So Goodwood has come and gone for another year. Each occasion seems more spectacular than the year before and this year was no exception. From Spitfire demonstrations and an extraordinary array of period dress to the best selection of historic classic and racing cars the event is quite unique – nothing even approaches it worldwide.

What was the event highlights for 2002? As usual the display of WW2 fighter planes by Ray Hanna and his crew was breathtaking. David Coulthard took some time off from his McLaren duties to demonstrate a 1950’s Mercedes Grand Prix racer driven by Juan Manuel Fangio. On both Saturday and Sunday there was a tribute to Graham Hill with a selection of cars driven by him during his career paraded around the circuit. On Sunday the parade was lead by Damon Hill driving the famous “stack-pipe” BRM owned by Irvine Laidlaw. Other stars on show included Johnny Herbert, Emannuel Pirro, Derek Bell and of course Sir Stirling Moss.

For us the events of the weekend all built up towards the last of all races – the Whitsun Trophy. Billed as the race of 10,000 HP it featured no less than 7 Ford GT40’s driven by such stars as Darren Manning and multiple Le Mans winners Dickie Attwood and Ray Bellm.

Practice and qualifying was fraught to say the least with huge speed differentials between the cars at either end. In addition several of the big bangers managed to dump heir oil all over the track making things very slippy indeed. This was not ideal for Goodwood which is a notoriously fast and tricky track. Our car should have been slowest of all but we eventually lined up 21st in the grid. I was however still unhappy with my lap time and sought advice from S. Moss – the cars owner. A few well chosen words later and we set off.

Making a good start the race set off for 6 hectic and incident packed laps and I had managed to improve things quite a lot. In addition the driving instructions had worked and the lap times were better. Then however things went wrong. Coming down to the dauntingly fast St. Mary’s – the corner where Stirling crashed in 1962 – the yellow flags were waving. The beautiful yellow 250LM Ferrari of Juan Barazi was stranded across the track in a very sorry state indeed having ploughed into the back and spearing back onto the road. The race was red flagged without delay to clear things up.

Lining up again for the flag the next start was less successful. Duncan Dayton’s Ferrari swerved across to avoid a stalling McLaren leaving me a choice between the wall and lifting off! By the time the dust settled and the race was off properly we were up to 15th position and going well. In fact a lonely race ensued with little activity. The car ahead was David Pipers Ferrari and too far away and I was faster that the chasing pack. I concentrated on lap times and managed to take over two seconds off my qualifying time before the flag fell. Thanks to my tutor who said after the race that I would be even quicker when I learnt to drive the other corners better!

At this stage of the year thanks are due to may people (even though we have one more race scheduled for October). First to the sponsors Tyco Healthcare and Lister – both of whom enjoyed the Goodwood experience. Second to the Hull Nuffield Hospital – hopefully they will be at Goodwood next year. Thanks are also due to Lord March and his team for inviting us to take part and for putting on such a wonderful event. Finally of course the indestructible Don Haldenby for preparing the cars so well despite all the health problems he has suffered in 2002.

Hopefully we will all be together in 2003 for another year of great historic racing.


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