I left Euston tube station London at 6.15 AM for Victoria Station to catch the 7.17am train for Chichester near Goodwood. The trip took one and a half hours through the southern English countryside. On arrival at Chichester I found a couple of people in period costume selling tickets for transport to the track on an old Reg Varney style Leyland double-decker bus, this set the mood for the day. After seeing the lines of cars waiting to park I was sure I chose the right mode of transport .The Bus Stop was outside the circuit?and next to about 4 hectares of trade outlets, everything from restoration companies, period clothing, car parts,?Bonhams? Auction marquee and even period baby prams. After a quick look at the trade area it was time to line up for my pre-purchased ticket which I bought on-line with advice from Phil and Judy Barnard who I knew were going for the 3 days, but didn’t see amongst the vast crowd.?
Once through the gates it was like going back in time, people were in period dress from 1930s to 1960s, it was amazing the effort people went to. There were lots of bars, dining areas and people with picnics on the grass. I think it?s like the Melbourne Cup where people go there and not see a race.
As it was Friday and mostly heats and practice for Saturday and Sunday, I thought there wouldn’t many people there?and wouldn’t need a grandstand pass – big mistake! I managed?to get a good position for the GT 40s, front-engined GP cars 1930 to 1950, rear-engined GP cars 1956 to 1962, production saloon cars 1960 to 1966 which included everything from Mini Cooper Ss and Renault 8s all the way up to Galaxie 500s.
It was a great spectacle in the damp conditions. There was a Barry Sheen Memorial Trophy heat for 500cc bikes raced between 1962 and 1966. Wayne Gardner was a feature rider on a?499cc Matchless G50 .There was also a Tribute Lap for Jim Clark, marking 50 years since he won his first Formula 1 race, with a stream or cars he had driven including the Ford Lotus Cortina he drove so well. There was also a great air display with WW2 Hurricanes, ?Spitfires, Mustangs and a restored Canberra PR9 jet bomber.
Before I left for the UK, John Fowler told me to make sure I have a look in the Goodwood car park. It was good advice, I spent the last two hours wandering around the 500 or so sporting classics and talking to owners, some from as far away as Holland and France, it was a bit like Breakfast Club on steroids.
So, at about 5.30pm I tore myself away, back to the double-decker?bus to Chichester station, then trained it back to London by 8.00pm to my wife Dellas, who spent the day sight-seeing and shopping with our niece and her baby, she doesn’t know what she missed.
It was a great day one of the best of the 35 days we?ve spent away. I could tell you about the drama’s?of driving a Fiat 500L around France and Belgium, but that?s another story.
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