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Edgy Edwardians star in SpeedWeek potpourri

Marcus Pye Reports

Curated to showcase the best aspects of the Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed and Revival - all lost to the COVID-19 pandemic this year - SpeedWeek was a colourful mix of motor sport genre performed behind closed doors at the motor circuit on October 16-18.  Streamed live, it provided a snapshot of the brand to loyal sponsors, GRRC members and Fellowship subscribers and petrolheads globally.  Filling the void was always going to be tall order, but overall the stopgap, which hung in the balance as lockdowns loomed and international travel logistics changed throughout its gestation, probably succeeded.

Drifting illustrated raw power in a bizarre tyre-frying skill set

For competitors, support teams, demo participants and those of us there covering the event it was very strange not having tens of thousands of spectators enjoying the opportunity to don genteel vintage wear, or buzzing grandstands, or commercial partners’ hospitality suites, or even the hurly-burly of myriad sideshows and trade stalls around the campus.  Nonetheless, at the heart of the three-day show, the core product was as strong as ever.  Unmistakably Goodwood, but without the motorcycle brigade, omnipresent since the inaugural FoS of 1993.

Seventy Years of Formula One and a Silk Cut Jaguar reunion brought daily colour.   Photo Courtesy MotoHistorics

 

The ‘Rally Super Special’ worked well, its seven short stages run in daylight and darkness.  Drifting - while not, perhaps, to the hardcore enthusiasts’ taste - illustrated raw power in a bizarre tyre-frying skill set.  While the Goodwood Hillclimb record-holding Volkswagen ID-R was a late withdrawal, the Shootout for the lap record brought surprises across a broad spectrum of machinery.  Seventy Years of Formula One and a Silk Cut Jaguar reunion brought daily colour, building to The Duke of Richmond & Gordon’s heartfelt tribute to ‘Mr Goodwood’, Stirling Moss.

Freed from the constraints of the Revival’s Pre-1966 timeline the race programme still commanded most excitement. 

Appropriately Gregor Marshall was on pole for the Gerry Marshall Sprint race in his Vauxhall Firenza.  Photo Jason Ingold

For spectacular motoring, nothing could match the SF Edge Trophy double-header for Edwardian cars in the spirit of the BARC’s remarkable Brooklands era, before that track was closed by the war in 1939.  The sight of four very different cars and their apparently fearless drivers doing battle was akin to a motorised chariot race of the early 20th century.  Ben Collings in the Sinsheim Museum’s Blitzen Benz Land Speed Record car; Mark Walker’s thunderous 200bhp Darracq - which completed a 1,000-mile return trip to Europe last year; hirsute son Hughie on the Hildyard family’s 10-litre aero-engined Theophile Schneider and Julian Mazjub’s sublime Indianapolis Sunbeam (which finished fourth at ‘The Brickyard’ in 1916, with Belgian Joseph Christiaens) were the protagonists at the field’s sharp end in two five-lap jousts.

Will Nuthall and Miles Grif ths battled at the head of the Richmond & Gordon Trophies pack

The Goodwood Trophy contest for Grand Prix cars and Voiturettes of 1930-‘51 went the way of David Morris in ERA R11B -  nicknamed ‘Humphrey’ for the marque’s financier Humphrey Cook, while the Glover Trophy was a period 1500cc F1 fixture of the ‘61-‘65 epoch, carrying much prestige among historic racers.  This time McLaren GT star Michael O’Brien, 26, put a cat among the pigeons by coming out in veteran Alan Baillie’s Lotus twin-cam engined Brabham BT14, Rodney Bloor’s period mount. 

Marino Franchitti was uncatchable in Nick Mason’s Maserati Birdcage in the Lavant Cup

The earliest sports racing cars on the programme were those of the 1952-‘60 era that populated the Lavant Cup race.  Marino Franchitti was uncatchable in Nick Mason’s Maserati Birdcage, try as James Cottingham (Tojeiro-Jaguar) did, ramping up the pressure when his Scottish rival’s rear tyres overheated. 

 

 

Two big double-driver Gran Turismo races were on the bill.  Cottingham’s day was Friday when team-mate Harvey Stanley battled Gary Pearson in the Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy Pre-‘63 event in similar Jaguar E-types. 

The Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy Celebration brought a magnificent Pre-‘65 field into focus.  Three-time Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer finally broke the ex-Peter Lumsden/Peter Sargent ‘63 race-contending Lister-Jaguar coupe’s luck - and the eight-year-old lap record - to the delight of its latest custodian Fred Wakeman.

The Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy for Pre-‘63 cars was last race of the meeting on Sunday evening

The Whitsun Trophy Pre-‘66 big-banger sports prototype race rewarded Mike Whitaker for the second time in his Lola-Chevrolet T70.  His task was aided by the early demise of Tony Sinclair, whose similar car was spun out at St Mary’s, leaving Gordon Shedden and James Cottingham disputing second in Ford GT40s. 

Two tin-top grids brought action aplenty as ever.  Driving Bill Shepherd’s ex-Bo Ljungfeldt Ford Galaxie, Stig Blomqvist beat Nic Minassian in Adrian Willmott’s Studebaker Lark Daytona 500 by 0.283s in Saturday’s celebrity leg of the St Mary’s Trophy Pre-‘66 contest. 

The later Group 1 cars of the 1970s - a Members’ Meeting favourite - saw Fred Shepherd drive a superb opening stint in the mini-enduro - bringing dad Bill’s Boss Mustang back from sixth to snatch the lead from Mike Whitaker (Capri 3.0S) - then handed over to Andre Lotterer with the lusty V8 in perfect condition. 

The reverse grid Sprint race - appropriately with Gregor Marshall on pole in his Vauxhall Firenza ‘droop-snoot’ - again started dramatically when Jason Brooks’ Mini 1275GT tagged the inside kerb and flipped through St Mary’s, causing a bomb-burst avoidance and the inevitable stoppage. 

After a busy weekend hopping from car to car across the race programme, Historic lap record holder former FIA Historic F1 champion Nick Padmore underlined his versatility in an ex-Derek Warwick 3.5-litre Arrows-Ford DFR A11 of a subsequent era.  From a short standing start through the timing beam Nick put together a splendid 1m09.973s (122.44mph) lap to win the Shootout on Sunday. 

Read the full report in our December 2020 issue