Similar to its sister event the Goodwood Revival is becoming more of a festival, a festival celebrating the best of Britain during the two post-war decades (1945-’65), arguably celebrating the country’s eccentricity and penchant for dressing-up as well, but still with motor sport at its heart.
Expanded for 2021, the Revival opened more of its track infield to visitors by erecting a new footbridge over the circuit at Madgwick corner where visitors gained a new “inside” view of the action along with an area to dine alfresco while watching the racing on a giant screen. From here it was just a short walk to the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation Concours lawns and the racecar Paddocks.
As in past years, and in addition to sensational racing, the event had features and commemorations which in 2021 started as soon as fans entered the gate! Greeted by yet another festival, this one to mark 70 years since the Festival of Britain exhibition, a celebration of all that was great in Britain during 1951 when millions of visitors flocked to London’s South Bank for the national showcase of British manufacturing and design. Both on and off the track there was yet another Platinum Jubilee, this year honoring Wally Parks founding the National Hot Rod Association in California, with the Revival hosting one of the largest ever gatherings of these mean machines in Europe, along with 16 of the infamous Rolling Bones cars from the U.S., with over 50 of the fuel-guzzling beasts cruising the circuit to open proceedings each day.
Five years earlier, in 1946, London held a Victory Parade. On Sunday afternoon the Revival held its own Victory event not only to mark 75 years since the original but also to recognize various sections of the UK community who have been in the front line of the fight against Covid. As a consequence, the pageant of 140 plus British and U.S. WWII vehicles was joined by health workers, police and members of the fire service in parading the circuit.
For motor racing fans, the two parades that probably held the most significance were those to recognize 70 years of BRM and the life of Stirling Moss. An incredible collection of BRMs took to the track each day, one of the largest ever assembled, including five V16s (one being the recreation model) and three Type 25s all swelling the ranks of 35-plus cars. Past works drivers Jackie Stewart, Howden Ganley and Richard Attwood were also on hand to complete the line-up. The sound of those V16s, although not successful in their day, was one of the highlights from the weekend.
Sir Stirling Moss, synonymous with Goodwood during his career and his retirement, died 18 months ago but because of Covid restrictions this was the Duke of Richmond’s first opportunity to pay homage to his friend. Saturday saw a special tribute to the great racing driver with the grid full of admirers and cars from “Mr Motor Racing’s” career. F1 World Champion’s Sir Jackie Stewart and Damon Hill spoke of their time spent with Stirling, Elliot Moss and Lady Susie Moss were moved to hear the words from the Duke recounting their father’s and husband’s remarkable career and zest for life. Bringing the occasion to a close was a lap of honor by many of Stirling’s racecars headed by his 1956 Mille Miglia-winning Mercedes 300SLR brought out from the Mercedes Museum especially for the tribute. With Sir Stirling’s widow lady Susie sitting in the passenger seat we were told this would be the final ever running of 300SLR #722 at a public track-farewell to the legend and his machine.
The heart of the Revival is historic machines and racing them, 2021 didn’t disappoint.
Friday evening saw the first race now re-named the Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy an into-the-dusk 1-hour, 2-driver race for pre-1963 closed cockpit GT cars. Ex-GP driver Martin Brundle swoped 1st place with fellow E-type racer Jon Minshaw for the first 30 battling minutes, but Martin’s son Alex took over and soon crashed out at Woodcote on his own oil after an engine failure. Within seconds the E-Type driven by Calum Lockie found the oil too, hitting the barrier just meters away from Alex bringing out the safety car for 15 minutes. James Cottingham went on to win with the E-Type he shared with Harvey Stanley. Cottingham also took Saturday’s Sussex Trophy in his Tojeiro Jaguar from Sam Hancock’s Ferrari 246S Dino, after a race-long dice.
There were high hopes F1 World Champion Jenson Button would be successful in his initial attempt at historic racing, but this was not to be. Starting from the front row for Sunday’s Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration race, Jenson fumbled his change off the line in the Cobra changing from 1st to 4th gear and slipping to 9th place by the first corner, however as a World Champion he fought his way back up the order handing over to teammate Alex Buncombe while contesting the lead. Unfortunately, during Buncombe’s stint a misfire set in, forcing the Cobra to retire. Le Mans racer Darren Turner and Oliver Bryant took victory in the one-hour 2-driver race by finishing second! Former Le Mans winner and Glickenhaus driver Romain Dumas came over the line 1st after fending off Bryant for most of the race, only for the Cobra he co-drove with Bill Shepherd to be relegated to 4th place for a driver-change infringement.
Saloons in the two-part St Mary’s Trophy race put on their usual 3-wheel, door handle banging show with Dumas and Shepherd winning on aggregate in the Ford Thunderbird dwarfing the 2nd placed family Jordan Austin A40. But that was not the end of the show for saloons as 2021 was the year of the Mini Cooper. The “John Whitmore-60 Years of the Mini Cooper” 45-minute, 2-driver race had a field of 30 Morris and Austin Coopers going wheel to wheel. After a race full of the usual Mini antics Nick Swift and Andrew Jordan took the honors.
Typical British Autumn weather graced the weekend, a mixture of sun and light cloud, that is until the Brooklands Trophy race, a 25-minute, two-driver race for post-vintage thoroughbred sports cars, when the Heavens opened. No wet tires or slicks in the 1920/’30s, just ordinary tires, so out they went, most with open cockpits to give a fantastic display of visible car control and rooster tails as they drifted and slid their way to the finish, with the soaking victory going to the Frazer Nash TT Replica of Duncan Pittaway and Eddie Williams.
Despite Covid causing cancellation in 2020, the Revival has returned, dare we say revived, with more space and attractions. For 2021, despite Covid again, more punters than ever took a wander down memory lane, albeit a rose tinted lane, that leads to the once a year, 3-day world that’s the Goodwood Revival.
[button link=”https://vintageracecar.com/goodwood-revival-photo-gallery-3/” size=”large” color=”blue”]Click here to view our Photo Gallery from the 2021 Goodwood Revival[/button]