Goodwood Revival – Like a monkey on a mango!

Arch enthusiast, racer and all round historic type, Dave Gold, reports on his first experience of the Revival having ventured all the way from Toronto

I'm sure John, that anyone who drops by to read your musings has been to the Revival several times but each, even Diffey although he'll deny it, was a virgin at one time. I'd be interested to hear how much things have changed over the 10 years, as I cannot imagine that all those fine details that compound into the amazing event haven't been added and refined over the years.

As you know I was fully prepared to be amazed going in but I really didn't expect to be so totally absorbed by the entire happening. As you suggested, we probably only discovered a small portion of all the details that make this such a great event. My pal Mike is more of a petrol head than I am and recognized all the production stuff while I was better with the racecars. We were constantly poking one another and pointing at stuff and having the time of our lives.

Each day our primary focus was on watching the action on the track and in the air so we really didn't get to see much of the displays, car shows or racecars in the paddock. We breezed through the aircraft in about an hour on Saturday morning but as Mike said, could have spent 2 or 3 more hours. The only cars I really paid much attention to were the Juniors as I went over in search of Simon. You must have tipped him off that I was expecting a cuppa as he was nowhere to be found!!

So, the things that struck us / impressed us:

Getting there - is dead easy for even poor folk. A train to Chichester and a shuttle bus to the track. 4 GBP return and it terminates a short walk from the gate 11 near the end of the Lavant straight. The buses ran often and made quick work of the trip.

The property - it really is a beautiful setting all well tended and green. Leaving the airstrip as grass only adds to the picture.

The "scene" - so many people in great costumes. Mike was particularly fond of the ladies in those black and white Twiggy outfits. I took his picture with the Glam Cab girls too. They and all the other actors/models really are a lot of fun and seem to pop up everywhere. And aside from the vendors and many displays, period vehicles were fit in all through the area. Without question though the activity is pretty much centered along the straight from Woodcote to the start line so race watching from the banks in that area is really crowded.  

The track - is great for spectating. Great sightlines as it is relatively flat and there is nothing in the infield to obstruct the view. I was impressed with the grass verges that came up flush to the edge of the track. Dropping a wheel or 4 off did not mean instant disaster. The track surface was also unique. No cracks, patches or other repairs. How can you guys navigate this place without landmarks? Mosport for example suffers from not only our harsher winters but also an annual ALMS race. When those Audis put the power down the earth rotates backward.

The cars - I have had the pleasure of seeing a lot of the high end exotics primarily at the Sommet de Legends at Tremblant but at Goodwood I got to see all that odd stuff that I'm sure lives only in the UK. The cars of the Goodwood, Sussex, Freddie March, Fordwater and Richmond and Gordon were pretty well all new to me. The Lister Jag coupe in the TT was interesting and fast and I'll take the Ferguson and pray for rain any day. I wonder if the 4wd is still functional. The St. Mary's Trophy cars were, to say the least a strange lot. A Tatra? What's up with that?

The stars - weren't always or even often the high profile ex - F1 types. This was no surprise as I know UK racing is populated with some amazing ex BTTC and rally guys plus folks who raced up the ladder into F3 and such. Add in the Hadfield and Hall types and I knew it couldn't be done any better.

The racing - I was only partially prepared for the full on driving on display. Bad enough that some of the cars are worth millions but in many classes period safety is employed and that is truly scary. Watching a pack of RAC TT cars come sliding out of St. Mary's and then all being pitched into Lavant a foot or so apart was such a treat. I was standing near the exit to Madgwick and was really impressed by Rod Jolly in the Cooper. On entry he'd toss it sideways and I'll swear he didn't get full traction again until about half way to Fordwater.

The races - as much as I hate tin tops the Saturday St. Mary's race was a blast. This is such a great format and crowd pleaser. We were pulling for Andy Rouse in the PV544 - Mike had raced one - but we’re impressed at how well the chassis seemed to work and how smoothly he drove. Fast lap that day I believe. The TT was also a real grabber. Again the format added to the interest. Pretty much every race kept our interest but as is normal anywhere some became rather processional.

The friends of friends etc - Of course I watched the Chichester with interest as I do love Juniors and had Simon Diffey and Mike Lyons to cheer on. It certainly was a strong running, closely matched lot near the front. Mike looked to really be on the move and was closing on Simon at a rate that I thought would see them in combat. For some reason though the gap widened again and Mike fell back. Perhaps a minor bobble or, comfortably in position he decided not to tackle his coach.


Simon had what appeared to be a pretty miserable time with the Ferrari. Despite his animated driving style that resembled a sidecar passenger he could not will any speed out of the thing. Still, he was in a GP Ferrari and was not paying the bills so things aren't all that bad. We didn't stay for the Freddie March on Sat but I did see Simon out in practice in his ride for that event. I haven't looked at the race results but I'm sure he had fun.

Safety - I was prepared for the lack of modern safety standards for cars and drivers but was still astounded by some of the things I saw. I cringe when I see a modern open-faced helmet but there many others that looked '50s correct and totally worthless. Period rollover protection is also a worry. HANS devices? Yeah right. I wasn't paying attention but I hope Dunc Dayton was wearing one. I appears to me that a signed waiver is a valid document is a UK court of law and to me that is a good thing but jeez Louise doesn't anyone give a darn for their own safety? Maybe I should put my 1966 Cromwell c/w bubble shield up on e-bay UK.

The bikes - what a neat part of the weekend. All just a part of the unique diversity of the Revival

The planes - perhaps the most broadly appealing part of the event. The ladies went with us on Friday and "my" Sue really enjoyed the air shows. I can't get enough of those war birds either and enjoyed every minute. The major show on Sunday was really something to see.

Radio free Goodwood - what a great deal. Those earpieces worked great and the commentary team was super informative and always entertaining. Although there are loads of speakers around the circuit, the radios work even better.

The weather - It was amazing. Always around 20', mostly clear skies and a good breeze. Are we in California?

In writing to one of my gearhead pals who gets all weak in the knees whenever he encounters great cars, I described the Revival as being like 6 orgasms in about 6 hours but not quite as tiring. I think he got the picture.

And before I forget "Like a monkey on a mango" was the choice phrase used by the announcer to describe Mr. Stiffey as he was all over that miserable Ferrari in Friday practice. It really did look like his shorts were on fire as he tried to get on top of that porker.


Dave Gold



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