Goodwood Revival 2014

After the grey skies, cold air and heavy rains of 2013, enthusiasts soaked up the best of England’s autumn as Goodwood’s annual historic extravaganza once more asserted itself as perhaps the finest motor racing spectacle in the world. Broad blue skies played host to the most evocative aeroplanes while the racing on track was as fierce and fair as always. It was manna from heaven for those blessed with petrol or kerosene in their veins.

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As always, major tributes were paid to significant anniversaries and important contributors to Goodwood lore. Sir Jackie Stewart was a driver without peer during the late 1960s and early 1970s and his single seater career was kick-started after a successful F3 test for Ken Tyrrell around Goodwood in 1964. He was a BRM grand prix driver within a year. The incredible breadth of the Scot’s career was showcased during parade laps on each of the Revival’s three days. Sir Jackie and his two sons, Paul and Mark, took turns aboard Matra and Tyrrell F1 cars while behind was everything from Lightweight E-Type 4WPD to thundering Can Am McLaren M20. It was a fitting tribute to a man of rare skill and humility.

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60 years of both Jaguar D-Type and Maserati 250F earned high speed demo laps – with the Lavant Cup brought out of hibernation for a special race for D-Types and its XKSS derivative. The 250F, history’s most numerous grand prix car, was given a special recreation of the Monza pitlane for the weekend. Every conceivable derivative was in attendance including the mighty be-finned Eldorado Special that Sir Stirling Moss drove (until the steering broke at huge speed) at the Monza Race of Two Worlds in 1958.

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As if that wasn’t sufficient pageantry, the first racing car on track each day was the mighty BRM P15 – one of the ludicrous V16 grand prix flops. Apparently firing on all 16 tiny cylinders, the extraordinary sound had spectators diverting from their morning coffees in wonder. Of similar capacity though rather different execution was Ferrari’s 1964 title-winning 158. 50 years since his world championship, John Surtees demonstrated the gorgeous scarlet machine with considerable verve, the crisp wail of its V8 given an empty track for full sonic delight.

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During the early 1940s the Goodwood race circuit had yet to be conceived but the roads which came to form the track were the perimeter apron of RAF Westhampnett. As a satellite to Tangmere, Westhampnett housed Douglas Bader’s fighter squadron, with Spitfires and Hurricanes flying sorties from its grass runways. This heritage is celebrated each year at the Revival with stunning display flights from a variety of old warbirds and 2014 was no exception.

The unique (and probably never-to-be-repeated) spectacle of two Avro Lancasters flying in formation wowed onlookers. Flanked by the aforementioned fighters, the Battle of Britain Memorial Lancaster was joined by its Canadian cousin and together the pair performed awesome low flights, eight Merlins rattling the ribcage and assaulting the eardrums.

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The remarkable pace of aviation development was illustrated by the Lancaster’s successor, the Canberra’s otherworldly shape. Flanked by a brace of Hunters, this trio brought the jet age into sharp focus and showcased the sheer ferocity of four Avon jets on fast runs. It was a visceral and articulate demonstration of the speed of progress in the immediate post-war years.

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Sunday lunchtime and our host, Lord March, gave his customary speech. This year it was a moving tribute to those who took part in the D-Day landings in Normandy, 70 years on. Over 20 veterans of that crucial liberation were in attendance and cruised the circuit as passengers in period Jeeps as part of an enormous military cavalcade in celebration of the area’s role in the Second World War. It was lump in the throat stuff and a stark reminder of how Europe gazed over the precipice of central socialist rule during the middle of the previous century.

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Off-track and the elaborate set-dressing stepped up a gear and the general public continued to embrace period dress with remarkable conviction. This period theatre, though, should not be seen to detract from what remains a very serious historic race meeting, played out on the finest stage and by the finest cast in the world. Once more the event attract the most significant cars and fastest drivers including, for the first time in many years, an attendance from the world of contemporary grand prix racing in the form of Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde.

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Sussex Trophy

Racing opened on Friday evening with a special Sussex Trophy for sports racing cars of the late 1950s. An hour long, two-driver slug-fest into the dusk, it didn’t disappoint. On pole was the Ferrari 246 Dino of Nick Leventis and Godwood folk hero Bobby Verdon-Roe. B V-R had annexed pole with a lap of unnerving commitment late on during Friday morning’s qualifying session and it was clear start driver Leventis couldn’t equal this pace. The Ferrari dropped back during the early phase of the race.

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From the off, though, it was John Minshaw in his singing Lister Jaguar who took the lead. The Demon Tweeks boss looked comfortable at the front and put clear air between his Lister and his pursuers, headed by Alastair McCaig and the evergreen Gary Pearson. The Minshaw car resumed in the lead after the pitstops but a slick stop by the Leventis Ferrari crew had brought Verdon-Roe out with a chance. He launched into a series of sub-qualifying time laps, the lithe Ferrari gently drifting through Madgwick with peerless grace. Sadly for the Scuderia’s devoted fans, even this performance wasn’t enough to usurp the leader for Minshaw had handed over to Phil Keen. Now a regular performer aboard the varied Minshaw historic stable, Keen looked as comfortable drifting the Lister as he does leaning on the downforce of a contemporary Radical sports racer. He never looked troubled, in spite of the threat posed by the Ferrari.

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Behind this lead battle, a huge and representative field did battle, offering a typically varied soundtrack. Marino Franchitti started from the pitlane in his father-in-law Nick Mason’s Maserati Type 61 ‘Birdcage’. His gentle touch aboard the diminutive Italian juxtaposed Julian Majzub’s approach in the fearsome Sadler. Akin to riding an untamed Bronco, Majzub’s efforts to bring sanity to the Canadian sports car’s cockpit were as entertaining as always. Rarely – if ever – pointing in a straight line, the combo’s progress provided considerable entertainment. Chris Ward, Andrew Smith and Gary Pearson all battled hard for the final podium position in Listers Jaguar and Chevy motivated. It was a breathless way to close out the opening day’s activities and the huge crowds were relieved that the biblical rains of 2013’s dusk race weren’t repeated as they filed out, already excited for another two days of action.

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Goodwood Trophy

Saturday opened with considerable drama. The traditional 20 minute thrash for GP and Voiturette cars of the pre-1951 period was awash with ERAs, Bugattis, Alfa Romeos and Maseratis from a golden era of single seater racing. Pole sitter and favourite was Mark Gillies aboard ERA R3A. Adopting his customary relaxed pose, Gillies once more demonstrated his total mastery of car and circuit – one of those rare combinations of man and machine operating in perfect synergy. Gillies is unusual among drivers of these cars, possessing a beautiful deft touch, allowing the car room to breathe through Goodwood’s long undulating fast corners. No dramatic ‘arms n elbows’ stuff for this American, his efficiency of motion an absolute privilege to witness.

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Gillies’ nearest challenger was Calum Lockie, piloting Sean Danaher’s Maserati 6CM with enthusiasm befitting the task – though how he found himself looking considerably the worse for wear decorated with bright red lipstick on Friday evening should probably remain between him and the photographer. James Baxter got to grips with the works development ERA, R4D, and took a stint in the lead early on before the safety car intervened.

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The safety car had emerged to neutralise a very concerning incident. Klaus Lehr lost control of his Maserati 4CLT into Madgwick, skidding across grass before striking the tyre wall, still at considerable speed. As the car spun upon impact with the barrier, Lehr was hurled from his machine, skating across the grass – mercifully away from the still-gyrating Maserati. To the relief of everyone, Lehr was quickly back on his feet, checking the integrity of his spectacles and making his way to a secure spot to sit down and regain his composure. It was a lucky escape but an incident all the more frightening given the terrible few years the historic racing community has suffered recently.

Chichester Cup

Formula Junior around Goodwood is seldom dull but even by the elevated standards expected of the category, 2014’s Chichester Cup was a stunner. This year, the rotation brought late-era cars together meaning disc brakes and rear engines. Pole sitter Dave Methley spun away his advantage at St Mary’s early in the race. This left leading Junior exponents Sam Wilson and John Millicevic embroiled in their usual combat, with Jonathan Hughes in close attendance. Methley, meanwhile was several seconds back but lapping faster than all the drivers ahead of him.

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With Millcevic and Wilson swapping places in their respective Cooper and Lotus, Methley was making good progress and latched onto the lead pair with a handful of laps remaining. It took all of his guile to snatch a late lead that he was able to hold to the end, taking the flag just ahead of Wilson and Millicevic. All three had relished the scrap and seemed genuinely delighted to have gone toe-to-toe with one another. In isolation, Millicevic’s qualifying runs were simply epic: less sideways than Methley, lap after lap he nudged the inside front wheel onto the white line, the rears subtly oversteering in the perfect arc. Truly an artisan at work and an honour to behold.

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St Mary’s Trophy Part 1

Saturday’s customary lunchtime headliner, the St Mary’s Trophy, this year accepted saloon cars from the 1950s once again. A great crowd pleaser every time, this year an unprecedented number of contemporary touring car aces took part and the crowd was treated to Matt Neal, Gordon Sheddan, Andrew Jordan, Fabizio Giovanardi, Jason Plato and Rob Huff out in force against an all-star cast from all disciplines.

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A frantic start saw the leaders arrive three-abreast into Madgwick with a similarly clustered pack sharpening its elbows behind. It was Andrew Jordan in the family Austin A40 who screamed into an early lead. In close attendance, Emanuele Pirro belied his qualifying form to create a break-away pack, joined by Anthony Reid – as sideways as always in the Jaguar Mk 1. Darren Turner’s Austin A40 looked less comfortable over Goodwood’s bumps, pitching noticeably compared to Jordan’s similar mount.

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The battle at the front ebbed and flowed as the leaders met traffic but there was barely more than a cigarette paper between these leading protagonists. Reid eventually used the big Jag’s superior grunt to take a win by a margin which would prove decisive in Sunday’s second aggregate leg. Next up Mark Blundell and Jackie Oliver went to war over the lower top-six placings, Blundell in a Ford Zodiac, Oliver in his little motorcycle-engined BMW 700. Sadly contact derailed their battle but it was mighty while it lasted.

Shelby Cup

A one-off in recognition of the Ford Mustang’s 50th birthday was the Shelby Cup – a 45 minute two-driver thrash for small block V8 powered saloons. A thundering field of Mustangs was joined by Falcon Sprints, Plymouth Barracudas and others. A host of star names joined the car owners to create a unique slip-sliding spectacle, accompanied by that signature off-beat soundtrack and belches of flame from side-exit exhausts.

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The early running was all about Rob Hall at the front, as fast as ever in Martin Melling’s Falcon Sprint. Keeping him honest was contemporary touring car star Mat Jackson, taking the opening stint in Henry Mann’s gorgeous Mustang, a legacy of Henry’s father the late Alan Mann. Just behind this squabbling pair were Roger Wills and Mike Gardiner in Mercury Comet Cyclone and Falcon Sprint respectively.

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The complexion of the race hinged on an incident at Lavant which left Rowan Atkinson’s Falcon stricken on the grass apron on the outside of the corner. A dejected Atkinson trudged across the gravel as the field dived into the pits for compulsory driver changes. A quick stop brought Niki Faulkner out with a commanding lead as the safety car peeled in – the Rush driving choreographer having taken over Gardiner’s Falcon.

Behind him Henry Mann was aboard the red and gold Mustang was relishing the fight but even his committed antics couldn’t break Faulkner who traded fastest laps with Mann – albeit half a dozen seconds apart on the track. The battle for third, though, was breathless. Jason Minshaw had taken over the leading Falcon Sprint but the car had lost considerable time during the stops. Ever the fighter, Minshaw set about chasing an unlikely win, flirting with the grass on the outside of St Mary’s before finally over-stepping the mark and running wide. This allowed Emanuele Pirro to close in, the Italian having assumed the driver’s seat of the Wills Comet Cyclone.

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This was the battle of the race, with no quarter given and it was apparent both men were relishing the fight. In the final reckoning, Pirro took the bottom step of the podium and was jubilant in response. The Shelby Cup: Goodwood, we implore you to make it an annual fixture.

Lavant Cup

After the heated battle of the small blocks, the Lavant Cup was an altogether more civilised affair. A race dedicated to Jaguar D-Types and their road-going derivative the XKSS, this was unprecedented, even by Goodwood standards. Being driven with suitable respect – dare one say reverence? – this wasn’t the hand-to-hand combat of the saloon races. At the front, the Revival’s most successful driver and vastly experienced Jaguar competitor, Gary Pearson, led away.

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Christian Glasel wasn’t prepared to let Pearson have an easy ride and the pair drove away from the rest of the field, though Glasel struggled to get within a couple of seconds of the master. Further back, Andy Wallace was travelling mighty quickly in the 1955 Le Mans winner, though confessed to a certain degree of trepidation over the car’s unique provenance and enormous value. A Le Mans victor for Jaguar at 1988, he looked composed under the circumstances. Fellow Le Mans winner Derek Bell was behind the wheel of an Ecurie Ecosse short nose and flying, despite being into his eighth decade. Third place eventually went, though, to Gregor Fisken, the first short nose home.

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Whitsun Trophy

Saturday closed with the hotly-anticipated Whitsun Trophy for 1960s ‘big banger’ sports cars. McLaren’s road car test driver extraordinaire, Chris Goodwin, was looking for a second Goodwood victory of the season after taking his ex-works M1B to victory at March’s 72nd Members’ Meeting. A beautifully judged pole lap wasn’t converted and Andrew Smith powered the former David Hobbs Lola T70 into an early lead.

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Former Whitsun Trophy winner Jay Esterer looked off colour all weekend, his Chinook not being conveyed with his customary conviction but he held third as Goodwin set off in pursuit of Smith. The Canadian did take fastest lap along the way but never looked a threat for the win. Goodwin snatched the lead into Madgwick and pulled away for a comfortable win.

Revival 2014.017 Revival 2014.016Enthusiastic Italian Piero Enrico Tonetti had emerged from nowhere to show real pace at the Members’ Meeting and this was again reflected at the Revival as he hurled his potent Huffaker Genie around with abandon. He took second on the road but the organisers felt his abandon a little over the top (especially as he was involved in a move at St Mary’s which took out Smith) and awarded him a time penalty. This elevated the subdued Esterer to third and a surprised David Hart to second. Goodwin, meanwhile, was peerless; a model of speed and precision driving a fearsome car. His drives will be discussed in hallowed tones in years to come.

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Fordwater Trophy

Sunday morning and another packed day of track activity to look forward to. Opening with the Fordwater Trophy for production GT cars meant the weekend’s most prosaic machinery. The racing, though, was anything but ordinary and a vast miscellany of sports cars warmed up the crowds perfectly.

As the pack streamed through St Mary’s on the opening lap, Alan Collett’s fine yellow Iso Rivolta appeared stage right, clearly out of control and gyrating across the grass. With generous run-off still damp with morning dew, Collett took advantage the opportunity to challenge for the unofficial title of ‘furthest skid from the track in Revival history’ as he continued deep into the long grass, bringing to mind Jackie Stewart’s escapades at Silverstone in 1973.

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With the Rivolta out of contention, the lead battle fell to four men with Lee Mumford assuming a narrow margin ahead of Andrew Smith’s Porsche 901, Nigel Winchester’s similar G4 and the hard-charging Triumph TR4 of Alan Ross-Jones. Ross-Jones snatched second from Smith with a move that started at the exit of Lavant and set about the lead; he and Mumford both revelling in the oversteering balance of their respective mounts. Despite his best endeavours, Mumford couldn’t keep Ross-Jones behind and it was Triumph from Ginetta at the flag. Behind the leading pack, every conceivable 1960s sports car entertained from Ferrari 275 GTB to Ogle – and with everything in between.

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Richmond Trophy

The Richmond Trophy had a sting in the tail. Julian Bronson lead from the start, his Scarab now running beautifully after a protracted restoration following a lengthy dry storage in Tom Wheatcroft’s Donington Collection. Bronson’s Scarab was joined by the brace owned by American Don Orosco. Togeter with son Patrick, Orosco is a keen exponent of the Revival and the sight and sound of the Offenhauser-engined made a fascinating contrast with the European rivals from BRM, Maserati, Lotus and Aston Martin.

Bronson held a slender lead from hard charger Roger Wills in his familiar Lotus 16, who himself had his mirrors full of Tony Woods’ Tec Mec Maserati. There was no room for any hint of an error from these three. None was forthcoming.

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Behind them, Patrick Orosco faced gearbox woes and had slowed out of the chicane early in the race. Having got to grips with the problem, he was soon lapping at the leaders’ pace; though several seconds in arrears. Stuart Rolt held fourth in the Ferguson P99, using its four wheel drive capabilities during a grass-tracking session at Lavant.

On the last lap, Bronson suddenly slowed at Lavant, pulling over at the corner exit and into retirement. A grateful Wills sailed through to victory, but pulled over on the slowing down lap to commiserate with his rival: sportsmanship lives on at the Revival. This perhaps atoned for Wills losing a certain win aboard his Cooper at the Members’ Meeting earlier in the season. The podium was completed by a surprised Rolt, driving the car his father developed.

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St Mary’s Trophy Part 2

The second leg of the St Mary’s Trophy was another thriller, headed by a ferocious three-way tussle for the lead between Justin Law and Grant Williams in Mk1 Jags and Mike Jordan in the Austin A40, driven with such conviction by son Andrew the previous day. Williams moved into an early lead and held off an approach from Law as the pair went side-by-side through the flat out Fordwater right-hander in a move which took the breath from one’s lungs.

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The race was all about these three as the rest of the pack was left trailing in their wake. Williams was eventually dropped, left to showboat to the crowd’s delight. Law and Jordan battled on, with Law looking comfortable until St Mary’s on the final lap when he suddenly slowed. He continued but Jordan was past into Lavant in a flash. He held his nerve to win but Law had done just enough to take the aggregate victory with Anthony Reid.

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RAC TT Celebration

The RAC TT Celebration: the big one. This is perhaps the greatest prize in historic racing and the organisers had taken a subtly different approach, easing back the ferocity of competition just a notch. Gone this year were the previously all-conquering Lightweight E-Types of Adrian Newey and Juan Barazi, so too the Glasel Daytona Cobra, Frankel Lister Coupe, 330 LMB and a low-key driver line-up was billeted in the Bamford GTO/64.

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Away from the flag and it was David Hart who took an early lead. The Dutchman was using more of the track than anybody else through the terrifying fast right at Fordwater and had looked equally committed in qualifying: he really wanted this one. He continued to pull out a healthy lead ahead of Andrew Smith (seemingly in every race this year) in the Bryant Cobra, which had suffered such bad luck in previous years. Behind this pair, it was anyone’s race with Darren Turner looking handy in the #17 Cobra, Joe Collasacco in the seismic Maserati Tipo 151, Chris Beighton running well in the Sunbeam Lister Tiger and Jamie McIntyre keeping his ISO Bizzarini near the front in preparation for co-pilot Bobby Verdon-Roe.

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Hart stretched his advantage from Smith while the pack behind squabbled over the minor placings – if any finish in the TT could be described as ‘minor’. The race’s rhythm was disturbed when Ludovic Caron shunted his Cobra heavily into the Madgwick tyres in an accident not dissimilar to that which befell Martin Stretton some years ago. The Bizzarini in which Stretton crashed, incidentally, returned to racing in the TT, retiring at around half-distance; sad after such a pain-staking rebuild.

The safety car emerged and the pack dived for the pits causing total confusion for spectators. When everything had shuffled out, Giedo van der Garde had managed to keep the #1 car in the lead he inherited from David Hart and the #2 Cobra was right on his tail, now in the hands of regular driver and top historic competitor, Oliver Bryant. It was the F1 racer vs the historic ace – the gloves were off.

It was advantage Bryant almost immediately. Van der Garde misjudged his braking point into Lavant, sliding benignly onto the grass. Bryant needed no second invitation and nipped through. He assumed a slim lead which remained relative static for several laps.

Behind things were equally interesting. Derek Hill was aboard the Maserati and flying – as he always does around Goodwood. He was a safe third. Behind him it was anyone’s guess how things might transpire as invariably the quicker of the two drivers in each of the cars was now on board. Matt Nicholl-Jones was flying and braking later than anybody into No Name. Bobby Verdon-Roe was now aboard the Bizzarini and trading lap times with Nicholl-Jones. Sadly the pair made gentle contact at Lavant, which cost B V-R the most. There was to be no return to winning ways for either Bizzarini or B V-R.

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Gary Pearson had quietly moved the #16 Jaguar E-Type into contention before handing over to Chris Harris who was driving a smooth, defensive race but couldn’t keep Nicholl-Jones behind for long, such was the pace and commitment of the Goodwood debutant. Matt Neal was now in the Lister Tiger and engaged in a tremendous scrap with Andrew Jordan’s Cobra. The pair was never more than a second apart and apparently relishing the battle. Last year’s winning combination of Aston Martin DP212 and Simon Hadfield, meanwhile, had been reunited and were unfancied in dry conditions. Hadfield, though, was lapping on the pace of the leaders. His composure and sheer speed through the fast section out at the back of the track was a joy to behold. One can only wonder at how the car might’ve done with two Simon Hadfields on the driving front…

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Back at the front and there was suddenly significant intrigue: Bryant slowed into Lavant, his hand out of the window beckoning van der Garde through. Van der Garde seemed as surprised by this development as the assembled onlookers, almost tripping over Bryant as he snatched the lead. Bryant seemed to resume his previous pace but all, it seemed, was not well as he drew the car to a halt on the outside of St Mary’s and rested his head in his hands. Next year, Olly.

It was a Dutch victory, with the big Maserati taking second after a couple of difficult – and damaging – races in previous years, while Matt Nicholl-Jones’s heroics brought him and co-driver Robin Liddell third. It was one of those races you wanted to immediately re-watch simply to catch up on all the action you’d missed along the way. A hard-earned win and Hart will doubtless be back next year to defend his title.

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Glover Trophy

In recent years, Andy Middlehurst has made the Glover Trophy his own. His smooth mastery of Lotus Type 25, chassis R4 has created one of the iconic Revival car/driver combinations. 2014 wasn’t a typical Middlehurst walkover though and Sam Wilson annexed pole in Alan Baillie’s Lotus 24. The 24 went lame overnight and Wilson surprised even the commentating team by emerging at the back of the pack in Baillie’s Cooper T73 – the car in which Wilson crushed the opposition at the 72nd Members’ Meeting in March.

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With Wilson out of contention for the win, it seemed Middlehurst might have an easy run at things. It was a surprise, then, to find the master relegated as low as fourth during the early laps as he was swamped by James King’s Brabham BT7, Joe Colasacco’s glorious Ferrari 1512 and Mark Piercy’s Lola with Middlehurst’s Type 25 buddy, Nick Fennell in close attendance. Early leader Piercy dropped out only a lap or two into the race.

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A golden opportunity for the opposition was missed as Fennell’s Lotus limped into retirement and Colasacco clumsily tripped over a backmarker to put himself out of the race and bring out the safety car. With the accident cleared away it was game on and Middlehurst lost no time in reasserting himself. King, though, had other ideas and the pair swapped places throughout the remaining laps. It was four in a row for the Lotus man, though, as he held the American off by a whisker. One suspects this battle will resume in 2015.

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Freddie March Memorial Trophy

The Freddie March Memorial Trophy closed the meeting and provided perhaps the weekend’s most obvious victorious combination. The Scot Darren McWhirter has a strong winning habit around Goodwood, piloting the family Lagonda V12 with far greater success than it ever enjoyed in period. Pole, however, had fallen to Sam Hancock who was having a go in the Cunningham C4R recreation of Ben Shuckburgh. He admitted that maintaining that kind of pace in the wild Cunningham would be a tall ask – and so it proved.

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Hancock used the mighty Chrysler grunt of the Cunningham to lead off the line but it looked a pretty wild ride. His adversary McWhirter looked in total control by comparison – and so it became the Scot who assumed the lead once he’d figured out where he could use the Lagonda’s superior agility and handling to best advantage. He stretched out a strong lead from Hancock who was comfortable in fourth. Robert Newall was enjoying an anonymous run to third before retirement. That elevated Adrian Willmott onto the podium following a combative drive in which he’d diced closely with Nick Findburgh’s Jaguar C-Type.

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And with that, the end of another Goodwood Revival – the greatest racing spectacle on earth. Can it really be another six months before the 73rd Members’ Meeting?

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