“So it's a bit like a Dark Age Society or Civil War Recreation gathering then,” said the future Mrs Prior as I packed my tweed and brogues last week.

“No my love,” I said. “It's about the motor racing. The period clothing is just part of the spectacle. It's all about cars and bikes going fast.”

“Ah,” she said. “But those civil war recreation types say the same thing. 'It's about the battle, not the dressing up.' What's the difference?”

Hmmph. I was fairly sure there was a difference, but as I drove towards Goodwood Motor Circuit on Friday morning, I started to wonder.

Maybe that's how Goodwood is perceived by non-motoring enthusiasts: a bunch of well-to-do tweedies, pootling around a circuit, pretending to smoke pipes and reminiscing about how great the 1950s and '60s were. You know: rationing, polio, the Cuban missile crisis and all that. Happy days, what?