The rain had carved a deep channel into the middle of the track. I raised the Cayenne into WRC-spec and tip-toed across. With just three of our four wheels in touch with West Sussex for much of the time, we continued our ascent.
It was about now that I was starting to question our decision (the rougher it got, the more I shared responsibility for our current, precarious position).
Then we saw the top of the hill and tarmac. Gorgeous, glorious tarmac.
I was astonished. Undoubtedly, a knobblie-booted Land Rover Defender would have legged it up there in no time, but the Cayenne was awesome. Not once did we bottom out or lose traction. We didn’t even have to deploy the off-road mode. That would have been the last resort.
There’s no doubting the Cayenne GTS’ towering speed, epic poise and fabulously weighted steering, it’s everything and more you could ever want from a performance SUV on a B-road. The real surprise came on Chalk Lane.
Having made it through the gates to Goodwood a little later than expected, the family and – thermos – flask were unloaded for a weekend of full-bore fever.
This is an annual pilgrimage for the Evans family (World Rally Championship calendar permitting). The cars bring us, but it’s the atmosphere and ever-increasing awareness from manufacturers that this really is a family weekend.
Keen to congratulate Porsche on its Cayenne’s capabilities, we headed straight for last week’s Le Mans winner – stopping so Oliver could get a pic with the fly-slaughtering #19 car.
Not content with my tales of fearless off-road-ness, Porsche men Rob Punshon and Ali McCall packed us off to plough one of Lord March’s meadows with a Porsche Cayenne S.
I’m fortunate that my work takes me off-road and sideways quite a lot. I was sure the Porsche in a muddy field would be entertaining, but I wasn’t expecting much. Obviously, the speed wasn’t high, but the mechanical grip – let’s face it with summer tyres inch-deep in mud, the only sort of grip – was astonishing.
Running with the dampers in sport mode and traction control off, the car was sublime. Using weight transfer to drift from one corner of the field to the next, it was an absolute hoot. And the perfect start to the weekend.
Porsche’s family offering didn’t end there, with Hot Wheels races and the chance for the children to lap Silverstone in a Porsche 911. Both were taken and thoroughly enjoyed.