An accident has spoiled Charles March’s otherwise impressive first attempt at replacing the traditional British Motor Show.
Nearly 30,000 visitors turned out to sample Goodwood’s inaugural Thursday manufacturer preview day for the annual Festival of Speed today – an event billed as the Goodwood Moving Motor Show.
Although there were fears that access to test drives would be restricted to invited guests only, Autocar can confirm that several manufacturers are indeed allocating slots to the general public for a drive up the famous Goodwood hillclimb circuit, on a first come first served basis.
After several hours of successful test drives this morning however, all running was abruptly interrupted at 12.40pm after an accident occurred in Goodwood’s Moving Motor Show pavillion itself.
One of Honda’s Civic Type-R test cars collided with two stationary Jaguars before careering into a wall. Four bystanders were injured in the accident, none of them seriously.
The incident will be ammunition to those who warned that the Moving Motor Show, like any event involving moving cars and crowds of people sharing the same confined space, would be difficult to manage safely.
In reality, the accident would have been difficult to predict, and its fallout could have been much worse. The driver of the Honda that crashed blacked out just after he started the car, which caused him to lose control at low speed.
The Moving Motor Show was reopened just before 3.00pm this afternoon, after the damaged areas of the pavillion itself had been cleared and a police enquiry concluded.
More than twenty manufacturers are taking part in Moving Motor Show, most of them providing test drives to media, invited VIPS and interested customers only. Audi, Mazda, Volvo, Alfa Romeo and Peugeot are also seeking to accommodate requests to drive from show-goers, however.
“We’ve had a very positive reaction to the idea of a Festival preview day from both manufacturers and the public alike,” said Goodwood PR man Gary Axon.
“We sold more than 15,000 £20 tickets for the day to members of the public, on top of the 11,000 invitational tickets that manufacturers have given out, and were pleased to see people queueing to get into the show at 7am this morning.
“Many of the visitors who’ve come are treating the day simply as an extension of the regular festival: as a chance to look around the attractions while it’s quieter than it will be for the rest of the weekend, and for less than the regular admission price.
“But it’s also heartening to see that some of the manufacturers are entering into the spirit of the weekend and are making drive opportunities available on the day itself. Next year, we’ll certainly work towards making more slots available that way.”