew Jordan and Marcel Fassler narrowly keeping the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TI of Emanuele Pirro at bay to make up the other two steps on the podium.
Race two again saw the Ford Thunderbird dominate, this time at the hands of Bill Shepherd, but not without a fight. The opening lap saw two Austin A40s break away with the Jaguar Mk1 of Grant Williams, before Shepherd in the Thunderbird usurped the A40’s one by one. Some brilliant driving by Williams in the Jaguar was almost enough to hold the Thunderbird back, but with mere minutes to go, Shepherd reclaimed the lead, the power of the Ford being just too much on the straights.
As the September sun dipped lower in the sky, the sound of sports prototypes erupted around Goodwood, as a throng of monstrous V8-powered cars diced and dueled in the warm September evening air. A glorious era of sportscar racing, the evocative sight and sound of these endurance racing classics was an incredible reminder of this fondly remembered period of motorsport.
At the start, the paciest of the GT40s of Miles Griffiths made a less than ideal start, leaving Phil Keen and Oliver Bryant to set the early pace, before an uncharacteristic error from Keen saw him take to the grass and lose a number of places in the process.
Bryant showed strong pace in his Lola Chevrolet T70 Spyder, but it was a sublime performance from Keen, cutting his way back through the field at the wheel of the Lotus-Ford 30, that resulted in a last lap pass to hand the victory to Keen, with Bryant trailing by less than 2 seconds at the chequered flag.
Concluding the racing on Saturday, the Sussex Trophy saw a glorious mix of World Championship sports cars and production sports racing cars battling in the golden light of the Sussex evening. A cacophony of snarling engines and the smooth rolling lines of these cars made for an unforgettable finale to Saturday. Roger Wills racing to an early lead in his Lotus Climax 15, before feeling some immense pressure from the charging James Cottingham in the Tojeiro Jaguar.
Cottingham took the lead after a number of closely contested laps, as a backmarker forced Wills wide, Cottingham maintaining the inside line to sail past. Meanwhile a consistently quick pace from Sam Hancock, aboard the Ferrari 246S Dino, saw him overtake Wills and close on Cottingham in the closing laps. The pace of the Tojeiro Jaguar was too strong though, and Cottingham continued to a glorious victory, ahead of Hancock’s Ferrari, with Roger Wills holding on to third place.
Sunday opened with the Chichester Cup for Formula Junior, front engined cars. Peter De La Roche, took the lead from pole position in the Lotus Ford Mk2, and setting an incredible pace, showing mastery of the car, streaked to an indefatigable lead. Taking the chequered flag with a 20 second margin over the U2 Ford MK2 of Will Mitcham, who was closely followed by Chris Drake at the wheel of a Terrier ford MK4.
Reliving the glory days of the late 1950s, front engined Grand Prix cars contest the Richmond Trophy. With the skies having grown heavier over the previous couple of hours, the track had now become wet, meaning these cars were having to be balanced on a knife edge in order to navigate the undulating corners of Goodwood.
The Tecmec Maserati of Tony Wood started well from the second row of the grid, sailing into an early lead. However, conditions progressively worsened, with rain falling heavily at times, meaning that handling became precarious, Wood enduring pressure from behind, before succumbing to the challenge of Ben Mitchell in the BRM Type 25, with Miles Griffiths and William Nuttall also passing Wood in their Lotus Climax, and Cooper Bristol respectively.
With spray being flung up from the open wheels, Mitchell mastered the conditions to take the overall win, in front of Griffiths and Nuttall.
Add a smattering of rain to a grid full of pre-war sports cars, and the results will be an enthralling mix of excitement and exhilaration every time. This was no exception, with one of the stand out, crowd-pleasing performances of the weekend.
A field packed with iconic names such as Frazer Nash, Talbot Lago, Bentley and Aston Martin, these cars were forced into some tricky conditions considering their age and pedigree. A 25 minute race with a pit stop for a driver change, the lead was taken by the Blakeney-Edwards driven Frazer Nash ‘Owlett’ from the third row at the start.
Slightly halted on the run into the pits, Blakeney Edwards lost the lead to the Frazer Nash TT replica of Pittaway/Williams, who showed demonstrable talent with incredible steering wheel inputs to control the wild and hair raising drifts of the Frazer Nash. It finished as a 1, 2, 3 for Frazer Nash, as third place went to another TT replica of Hunt/Blakeney Edwards.
Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration
Considered one of the biggest races in historic motorsport circles, the TT Celebration did not disappoint, attracting an incredible list of drivers to compete for the covetable title. With crowds amassed to see the Revival debut of Formula One World Champion Jenson Button, he sat third on the grid alongside two more AC Cobras, making for a very imposing front line.
Darren Turner took the lead on the first lap, in slowly drying conditions, the greasy track making for very difficult handling in the notoriously squirmy Cobras. With Button having dropped back through the field after missing a gear in the difficult conditions, it was Turner that opened out a lead over Bill Shepherd, before a safety car closed the pack up. Neck and neck until the pit stops, Turner maintained his lead, before a short pitstop as Shepherd handed over to Romain Dumas, saw them snatch the lead.
An enthralling battle ensued, as Dumas and Oliver Bryant duelled and diced all the way to the line, Dumas unaware that he had been penalised with a time penalty for the pit stop. Compelling racing nonetheless, as the two AC Cobras fought tooth and nail for many laps, to the delight of the spectators.
With time penalties added after the race, Bryant, albeit unable to pass Dumas on track was awarded the victory, with Wakeman/Pirro in the Lister Jaguar Coupe claiming second, and the Lynn/Priaulx Cobra taking third.
Freddie March Memorial Trophy
The finale to a thrilling weekend of racing, the Freddie March Memorial Trophy was a homage to the legendary Goodwood 9 Hour races held in the 1950s. Potentially the most aesthetically astounding assemblies of cars over the whole weekend, it was a splendid send off, for the welcome return of the Goodwood Revival to the calendar.
Gregor Fisken in the HWM Jaguar started on pole, but a clean getaway from David Hart in the Maserati 300S saw him clinch the lead, with a compelling battle developing between the Maserati of Hart, Fisken in the Jaguar, and the D-Type of Steve Brooks, before a calamitous incident, where Brooks hit a patch of oil on track, tagging Hart, and leaving Fisken with nowhere to go, other than into the helpless D Type.
Fisken unfortunately had to retire, leaving the storming Maserati of Hart to romp home for the win, with Brooks in second place and Martin Hunt in another HWM Jaguar taking third.
A Glorious Reminder of a Golden Era
Quite rightly regarded as one of the most prestigious classic racing events on the world calendar, it was a triumph to see such a phenomenally well organised event, with deep and eclectic grids, world class drivers, and a crowd who made an incredible effort in representing the style, grace and demeanor of the period.
One thing that strikes the visitor to the Goodwood Revival is the attention to detail in maintaining the aura of the ‘way things were’. Praise must go to the organisers, as many times over the weekend it was necessary to stop in one’s tracks and check to ensure that one hadn’t been transported to a race weekend in the 1950s.
It really is that emotive and convincing. Additionally, it must be said that there is a lot of respect between the calibre of drivers who race here. In some of the most incredibly expensive machinery, drivers were trading blows, lap after lap, in a fiercely competitive, yet totally respectful way. This wouldn’t be possible without the trust and knowledge that those who you are racing, are fair, clean, yet determined behind the wheel.
This truly provides a spectacle for the fans that cannot be missed. Rightly, many glasses were raised to toast the return of the Goodwood Revival, it truly is an exemplary example of classic racing, done properly.