A record number of motor racing enthusiasts and retro-fashion fans flocked to this weekend’s Goodwood Revival (18-20 September) to join in the fun, and celebrations at the world’s largest historic motor race meeting.
The Goodwood Revival is now firmly established as a ‘must attend’ event, with visitors travelling from around the world to attend. The vast majority of the 134,000+ spectators came dressed in their finest 1950s and 1960s fashions, with tweed jackets and mini skirts abounding in the beautiful early autumn sunshine.
On the track Sir Stirling Moss – the planet’s fastest octogenarian – was honoured as he turned 80 with a moving tribute by Lord March and many of Stirling’s old friends. A stunning collection of 80 cars associated with the racing knight’s career paraded in his honour, lead by the great man in the Aston Martin DBR1 in which is clinched the Sports Car World Championship at Goodwood in 1959, as well as a cannon fire salute made by the Royal Horse Artillery, a fly past and all of the Goodwood Revival spectators signing happy birthday to him.
The 50th anniversary of Britain’s most-loved car, the Mini, was also marked on the circuit with a parade of 50 Minis of all shapes and sizes, including a distinctive green and black Mini, causing chaos and being driven from a roof-mounted armchair by Mr Bean, making his first-ever appearance in public.
On Saturday morning Mr Bean greeted surprise Goodwood visitor Lord Peter Mandelson with “Ah, Prime Minister” to which the First Secretary of State replied “Not yet.” Lord Mandelson went on to tour the Revival, stopping in at the event’s BGC Earls Court motor show exhibition to say a few words in support of the current British motor industry, which was well represented with many new UK-built cars making their British debut, including the Goodwood-built Rolls-Royce Ghost and new Jaguar XJ saloon. Lord Mandelson then moved on to have a brief dance to a live rock-n-roll band in the ‘Vintage at Goodwood’ marquee.
Another well-known face dropping into the Revival by UH-1 Huey helicopter was NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin. After being met by Lord March and driven around the Goodwood circuit in a large 1960’s convertible Ford Thunderbird, Buzz Aldrin joined Sir Terence Conran, James May and others to help judge the annual Freddie March Spirit of Aviation award – a concourse d’elegance for pre-1966 aircraft – which was won by a Bucker BU133C Jungmeister owned by Mark Rijkse. In the sky a series of stunning air displays included two fly pasts by the last airworthy example of the extraordinary Vulcan bomber.
On the track, the quality of motor racing was exceptional throughout the Revival weekend, with many nail-biting races and some thrills and spills along the way. Racing highlights included the thrilling St Mary’s race for saloon cars, which this year was held exclusively as a Mini-only race to honour the 50th anniversary of Britain’s most popular small car, with Oliver Gavin and Nick Swift taking a deserved victory. The £150million car grid for the RAC Tourist Trophy Race also made for an exciting race, with Bobby Rahal and chief Red Bull Formula One team engineer Adrian Newey taking the chequered flag. The exciting Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy motorcycle race featuring a Le Mans-style running start was won by a slim margin by Wayne Gardner and John-Lee Pemberton riding a 1966 matchless G50.
Some great period fashions, including sea of colourful mini skirts on Ladies Day (Saturday) helped seal the laid back, fun atmosphere of the 2009 Revival. The announcement of the new Vintage at Goodwood event, to be staged next 13-15 August 2010, also helped the great vibe, with live bands and dancing. In all, the general consensus was that the 2009 Goodwood Revival was the best one yet; a real ‘weekend in Heaven.’