Sunday, 1 July 2012

Goodwood's Moving Motor Show

It was Roy Salvadori that was quoted as saying "Give me Goodwood on a summer's day and you can keep the rest". I had the opportunity to visit the Earl of March's estate again on Thursday, in the run-up to the weekend's Festival of Speed, and I can see what he meant. The park's setting in the Sussex Downs is indeed idyllic, and the weather, while not perfect, was still lovely, if a tad blustery. I have to say though that the organisation of getting (admittedly very many) spectators into and out of the place left something to be desired.

Signposts to the event clearly stated which way did not provide access, and showed the way that taxis were to go, but I found it extremely difficult to get myself in the way that the organisers (SEP events) wanted me to go. Even in Chichester, signposting was minimal; maybe more signs were being prepared for the weekend itself, but I found it quite unsatisfactory. Once parked, there was a fifteen minute wait for a tractor ride, which saved us a ten minute walk across the car park - and then no indication at all of where to go next - unless one knew that through the Aviation Exhibition lay the main entrance.

Once inside, though, Charlie March's organisation and attention to detail took over and everything ran far more smoothly. I have never attended the Festival of Speed - it had never really appealed to me, but complimentary tickets to the "Moving Motor Show" had been given to me by my local garage, and so I took the opportunity.

All of the exhibition space was open, as were the paddocks - and a great deal of effort was clearly being spent by many leading manufacturers to promote their brands.

Away from the corporate hospitality though, there were treats aplenty, with motor sporting vehicles on display representing more than 100 years of history. The most modern example was of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro - not the same chassis as the one which won Le Mans last month, but nevertheless a celebration of the 11th win by Audi in the 24 hours.

Elsewhere in the "Formula 1" paddock was the Eagle-Gurney Weslake (the same chassis that won at Spa in 1967? Possibly, I don't know), a Toyota TS030 Hybrid and Lotus cars in abundance.

The spooky thing I found here were so many cars that I remember seeing at race meetings, and yet for many, these are historic racers. It's not even the case that I'm particularly old!

In the "Cathedral Paddock" (conveniently not shown in the event programme that I paid £5 for) were a tremendous collection of Group C cars and other sports racers. These were joined by various iconic touring cars, among them a Nicola Larini Alfa 155 DTM car, a Klaus Ludwig Zakspeed Capri, and at least four Gerry Marshall Vauxhalls.

Various Le Mans winners were on display, although I have to admit I may have been taken in by a replica here or there. Porsche 956 and 962C were there, as were Jaguars from 1987, 1988 and 1990.

Lovely, very lovely.

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