Goodwood’s launch day is a bizarre, yet brilliant experience. All the key bits are there – the house, the hillclimb, the sunshine, sounds and scenery – but there are not many people, no PA system, no stands, and no queue to get in or out.
That’s the bizarre. The brilliant is the prospect of what awaits us at Festival and the new Moving Motor Show this summer, which you can read about in Steve Cropley’s blog.
There was also more than a touch of both the bizarre and the brilliant about an experience I had in meeting one of my heroes. Standing watching some of the luckier hacks scream up the hill in the latest exotica, a well spoken Scottish gentleman by the name of Anthony Reid (one of my heroes from the 1990s BTTC) approached me offering me a ride up the hill in a car he was commandeering for the day.
Maybe he was looking for someone innocent to terrify, but when I saw he had brought along a gorgeous Lola T290 I realised I was one of the only people there small enough to squeeze in the ‘passenger’ seat (otherwise known as a hole in the fibreglass body).
Anthony wasn’t driving in this particular run – the T290’s owner Rod Smith was the man tasked with that. It was my first ever ride in a two-seat open racer and the car’s agility is astounding considering it’s a 40-year-old seasoned racer. It’s incredibly quick, too – so quick in fact that Anthony expects to be faster than anyone in the timed hillclimb runs at the Festival this summer.
But if a story Rod told me was to be believed, Anthony might have had more important racing commitments this year. In 1991, he was offered an F1 drive his talents justified by Eddie Jordan – if he coughed up £2million.
As is often the case in F1, lack of funds kept one of motorsport’s more talented drivers out, so Eddie had to offer the drive to someone else. A little-know German by the name of Michael Schumacher. Rod says Anthony still has the letter EJ sent him hanging up in his toilet.
This revelation (not the toilet part...) made me think: I wonder how Schuey would get on at the famous hillclimb?