Sunday, 6 April 2014

72nd Members Meeting of the Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC) March 29th-30th 2014

About six months ago I decided I wanted to attend this rather exclusive new/old event at Goodwood for GRRC Members and their guests. The present Lord March's grandfather, Freddie March, closed Goodwood Circuit to racing in 1966. After a gap of 48 years this great event was back!

I flew out from Warsaw on Friday March 28th and a good friend of mine who had worked with me on the original Polish project in 1993 was my guest and collected me from Heathrow in his MG. We set off directly for the Whitehorse Inn at Chilgrove near Chichester astonishingly close to the Goodwood Circuit. By booking 6 months ahead I had achieved accommodation near the track - a miracle! It turned out to be an absolutely brilliant place to stay for the event and as a bonus provided fantastic food and an excellent wine list. Cosy, quiet, friendly and comfortable with evenings of reminiscence and exhaustion by the fire with a fine malt in that inimitable English manner...and did not cost an arm and a leg.

The weather was fantastic over the entire two days. One was free to move anywhere around the course and sit in any grandstand with the 'Roving Grandstand' ticket. An 'event expert' I spoke to estimated this as a £5 million operation. I have not covered all the races, practice sessions and demonstrations but most in this account.

I think the best way of covering this event is not to write a great deal but for you to read the introduction below from the informative programme book and look at some of the pictures I took.

Please click on the photographs - the rendition is far superior (Leica D-Lux 4)

MARCH 29th

'Shell' mechanics in the Pits for Race One, the Gerry Marshall Trophy for Group 1 production saloon cars 1970-82

Part of the grid of 31 cars for the Gerry Marshall Trophy. Cars are in period livery.
Two Triumph Dolomite Sprints (1973 [25] & 1979 [22]),  a 1973 BMW 3.0Si (6) and a Ford Capri III 3.0S (18)
Che bella figura! 
My lust object during the Gerry Marshall Trophy showing the Pit Board to her lucky father, racing driver Chris Snowdon, driving in anger an 1980 Alfa Romeo GTV 6.
Poetry in motion in all senses. 

A Goodwood GRRC enthusiast above the pit lane during the Gerry Marshall Trophy.

The start of the Moss Trophy for closed-cockpit two seaters 1959-62. An early 1960s Tourist Trophy Grid
1961 Jaguar E-Type (73); 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT (3); 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB 'Breadvan' (16)
Second row: 1962 AC Cobra (1); 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB/C Competition Berlinetta (60)
Third row 1960 Aston Martin DB4GT (5)
There is a stunning Sports Car Digest gallery of photos of this race on this link:

Start of the Moss Trophy [Sports Car Digest from above link]

This was a long, truly great race packed with all the drama and jockeying for position one could ever wish. It began late and as night fell towards the conclusion of the race we were given the feeling of Le Mans at Goodwood. One of the best races I have ever seen there.

Concluding laps of the Moss Trophy

In between races and practice sessions I wandered around the pits and paddock. Here are some photos of my Paddock perambulations.


1960 Aston Martin DB4GT

The formidable 1951 Aston DB3/5 'Dark Star'described in the panel above which performed magnificently on the track

1952 Aston Martin DB3/5 'Dark Star' (76); 1952 Aston Martin DB3 (43); 1955 Aston Martin DB3S (3)
1959 Aston Martin DBR1 just before the Salvadori Cup for sports racing cars 1955-60

Sir Stirling Moss at the wheel of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB  pace car


Cockpit of a 1958 BRM Type 25
The superb 1964 BRM P261 (26) and 1961 BRM P57 (11) that took part in the Clark-Stewart Cup for 1.5-litre F1 and 1 litre F2 and F3 cars that raced between 1961-65

1960 Maserati Typo 61 'Birdcage' et al 
Lovers relaxing in the sun beside their Riley

A group of Englishmen attired in the present passion for red trousers 

For more on this vaguely interesting English cultural and social class phenomenon which was plainly in evidence at Goodwood (not worn by me as an Australian even to frighten the crocodiles) see:

The Attack on Red Trousers

In Defense of Red Trousers 

A charming Englishman of the Old School, a cousin of Field-Marshall Montgomery, contemplates change and the passing of time with diffidence and distinction
(Brasenose College, Oxford self-tied bow tie - I asked)

At one point on the first day there was a 'Demonstration' of Turbo F1 cars. The ban on turbocharging in Formula 1 began in 1989 when outputs of 1500 bhp became the norm. This was a tribute to these fearsome machines and the men who drove them. The two Ferrari pace cars kept them in order which was rather disappointing! Turbocharging has now been reinstated in Formula 1.

Two 1986 Lotus-Renault 98T John Player Specials.

The Hart-engined Toleman Motorsport TG184 as driven by the late Ayton Senna comes through the Chicane at Goodwood

Party Time

Saturday evening was given over to parties and wild, even bizarre, entertainments of various descriptions with names such as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Guilty Pleasures and uninhibited disco dancing. Not for the first time I felt my appalling age confronted with Youth ('Ah! The glory of it!' to quote Joseph Conrad), wild music, bare legs, skin, tiny tattoos and micro-skirts...and this with plenty of adrenalin already pumping in the bloodstream from the racing!

The beautiful historic Carousel

Robotic Horse with frenzied drums and erotic dancers

Who knows what this is?

Heart stopping defiance of gravity with multiple bikes and glamorous girls on the best Wall of Death I have ever seen

The Great Hall where Dinner was served.  The quality was perfectly in period and reminiscent of my public school - dreadful. The shields indicate all members were assigned a House with a House Captain who was an outstanding race or rally driver. I was assigned Aubigny which was a Fleur du Lis. The house names were derived from the March Coat of Arms

For me this was the most astounding race of them all with some 30 Bugattis on the start line representing how many million pounds at risk? Absolutely incredible...there has never been a start like it...unique. Virtually every pre-war Bugatti model was represented.

William Charles Frederick Grover-Williams who won the inaugural Monaco GP in 1929 in a Type 35B
10 seconds to start!

The start of the Grover-Williams Trophy for pre-war Bugatti cars 

The start from the March Grandstand.
1925 Type 35 (13); 1927 Type 35B (11); 1938 Type 59/50B III (29)

1934 Bugatti Type 57G  'The Tank'

Again the most fabulous professional set of photographs of this race are on this Sports Car Digest link:

I went into the pits and took some detailed pictures of the Bugattis which appear below.

A mechanic fettling a Bugatti before the race
The cockpit of a Bugatti Type 35
Yet another pair of FRTs in front of the Bugatti paddock and a pair seated against the wall. Incidentally I have nothing against them. Men need a bit of colour in fashion although I do wonder what Jeremy Clarkson would say of this predilection!
I must confess to owning but never wearing a pair of red corduroys. Polish men take a dim view of such ostentation!
Most Bugattis had racing tyres but this one (the 1926 type 36B below) had the accurate and demanding to drive narrow width
Lightly restored 1926 Bugatti Type 35B  [Courtesy of Sports Car Digest]
The philosophy of Originality vs Pebble Beach Restoration rages in Bugatti circles. Here we have the crudely, possibly historically accurate, rough painting of numbers on the unrestored bodywork of a 1925 Bugatti Type 35
The unadorned Bugatti  chassis and suspension expressing the philosophy as noted above on No: 23
Certain of life's dreams achieved surely...

The Bugatti Paddock with the black 1926 Bugatti Type 37 (30) in the foreground with original livery, numbering style and  narrow tyres 

See also the astonishing story of The Bugatti Queen at: 

Sunday March 30th

There was racing and 'demonstrations' all day on Sunday and I took the opportunity to explore parts of the course I had never visited before.

Grid for the Tony Gaze Trophy for 1950s production sports and GT cars
1959 Jaguar XK150 FHC (10); 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France (17); 1952 Aston Martin DB2/4 (5)
Further along the incredible grid for the Tony Gaze Trophy. 
1955 Jaguar XK140 FHC (9);  1955 MGA (14); 1958 Rochdale GT (25) which 'overbalanced' during the race; 1955 Jaguar XK140 Lightweight Coupe (24); 1952 Aston Martin DB2/4 (4);

The functional business interior of the XK140 Lightweight Coupe

The 'original' workmanlike appearance of the engine of the XK140 Lightweight Coupe

Grid for the Sears Trophy for production saloons 1959-63.
1963 Mini Cooper S; 1964 Ford-Lotus Cortina Mk 1 (41); 1963 Ford-Lotus Cortina Mk 1 (13);1963 Ford Anglia 105E (6)
Further along the grid for the Sears Trophy. 
1963 Morris Mini Cooper S (17); 1960 Jaguar Mk II (12); 1963 Austin Mini Cooper S (72); 1963 Wolseley Hornet (1); 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Super (2); 1963 Morris Mini Cooper S (46);
1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT (65); 1963 Ford Cortina GT (8);  1965 Izuzu Bellett (10);

10 seconds to start of the Clark-Stewart Cup for 1.5 lire F1 cars 1961-65.
1964 Cooper-Ford T71/73 (71 number hidden); 1962 Lotus-BRM 24 (18); 1962 Lotus-Climax 24 (4); 1961 Lotus-Climax 21 (36)

I decided to wander down from the March Grandstand opposite the start past the Chicane Grandstand and encountered a large collection of Members' cars. 

A brace of fine MG TCs but not to be compared with my beloved  LXA 52 below

My 1949 MG TC in Warsaw and below in local conditions

1929 Bentley 6.5 litre Weymann Saloon. No oil drips under - astounding! 

1911 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with Boa Constrictor horn

I then wandered down to Woodcote and along the Lavant Straight where I watched this race:

The Peter Collins Trophy  for sports racing cars 1948-55.
A 1955 Aston Martin DB3S on the Lavant Straight.
Members' cars parked in picnic mode along the Lavant Bank . This is an historic and influential  30/98 Vauxhall 
More Members' cars 'picnic parked' on the Lavant Bank. What a collection!
I continued my wanderings down to the Lavant Grandstand to watch:

Opening lap at Lavant of the Surtees Trophy for sports racing prototypes 1963-66.
1966 McLaren-Chevrolet M1B (5) is in the lead
The 1966 Lola-Chevrolet T 70 Spyder loses it at Lavant in the Surtees Trophy
The organisers had thoughtfully provided a few tractor drawn trailers which allowed us to travel conveniently around the course. I went to the 'Bus Stop' and travelled in dust-eating style (the weather persisted dry and sunny) past St. Mary's and Fordwater to Madgwick where I got off to watch the final races of the day. Traditional and elegant front-engined Grand Prix racing cars from this period are sublime in sound and appearance to my mind.

The Brabham Trophy for Grand Prix cars 1954-60 from beautiful open-view Madgwick in Springtime.
There were 7 Maserati 250 F cars in this race!
The Brabham Trophy. 
1957 Cooper-Climax T43 (5); 1956 Maserati 250 F (23)

A 1954 Maserati 250 F in the Brabham Trophy 

The start of the final race of the day, the Salvadori Cup for sports racing cars 1955-60 from Madgwick.
The fabulous and formidable 1958 Lister-Jaguar 'Knobbly' (13) leads from 1958 Lister-Jaguar 'Ecosse' (7)
And so a stupendous and brilliant weekend of racing and entertainment drew to a close....until next year! I will be sure to be there!

And so a lonely 1955 Jaguar D Type heads off into the fading light of paradise...

Far and away the best set of photographs of this event I have seen are by the   photojournalist Amy Shore. Here is what I wrote in the comment section of her set:

Amy, it is quite clear you are a ‘people person’ with that rare ability that Cartier-Bresson possessed when capturing human moments – perfectionist timing with the talents and instincts of the game hunter. A treat not to see simply a rare classic car in high gloss a la Pebble Beach but also the animating force behind them – the drivers, mechanics and spectators. Another dimension of depth. A quite brilliant set of photographs. You certainly have what Bruce Chatwin referred to as ‘the eye’ when he was working at Sotheby’s. The slightly washed out colours or grainy black and white contributes so much to the notion of a nostalgia fest, which of course Goodwood events are in essence. I so envy your talent. From the dawn opening on Saturday to dusk on Sunday a wonderful portfolio. I was there and have returned thanks to you. A treasure.

Here we have a truly exceptional photojournalistic talent:

My embarrassingly unsuccessful House of Aubigny....well this time anyway!

                                                                                         Michael Moran (Chairman CCC)

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