The Goodwood Revival has always been a popular event within the automotive World and has even been described as the best of its kind. Well that was certainly true this year with the Revival selling out long before the event itself pulling in a record breaking crowd of over 138,000 spectators. To say this was an impressive turnout is somewhat of an understatement, however experiencing the famous ‘Glorious Goodwood’ is a must and it is hardly surprising that so many thousands of people across the World flock to Goodwood including some JD Classics customers who had made the pilgrimage all the way from Hong Kong for a weekend jam packed with historical treasures.
The Goodwood Revival is held yearly at the Goodwood Circuit and is the sister event to the Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS). Although both organised by the March family, the Festival of Speed takes place within the grounds and the beautiful surroundings of Goodwood House. The Revival, on the other hand is held just a few miles from the March estate. The Revival is best described as a three day feast of automotive action encompassing the British love affair with both four-wheeled and two-wheeled racing during the period between 1948 and 1966. For people who have attended the Revival before it is therefore no surprise that this period of racing epitomised by the Revival was commonly referred to as the Golden era of motorsport. Although the Revival’s central appeal lies around the breathtaking array of cars and motorbikes on show, spectators are equally drawn for its sense of 1950s style and elegant glamour.
Dressing accordingly with the fashions of the 1940s, 50s and 60s is a large part of the experience with prizes even being handed out to the best dressed spectators of the weekend. From the suited and booted tweeds of the 1940s to the full-skirted glamour of the 1950s it is fair to say that Goodwood this year provided a wide variety of fashions from the years that shaped the Golden era of motorsport. In fact if you weren’t dressed up you were bound to feel a little left out of all the fun! Even the vehicles allowed into the circuit had to be of the appropriate period, exceptions being made solely for emergency service vehicles.
One of the weekend’s many highlights took place above the Goodwood circuit rather than on it when a dozen spitfires took to the skies in celebration of the famous aircraft’s 75 year relationship with Goodwood, it having been used as a Battle of Britain airfield during the War. This was a once in a lifetime sight as it is the first time post-war that a dozen spitfires have flown across the airfield in formation. And what a spectacular sight this proved to be! This was the first of what was to be many a celebration at Goodwood as 2011 saw a further three anniversaries within the racing spectrum that were honoured during this year’s festivities.
With such a buzz of excitement surrounding the Revival this year it was only natural that the JD Classics team were first in line for their tickets. What with it being one of the highlights of the racing calendar for us we were kindly invited to take along some of our finest cars to join in the celebrations. We were fortunate enough to have four cars accepted to compete in three of the weekend’s scheduled races, the first of these being the Fordwater Trophy race. Like many a race meeting this year, the Goodwood Revival paid a very special tribute to a car that can best be described as the nation’s automotive sweetheart - the Jaguar E-Type.
To commemorate its 50 glorious years, it seemed only fitting that the E-Type was acknowledged in the Fordwater Trophy, a special 45 minute race dedicated solely to this beloved Jaguar that has shaped the world’s love affair with the most classic of classic race cars. There was a cocktail of different E-Types taking part, from roadsters to fixed head coupes and even some very special lightweight examples that were sure to be another highlight of the weekend and boy, did they not disappoint! This race saw two cars line up on the grid for JD Classics. Car 1 saw Alex Buncombe pair up with Stuart Graham in this two-driver race in the very special Kjell Qvale lightweight E-Type – the third of 12 exceptionally rare alloy factory lightweight race cars. This car proved to be extra special as this is one of two completely original examples. In fact, 6 of these incredible treasures were racing in the Fordwater Trophy with another 3 on static display around the circuit.
To say that this was a treat for spectators and drivers alike couldn’t be more of an understatement. Also lining up for JD Classics was Andrew Smith and Paul Radisich in their semi lightweight spec E-Type (1196WK) After a nail biting 45 minutes of racing, Martin Stretton and Jon Minshaw took the title in their semi-lightweight after a long battle with second place duo ex-Benetton driver Gerhard Berger and Formula One engineer Adrian Newey in his lightweight E-Type. The JD Classics entries also secured impressive positions with the E-type (1196WK) finishing respectably in 6th place out of a large field of 29 cars. The Kjell Qvale lightweight in particular did an outstanding job finishing in 4th place. With such a fantastic and completely original example outpacing the younger models on the track emphasises the craftsmanship and skill that went into producing such impressive original classic cars that even 50 years after their production and without any modifications are still driving competitively.
One of the original races that Goodwood became famous for was its nine-hour endurance race which was regularly run there back in the 1950s. The Revival pays homage to the classic sports racing cars that would have competed in the nine hour races between the years of 1952 and 1955 with the Freddie March Memorial Trophy, the race that ultimately put Goodwood circuit on the map as one of the most active tracks in the country during its heyday. The cars featured included many a classic such as the Jaguar C-Type and the Austin Healey 100S. Another of our JD Classics cars was set to compete in the race and this time it was no other than MD and owner of JD Classics Derek Hood in his Cooper Jaguar T33. Qualifying an impressive 4th overall out of a field of 26 the boss looked raring to go as the pack were led off the line by youngster James Cottingham in his Ferrari 857s.
For much of the race it appeared Cottingham was destined for victory, dominating the race as he did qualifying. However, no one could predict the bad luck that would ensue his race when he quickly lost his lead to Nick Wigley in the Cooper Jaguar of Flavien Marcais before the end of the first lap. Hot on Cottingham’s heels was third placed Derek Hood and his Cooper Jaguar T33 followed by the RGS Atlanta of Tony Wood. Just as things started to deteriorate for him, Cottingham developed a second wind, reclaiming the lead from Wigley on the fourth lap, a lead which he managed to extend over the next few laps whilst Wigley pursued. Sadly for Wigley, it was not to be and retired with an engine blow out. By this time Cottingham had extended his lead by a country mile and looked set for victory. The cruellest blow however was yet to be dealt. Just a few minutes from the chequered flag he began to lose pace and knowing something terminal had befallen the Ferrari he headed towards the pits and was forced to retire.
This allowed then second placed Tony Wood in his RGS Atlanta to steal the victory with the ex-Mark Anthony Lotus Mk X of Nick Adams creeping in to take second place. Patrick Watts and his Allard J2 completed the podium line-up for the Freddie March Memorial Trophy race. JD Classics produced another solid race result with Derek Hood driving his Cooper Jaguar T33 to a respectable 7th position: “This year’s Revival was certainly a meeting to remember’, said Derek. ‘We had our first victory and if it wasn’t for a faulty ignition switch on our Cooper T33 we may well have had a second podium. That’s racing as they say!”
With the sunrise on the Sunday morning of the Revival so came the rain. However, the weather failed to dampen the JD spirits or those of the spectators as we entered the final day of Goodwood. One of the last races of the weekend and JD classics last race of the weekend was the Sussex Trophy which saw a large line-up of production sports racing cars and championship sports cars from the 1955-1960 era. Taking on the field of powerful big boys was our beautiful ex-Briggs Cunningham Costin Lister which was being driven by the experienced Alex Buncombe. It was pure inevitability that such a line-up of powerful cars would produce the most exciting of racing as they lined up on the grid with Buncombe sitting third behind pole sitter Julian Majzub in his Sadler Chevrolet Mk 3 and Anthony Reid and his Jaguar D-Type ‘long nose’.
Despite a speedy start, Majzub proved no contest for Buncombe and the sheer power of the Lister, which proved to be a deadly mix of speed and agility that no other runner could match. By the end of the first lap, Buncombe was running a clear first position as he led the pack through St Mary’s, hugging each curve and corner of the circuit tighter than the 1960s bunny girl outfits that were being sported by some female spectators. It looked as though former touring car driver Anthony Reid was making good of his second position before losing out on lap 2 to the Aston Martin DBR1 of Bobby Verdon-Roe. These top three positions remained unchanged for the remainder of the race and Alex Buncombe came home ahead of the pack with a comfortable nine second lead between him and second place Verdon- Roe to take the Sussex Trophy win. Anthony Reid completed the podium line-up finishing third.
Buncombe also achieved the fastest lap of the race which added to the win. For the JD team this really was one of the highlights of the weekend as Alex’s win in the Lister also sealed JD Classics their first competitive Goodwood Revival team win. For both driver and team together and in their own rights this was an incredible coup as even the great Stirling Moss did not record a win when he drove the car in period.
An annual part of the Goodwood Revival is a feature tribute parade dedicated to a figure within the racing world that played a particular significance within the historic racing spectrum. This year’s honour was bestowed upon one of the world’s most celebrated and legendary racing drivers, Juan Manuel Fangio. This was a perfectly fitting tribute to the great Argentine as this year sees the centenary of his birth and the sixty year anniversary since he won what was to be the first of a staggering five year World Championship reign. Having raced twice at Goodwood during his career, Fangio achieved a second place in his 1953 BRM V16 P15. Looking back at his incredible racing career it is clear to see why Fangio is considered one of the greatest drivers of all time. Taking part in this dedicated parade was many a car that had played a significant part in his fruitful career including the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Two of his earliest cars were shipped over from the Fundacion Museo Fangio in Argentina especially for the Goodwood Revival – the 1939 Chevrolet Coupe TC and the 1947 Volpi Chevrolet ‘La Petisa’. His Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta was also present which seemed particularly symbolic as this was the car in which he won his first World Championship. J
D Classics also wanted to show their respect for the motor racing icon so joined the parade demonstrating the 1952 Jaguar C-Type XKC 018 of which Fangio once owned. The final anniversary celebration at this year’s Goodwood Revival saw a parade of Ford’s take to the track in celebration of 100 years of the Great British institution that is Ford. Similarly to the Fangio tribute, some of Ford’s creations paraded the circuit including some of the most iconic cars ever produced by the manufacturing giant, for example the Ford GT40. There was a vast assortment of Ford’s present in the line-up ranging from commercial road cars of the past to the racing and even military vehicles produced. JD Classics honoured the 100 years of Ford by contributing their Ex-works Jim Clarke Lotus Cortina to the procession. Not only were these wonderful examples of Ford design shown off on the circuit but a variety were on display in and around the circuit for enthusiasts to get a closer look at.
On top of all our wonderful examples from the Golden era of motorsport that took to the track we also provided some cars that were on static display, two of which were on display at the Earls Court Motorshow – a staged show held during the Revival that drew its inspiration from motorshows held during the 1940s, 50s and 60s. JD Classics displayed two absolute beauties here in the form of our 1968 Toyota 2000GT which is said to be one of the, if not the best original example in the World. We also displayed the 14th 3.8 litre Roadster ever built.
The Earls Court motorshow also included a late 20th/early 21st century car display of what the ‘cars of the future’ would look like to a 1950s audience. In this and every other respect, the Goodwood Revival is so authentically 1950s that after three days of living and breathing the lifestyle it is hard to get out of that particular state of mind (i’m sure some of the JD boys were still in their military outfits come Monday morning) but this is exactly the reason why the Goodwood Revival is as highly acclaimed as it is. From the costumes, spitfires, even the drivers (Sir Stirling Moss is still a regular attendee of the Revival); everything is so intrinsically authentic that it requires no more explanation as to why it is the best. Seeing is believing so for those of you that haven’t, go along to next year’s gathering. It most definitely will not disappoint.