Goodwood Revival 2003

Part one: Setting the Scene

by Peter Radcliffe


Over the next few issues of A43 I will attempt to give readers an insight to the revival meeting. For those who have visited the event much of what we show may be familiar but for those who have not yet been or are from abroad it may perhaps give a little insight as to why this is my must see event of the year. Yes it even comes before the Le Mans 24 hours in pleasure. (I usually find I am working too hard at Le Mans to really enjoy it).

I had visited and enjoyed the Festival for several years and when Lord March announced the first Revival meeting Jackie and I decided that we should go. I had for years told Jackie how much fun and how exciting motor racing was in the sixties and also how different the personalities were, how approachable they were and that for most the sport was just that not a means to millions. Jackie is 18 years younger than me and her first hero was Ayrton Senna and by that time I had long stopped enjoying Formula One.
We read in the build up that spectators were being encouraged to dress in period, a trip to our local fancy dress shop saw suitable outfits and off we went to what was to become an annual pilgrimage. Our first hint of arrival was the shriek of a Rolls Royce Merlin very few feet overhead. It was Ray Hannah having just completed his much celebrated flight down the finish straight at very few feet!


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I think Jackie's first surprise was that on entering the paddock just about the first face she saw was Stirling Moss; "Do you think he would sign my Programme?" Which he did with pleasure and a chat. A little later we saw Dickie Attwood talking to Stirling, after explaining that, said Mr Attwood had won Le Mans amongst other achievements she asked him for his signature; "Oh you don't want me, this man is much more famous than me" Stirling put his arm around Jackie and made a slightly rude comment along the lines that he had had her already! 

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The event continued along much the same lines, Barry Sheene said "Blimey you look like my Mum"
before gallantly adding that of course she did not look as old as him mum was now! Those autographs in that first programme and in subsequent years in the Goodwood Year books plus our photographs are the memories for our old age. At the end of the first revival maybe Jackie thought my stories were not just the ramblings of a slightly demented old man!

Every effort is made to recreate the atmosphere of the sixties, yes perhaps sometimes it is a little over the top but it is above all a fun day out. Great racing great sport and great fun and despite being England in September usually great weather. Most of the buildings have been recreated to appear as from Goodwood's past, transport in the circuit area is period, a GT40 pace car for instance.


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Goodwood also has a war time history and that too is honoured with the flying displays and again the Flying club area and the use of WWII vehicles on the site. The track infield is mainly harvested and as can be seen the hay is stacked the old fashioned way even using steam power for the process.
The costumes are colourful, some of the police really are police and of course it could not be England without the WI (Womans Institute) cake stall.

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It is not all play though and in amongst the fun is the quiet dignified Garden of Remembrance
The pictures here I hope will set the scene, In future articles we will cover the cars in greater detail