The sun sets on a stupendous Goodwood Revival

| 17 Sep 2012

The on-track action at this year's Goodwood revival was matched only by the lengths the event organisers had gone to transport visitors back into history.

Highlight was the once-in-a-lifetime parade of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix cars, yet on a weekend that included a Shelby Cobra tribute race, the non-stop action of 1950s saloon car racing, and GP cars from 1930-’50s, there was plenty to see.

Away from the track Spitfires and Hurricanes streaked across the sky, while back on the ground the event's ‘over the road’ area offered a convincing vintage shopping experience.

We were there soaking up all the weekend’s action – read our full race reports below.

Revival round-up: Sunday

Sunday got off to a thrilling start with the Brooklands Trophy race for the pre-war sports cars. Max Werner took the victory driving his father Klaus’ 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C2300, finishing just ahead of the Talbot AV105 of Gareth Burnett.

Werner had a poor start after a brush with C&SC columnist Alain de Cadenet’s Invicta S-type, while Patrick Blakeney-Edwards’ Frazer Nash saloon capitalised to lead for half a lap. Werner soon regained the initiative, though, and with 15 minutes remaining was leading the race.

Burnett briefly led Werner’s Alfa but was slowed by traffic, meaning that the race finished with Werner in first and Burnett in second. Blakeney-Edwards held off the 1931 Talbot 105 of Nick Pellet to take third place.

More drama was to come in the following race – the Richmond & Gordon Trophies – with a pile-up at the start sparked by the stricken BRM driven by Gary Pearson.

The restart was a few cars lighter as a result and in a two-car contest between McCaig (in a Cooper T53) and Jolley (in a Cooper T45/51) the former came out on top, with the BRM Type 25 of Pearson taking third.

The second instalment of the St Marys Trophy kept the tempo up.

This time the Jaguar Mk1 of Grant Williams came out on top, but it was Justin Law and Anthony Reid whose aggregate result took the trophy – after they’d piloted their Mk1 Jag to second place in both races. Desmond Smail took third, but crowd-pleaser across the two races was undoubtedly the giant-killing 550kg BMW 700 driven by Jackie Oliver and Richard Shaw. Despite its twin-cylinder engine, it never seemed far away from the larger competition.

The race was an exciting pre-cursor to the star-studded RAC TT Celebration. It would be the lightweight Jaguar E-type of former F1 man Martin Brundle (above), sharing with owner Adrian Newey, that would emerge victorious. Bobby Verdon-Roe finished second in the E-type he shared with John Young, while third-place went to another E-type driven by Tiff Needell and Joaquin Folch-Rusinol.

The Glover Trophy that followed was reserved for 1.5-litre Grand Prix cars and Tasman cars of 1961-’65. Andy Middlehurst had taken pole position in his Lotus 25, but lost out at the start to Nick Fennell (also in a Lotus 25). Middlehurst had numerous attempts at taking back first place, before making it stick 10 minutes into the race, taking the victory followed by Fennell and Mark Piercy’s Lola Mk4.

Poleman Alex Buncombe made a rapid start in the Sussex Trophy – the weekend’s racing finale – but was sidelined after two laps when he lost drive.

Revival regular Julian Majzub took over the lead, though he had his work cut out with his twitchy, 5.5-litre Chevy V8-powered Sadler on the oily track.

After an early spin, Andrew Smith gave chase in his Lister-Chevrolet Knobbly, with ex-BTCC ace and Porsche Cup champ Tim Harvey keeping him honest in a similar but Jag-engined Lister.

Smith tried desperately to catch Majzub – closing to within 0.6 secs with 4 mins to go – but had to make do with second, with Harvey third.

“It was the most fun I’ve had for years!” enthused chuffed Goodwood debutant Tim Harvey. “It’s my first time here and it’s a fantastic meeting.”

“If only I hadn’t spun,” said a rueful Smith, “but it was just so slippery out there.”

“I’ve been trying to win this race for years,” said a delighted Majzub. As for his increasingly lurid drifts, he added: “I was just getting a bit carried away I suppose. It was quite exciting with some of the back-markers but, frankly, that’s all part of the fun.”

Revival round-up: Saturday

The first leg of the two-part St Mary’s Trophy produced an epic battle between the Austin A40 of Rob Huff and the Jaguar Mk1 of Anthony Reid. Huff was quickest in practice, but Reid beat him away from the line to lead early on.

Both drivers engaged in a no-holds-barred tussle before Huff’s nimble Austin came out on top.

“It was an incredible race,” said Huff. “The closing speed of the Jag at the end of the straight was so fast, but Reid got held up by traffic, which allowed me to get back out in front.”

“I’ve been out of the BTCC for three years,” commented Reid, “but this race brought it all back. The Jag was sensational.”

At one point, it became a four-way scrap, with Jackie Oliver and Kenny Bräck’s equally spirited duel bringing them closer to the leading pair. After trading places throughout the race, Oliver’s BMW 700 pipped Bräck’s Austin A40 to take third place.

“It was a good clean race,” said Oliver, “apart from the little nudge at the chicane, with no other marks on the car.”

The Shelby Cup offered something completely different as a full grid of the legendary sports cars paid tribute to the late Carroll Shelby in the model’s 50th year.

It would spell disappointment for Anthony Reid who, after leading the majority of the race with Ludovic Caron, was black-flagged after losing a substantial piece of his exhaust. His car would finish in third.

A reflective Reid said he was happy to finish on the podium in a race that might never be seen again.

The Englishman’s loss was Rob Hall and Andy Wolfe’s gain, though, as they steered their 4.7-litre monster to first place.

Hall said: “We’ve had some good luck, but we’ll take it.”

The top three cars finished within a second of each other, with the car of Coronel and Hart taking the penultimate place on the podium.

The excitement continued with a gripping battle in the Whitsun Trophy, for sports-racing prototypes made from 1963-’66.

Gary Pearson had put Marshall Bailey’s Lola T70 Spyder on pole, but Canadian Jay Esterer got the jump at the start in his Chinook Mk2 from Chris Goodwin’s McLaren M1B and Pearson.

Pearson soon passed McLaren’s chief development driver Goodwin and went in front with a demon pass on Esterer through Lavant on lap two.

Esterer nipped back into the lead as a five-car train of big-banger V8s thundered around the Sussex Circuit for the race of the day. Kiwi Roger Wills took advantage as first and second traded places - with almost synchronised drifting - making a cheeky move to nip past both of them until he overshot a few laps later, sliding onto the grass and dropped back to fourth.

With less than 5 minutes to go, Pearson established a small lead and made it stick, taking the chequered flag  from Esterer and Wills, who’d nipped back into the final podium place on the last lap. It was the historic hotshoe’s 10th win at the Revival but first in the stunning Cambridge Cigarettes T70.

“That was a great race,” enthused Esterer. “It was almost clean racing, apart from the nudge I gave Gary.”

“To drive these cars anywhere is fantastic,” said Pearson, “but here they’re a real handful, and Jay’s car control is phenomenal. It was really good, proper, clean racing.”

Rounding off the opening day was the highly entertaining Chichester Cup, for 1958-’60 front-engined formula Juniors.

It had looked like anyone’s race, but it was the streamlined Stanguellini-Fiat of Joe Colasacco that took a dramatic victory after passing Will Mitcham and Stuart Roach on the last lap of the race.

He said: “I thought I had run out of laps and the car had a flat spot… I love coming here, everyone has been fantastic – it’s been one of the best Formula Juniors ever!”