The early rain has cleared over the Goodwood Motor Circuit this morning to reveal another incredible array of cars lined-up in their paddocks and ready to storm the track. The 75th Goodwood Members’ Meeting will witness twelve races unfold throughout the weekend, cars venturing on-track spanning a century of motorsport history.
The event kicked-off in true Goodwood style last night when, to the delight of Lord March’s guests at the Members’ Meeting Governor’s Ball, a dozen incredibly noisy 2-stroke 250 and 350cc Grand Prix motorcycles tore through Goodwood House. Guests included former Grand Prix stars to say nothing of Mary Berry…
The Derek Bell Cup for one-litre Formula Three cars will kick off the action this afternoon, Martin Hibbert planting his ex-Chequered Flag Brabham on pole in convincing fashion earlier today. Also expect plenty of wheel-to-wheel action in the ever-popular Gerry Marshall Trophy for 1970-82 saloon cars. This evening’s two-driver race will see car owners share with current stars and past-maters on a flat-out charge into dusk. Legendary aces such as Robert Ravaglia, Andy Priaux, Rob Huff, Stuart Graham, Gerhard Berger,Tom Kristensen and Mark Blundell will be sure to put on a show, the result determining the starting order for Sunday’s single-driver, reverse-grid sprint race.
As well as the action on the famous Goodwood Motor Circuit, the Members’ Meeting will feature a huge range of attractions for all the family off-track, including a Bonhams’ auction, an exclusive event on Saturday evening and a wide variety of food and entertainment throughout.
The 75th Members’ Meeting drew to a close with a convincing win for Simon Hadfield during a spectacular Surtees Trophy encounter. The fastest race of the weekend for sports-prototypes that ran from 1962-66 saw the veteran driver blast his Lola T70 into an immediate lead as soon as the flag descended. He was never headed despite a safety car period after Laurie Bennett went off at St. Mary’s following a robust challenge, with other cars colliding after he regained the track. Once the race restarted, Hadfield scampered away, with Lola T70 man Tony Sinclair leading home Ford GT40 driver Sam Hancock after fighting for the podium positions.
Reverse Grid Racing
Chris Ward picked up from where he left off yesterday to win Sunday’s instalment of the Gerry Marshall Trophy. The reverse-grid race worked brilliantly, with the fastest cars from Saturday’s race starting from the back of the field before working their way to the front. There was no stopping the blisteringly quick Rover SD1 of Ward, the veteran charger tearing up the order to take the lead three-quarters of the way into the 20min encounter. The star of the race for many, however, was Jim Morris in his Volkswagen Golf GTi who valiantly led for much of the distance, only to be bundled down to fourth with only a few minutes left to run.
An elated Ward said: ‘What a fantastic race. I loved it. What a great format, too. The driving standards out there were fantastic which made all the difference.”
Touring Car Titans
Touring car racing has long been a central theme at Goodwood, both in period and since the circuit reopened in 1998. This year, the Members’ Meeting is honouring the much-missed Group A category that blossomed during the 1980s. A wide variety of cars that competed in period have been taking to the track over the course of the weekend, ranging from the sublime (Jaguar XJ-S) to the faintly ridiculous (the ultra-rapid Volvo 240 Turbo ‘Flying Brick) via Rover SD1 Vitesse, BMW M3 and Sierra RS500. Not only that, ’80s tin-top heroes such as Steve Soper and Roberto Ravaglia have been steering them.
Colburn Stars in Sunday’s Opener
James Colburn claimed honours in an incident-filled Weslake Cup which kicked off Sunday’s on-track action. Teenage sensation Richard Woolmer, who starred in yesterday’s wet qualifying aboard his Sebring Sprite, was slow off the line, James Colburn blasting into the lead from the outside of the front row in his Lenham Sprite GT as the flag descended. They proceeded to streak into the distance, swapping the lead repeatedly only for a safety car period to bunch up the field and obliterate their advantage. The race was restarted shortly before half-distance, only for Woolmer and James Dean in Stephen Skipworth’s Ecosse Sprite to connect almost immediately. Both cars were eliminated on the spot, fortunately without injury to either driver.
The race was red-flagged, but Colburn was never headed once racing resumed although battles raged down the order right until the end.
“That was a great scrap with Richard,” the winner said later. “It certainly woke me up on a Sunday morning. It’s such a pleasure to be here and what a great race. It was fantastic.”
Rover Duo Dominate in Touring Car Thriller
Rover SD1 duo Gordon Shedden and Chris Ward pulled off a convincing victory in the Gerry Marshall Trophy race for 1970-82 saloon cars which brought Saturday’s on-track action to a close. Former Le Mans winner Mark Blundell was first to leave the line, albeit after jumping the start for which he received a 10sec penalty, but it was Stuart Graham who starred in the early laps aboard Nigel Garrett’s Camaro Z/28. However, Shedden and Ward soon asserted their dominance following the driver changes 20min in as the Camaro of Graeme and Oliver Bryant moved into second place with Garrett circulating in third. The safety car was deployed at two-third distance after Mike Wilds connected with the tyre wall in a Mazda RX-7, which erased the leaders’ 45sec lead at a stroke. Nevertheless, they clung on once racing resumed until the chequered flag descended after 52mins of fabulous racing.
Touring car star Shedden said later: “It was a fantastic win, and the Rover was much more fun to drive in the dry than this morning in the wet. It was huge fun, but the lights were at best average!”
Hibberd Leaves F3 Field in his Wake
Andrew Hibberd was in a class of one as he claimed honours in the Derek Bell Cup at the 75th Members’ Meeting. The race for one-litre Formula Three ‘Screamers’ saw plenty of action up and down the order, with pole-sitter Hibberd surviving a grassy moment on the first lap to establish an unshakable lead. He simply disappeared into the distance during the 20-minute rate, steering the ex-Chequered Flag Brabham BT18 which won at Goodwood in period. Hibberd’s victory margin was an astonishing 39sec.
The jubilant victor said later: “It’s such a great track which really suits this type of car. I love this circuit and the Members’ Meeting is a great event.”