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.
Race four was the Brabham Trophy for rear-engined Grand Prix cars of a type that raced between 1954 and 1960. Sam Wilson (Lotus 18) made a strong start from the middle of the front row, but Andy Middlehurst soon made his way through the lead and was pulling clear until mechanical problems struck his Lotus. The story thereafter was how Andrew Hibberd recovered from a slow start to pass Wilson and win by 1.06sec.
The sole race for motorcycles was the Hailwood Trophy for two-stroke 250cc and 350cc Grand Prix motorcycles of a type that raced between 1970 and 1984. It was dominated by Mike Edwards on a Yamaha TZ350E.
The sixth event, the Scott Brown Trophy, was contested by a huge field of Listers and honoured Archie Scott Brown, who overcame a physical handicap to achieve great things in Lister racing cars. Philip Keen won in a Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly’.
The Delage DH V12 of Mathias Sielecki used its prodigious power to edge out the more nimble GN Curtiss of Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in the SF Edge Trophy, arguably the most remarkable race of the meeting. Named after pre-war racer and record-breaker Selwyn Francis Edge, the event catered for Edwardian Specials of a type that raced up to 1923.
The Graham Hill Trophy for 1960-66 GT racing cars went to the TVR Griffith 400 of Mike Jordan and Mike Whitaker. The little TVR muscled in on a scrap between two AC Cobras, driven by Michael Gans/Andrew Wolfe and Shaun Lynn/Emanuele Pirro. Jordan, driving the TVR at the end of the race, overtook Wolfe around the outside to claim the lead and pulled away as the Cobra began to struggle with a slow puncture.
Christian Gläsel (Alfa Romeo Tipo B) won the Varzi Trophy for French and Italian Grand Prix and Voiturette cars of a type that raced up to 1939. The second Gerry Marshall Trophy race, this time a shorter event with no driver changes, went the way of Chris Ward, who followed up on Saturday’s success with a 2.65sec victory of Mike Whitaker.
Ground-shaking V8-powered pre-1966 touring cars took centre stage in the Pierpoint Cup. Steve Soper led away in his Ford Mustang, but got embroiled in a heated battle with Craig Davies that culminated in them both going off the circuit. Davies recovered and went on to win.
The final race was the Surtees Trophy for CanAm machines. In the gathering dusk, Simon Hadfield and Tony Sinclair fought it out in their Lola-Chevrolet T70 Spyders, with the former making a break after a mid-race safety car period.
Another non-competitive stand-out moment was former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard harrying a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing around the circuit.
Among a number of emotional tributes to John Surtees, who died earlier this month, was ‘a minute of noise’, during which those in the paddock were invited to rev the engines of their cars in a tribute to the 1964 world champion and Goodwood stalwart.