77th Goodwood Members’ Meeting

Cars Culture

Goodwood's Garden Party

The British springtime planned its moment perfectly, breaking cover in time to kick off the historic motoring calendar. Amongst the daffodils of West Sussex, the Duke of Richmond hosted the 77th Members’ Meeting at the nostalgic Goodwood Motor Circuit.

The annual, limited-entry gathering serves up period racing and modern machinery alike, allowing near-boundless access from paddock to pit and grandstand to grid.

By comparison to such season-headliners as Festival of Speed and the Revival meeting, the relaxed and compact atmosphere puts members up close and personal to the tireless teams, daring drivers and magnificent machines.

This year’s notable highlights included Porsche and Mini celebrations (50th and 60th years respectively), highspeed supercar demonstrations, famous faces on and off the track and heated competition between drivers, across a weekend of qualifying rounds and trophy races.

One of the greatest spectacles of the meeting was the 60 Minis for 60 years, celebrating the much-loved British icon, synonymous with the swinging sixties and the heyday of motorsport. Drawing some of the largest crowds of the weekend, and filling the grandstands, track walls and assembly area, were the two qualifying heats of Saturday, with 30 Minis a piece. Following a whittling of 60 down to 30, the fastest of the mighty Minis commenced battle for Sunday’s final showdown, in the Betty Richmond Trophy.

The little racers didn’t disappoint, with hard-fought corners, wheel-to-wheel sprints and the circuit coming alive to the soundtrack of that classic Mini engine whine.

The race result was a case of swift by name and swift by nature. Nick Swift of Swiftune Engineering crossed the line ahead of the pack, having narrowly taken the chequered flag from close competitor Nick Padmore, the pair having wrestled extremely closely in the previous qualifying heats.

Sunday served up another crowd pleaser, with the sight of 13-time F1 winner and one of motorsport’s true gents, David Coulthard. The Scot took plenty of time meandering through the ranks of Formula 1 fans, signing all manner of motorsport mementoes, before and after piloting one of the most beautiful pieces of machinery. His weapon of choice was the IWC Watches liveried Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. The 1950’s masterpiece is truly beautiful on static display, but watching it power down Lavant Straight, to win the Tony Gaze Trophy was an awesome sight indeed.

The excellence of the Members’ Meeting lies in an eclectic mix of features and races across the weekend, crafted to cater to multiple tastes and eras. Whether that’s the fire-breathing Fiat S76 ‘Beast of Turin’ duelling with Edwardian competitors in the S. F. Edge Trophy or classic saloons of the ‘70s and ‘80s (think cigarette liveried Capri’s or Leyland’s finest battling alongside Rover V8’s, Escorts and Mustangs) or maybe you come for the NASCARs, the 50th anniversary of Porsche’s 917 or the rare demonstration of BMW M1 Procars.

The point is, year on year, the intimate setting of the ex-RAF airfield plays host to one of the motoring season’s best-in-class events. It is, without a doubt, a lesson in how to throw a Springtime garden party with a select group of like-minded friends.

Words and all Photos:

Nick Chivers – https://nojam.org/