The fourth modern-day Goodwood Members’ Meeting took place at the 2.40-mile West Sussex race circuit this weekend, with a host of thrilling races for historic racing machinery forming the centrepiece of an event that has established itself as the third jewel in the Goodwood motoring crown.
Smaller and consequently more accessible than the summer's Festival of Speed and less formal than the autumn's Revival, the Member's Meeting possesses an 'anything goes' vibe that enables a 28-litre 1911 Fiat S76 from 1911 to grace the same track as a Porsche 911 GT1 from 1998 (albeit not in the same race, thankfully).
The modern incarnation of the event was founded by Goodwood owner Lord March in 2014 to recreate the atmosphere and camaraderie of the original BARC Members’ Meetings held at the West Sussex race circuit. The British Automobile Racing Club staged 71 events between 1949 and 1966, and the numbering sequence has been continued into the modern era, with this year’s meeting being the 75th.
This year’s two-day affair featured a dozen races, including one for motorcycles, and three demonstration runs that proved every bit as head-turning as the competitive action.
The parades celebrated three of the most iconic periods in motorsport history. The first, for 3-litre Sport Prototypes, featured Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Matra, Lola and Mirage. The second, Legends of GT1, gathered together a spellbinding collection of late-1990s and early 2000s endurance racing cars. The final parade was for Group A Touring Cars, which was split into two sections, the first for early GpA machines such as the Rover SD1, BMW 635CSI and Volvo 240 Turbo, and the second part for later cars like the Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 and BMW M3.
The opening race on Saturday was the Derek Bell Cup for one-litre Formula Three ‘screamers’, and pole-sitter Andrew Hibberd overcame a grassy moment on the opening lap to streak clear in his Brabham BT18. His margin of victory was 38.335sec. Conversely, Sam Wilson (Tecno) fended off Peter Thompson (Brabham) for second position by just 0.36sec.
Race two, the Gerry Marshall Trophy, was a two-driver affair for touring cars. Pole position fell to Mark Blundell and Kerry Michael in a Ford Escort RS2000, but a penalty for a jumped start hampered their chances. The Chevrolet Camaro Z28 of Nigel Garrett and Stuart Graham took up the running, before the Rover SD1 of Gordon Shedden and Chris Ward moved to the fore and pulled clear for a convincing victory.
The Weslake Cup for A-Series-engined sports and GT cars that raced between 1958 and 1966 kick-started Sunday’s action in fine style. Victory eventually fell to James Colburn (Lenham Sprite GT) who had a terrific scrap with pole man Richard Woolmer (Austin Healey Sebring Sprite) in the opening laps. Woolmer retired after a collision with another car as he recovered from a high-speed spin. After a red flag to clear the cars damaged in that incident, Colburn controlled the second part of the race.