Epic duels open Revival Meeting

| 14 Sep 2013

The 16th Goodwood Revival Meeting opened yesterday with a thrilling two-driver, 90-minute enduro for the Freddie March Memorial Trophy. Running into a rain-soaked dusk, the grid for cars in the spirit of the Goodwood Nine Hour races, 1952-1955, was highlighted by a pair of tough-fought dices for the lead.

Jaguar C-types had locked out the front row (main image), with the Stefan Ziegler/Sam Hancock car just pipping the ex-Fangio example of Alex Buncombe/John Young to pole, but it was the fifth-placed Cooper-Bristol of John Ure/Nick Wigley (below) that leapt to the front through Madgwick as Ure made a blistering start.

Young slotted in behind in the light mist of drizzle and the pair began a 40-minute duel, with the Jaguar able to power past on high-speed sections and the nimble Cooper skipping by through the corners as the conditions continued to worsen.

Stefan Ziegler and the fellow C-type of John Finburgh/Aubrey Clark gave chase, before the latter clipped a back-marker to spin and kiss a barrier, dropping back down the order.

A more dramatic crash, as the Guy Broad/Nicolas Bert HWM-Alta ran wide, nudged the Malcolm Paul/Rick Bourne Lotus MkX and connected heavily with the barriers, brought out the safety car and the driver stops began during a lengthy period behind the Aston DB5's flashing lights.

When the order had sorted itself out and the safety car pulled in, Sam Hancock's C-type was in the lead ahead of Nick Wigley in the Cooper and the super-fast Alex Buncombe in the Fangio car, but Buncombe roared past at the first opportunity and set out to regain the lead.

The two Jaguars were drifting in unison as the track became more like an ice rink, weaving through the back-markers and dwapping places several times before Buncombe found a way through the spray on lap 22 and Hancock began to drop back.

When Wigley unfortunately spun out and connected hard with the barrier, a second safety car brought out the chequer, with a delighted Buncombe winning from Hancock and the Aston DB3 of Martin Melling and David Hall in a distant third.

"It was fantastic," said a jubilant co-driver Young, but Buncombe, who had suffered the worst of the conditions, was pleased with the early bath: "It was getting quite dangerous. The water was coming over the screen and I could hardly see a thing!"

Among the morning sessions, there was plenty of excitement - as always - by the saloons of the St Mary's Trophy, but the real standout session was the damp practice for the exceptional, 27-strong grid of GT40s for the Whitsun Trophy.

Kenny Bräck in particular stood out, throwing Adrian Newey's 1965 car around as if it were his Mk2 Escort, while other drivers going well included Steve Soper and James Cottingham (above, car 23).

But of course, Goodwood isn't just about the cars, and new sights for this year include a cycle race around the circuit followed by period Tour de France supprt vehicles (above), and including Olympic hero Sir Chris Hoy - who is also competing in the St Mary's Trophy in a Mini.

The crowds were silenced yesterday by a stunning - and noisy! - air display from the world's only airworthy English Electric Canberra PR9, which will return over the weekend.