GOODWOOD REVIVAL, 05 SEPTEMBER 2003

AN EVENTFUL WEEKEND AT THE BEST EVENT OF ALL

There is no doubt that the Goodwood Revival Meeting hosted by the Earl of March and his massive team of staff run the best event anywhere in the world. There is simply nothing like it anywhere else and it is a must for any enthusiast – see Naples and die and visit Goodwood certainly go together in my mind!

This year we were doing something new – running someone else’s car. In this case it was the very rare and unusual Anglo-American Cooper F1 car from 1962 kindly loaned by Ean Pugh. Although the car was never really developed in period its history is intriguing and it remains in remarkably original condition thanks to Ean’s insistence on such things and the devotion to duty of his mechanic Chris Davies.

This year the car was prepared by Don Haldenby and we ran it one week earlier at the Oulton Park meeting to ensure all was well (see previous race report). Although Goodwood is always exciting we had not anticipated the excitement would start well before the meeting itself. Travelling down the M1 on Thursday evening the towing mechanism sheared off the motor home at 60mph allowing the race box and its precious cargo to run free. Thankfully a serious accident was avoided as the box made for the hard shoulder and ended up stranded right up a bank. With assistance from the police and the wonderful Bob Birrell the (now separate) box and motor home arrived in Goodwood at 2am.

First thing Friday morning we opened the box only to discover all was not well with quite a lot of damage. To the mechanically uneducated (like me) it all looked very serious but Don soon made the correct diagnosis. Basically the retaining straps had torn off the front anti-roll bars from the suspension mounts. The exhaust was bent and the rear bodywork was somewhat re-modelled. The treatment was fairly straightforward – remove the roll bars totally!

The first practice was therefore taken rather gently to ensure that there were no hidden problems and the lap time was very conservative. The car ran well although the steering was seriously heavy with lots of effort required for tuning corners with a huge amount of “kick-back”.

Official qualifying on Saturday saw faster lap times with almost 6 seconds shaved off the previous best – trying harder and later braking being the main reasons. However others had the same idea and we lost 3 slots on the grid!

The Sunday race was greeted by ominous skies and drops of rain – not what you want with a poor handling car owned by a kind friend! When the flag dropped the Citroen box co-operated and we got off the line well making up three places on the entry to Madgwick. The track was greasy and before long it was even slippier with some oil dropped by a spinning BRM. We ran a lonely race with few cars around us until suddenly the water temperature soared and the race was run. Switching off to avoid expensive damage I coasted to a halt on the main straight and watched the rest of the race from the marshal’s post. This was a great place to watch the cars – many different lines and approaches to the entry for Madgwick which is a notoriously difficult corner. A great dice between Dickie Attwood and Tomas Bscher resulted in a second victory in the race for the former works F1 BRM driver.

So another year over and although this was our first DNF at Goodwood the weekend was still a great experience. Thanks again to Ean Pugh for his generosity and trust. Thanks also to Don Haldenby who had a trying and somewhat scary weekend and to Bob Birrell who saved the day with his mercy mission on Thursday night. Next year we hope the Elva will be back again.

 

Back To Results Index