Over the last few years, the Goodwood Members’ Meeting became known for one thing: the weather. Much as the racing was top-notch, what we really remembered was huddling around braziers wearing so many layers that it was hard to tell who was who. This year, the Duke of Richmond fought back and, I’m glad to say, he won. By moving the date back slightly and deploying so many firepits it looked like a scene from Game of Thrones, this year all we had to concentrate on were the cars and the drivers, blessed as we were by lovely spring weather.
And, as ever, the Members’ Meeting reminded us just what a special event it is. Minis seemed to be everywhere and celebrated their 60th anniversary with three races on the card. Nick Swift took the laurels in the final after a huge tussle with Nick Padmore and some cracking racing that delighted the crowds; I’m sure this single-marque race will return.
For lovers of our Festival of the Unexceptional, the Gerry Marshall Trophy was just the tonic, with two races: the first won by Neel Jani and James Wood in their Rover 3500 SD1 against a fantastic field of 1970s and ‘80s touring cars and some world-class drivers. James offers us his unique perspective from the driver’s seat elsewhere in this edition, so I won’t steal his thunder.
In terms of the sheer beauty of the cars on the grid, the Graham Hill Trophy just edged the others with a stunning field including three Porsche 904s, four Jaguar E-Types, Aston Martin DP214 and the Bizzarrini GT 5300 Competition Lightweight of Alexander Van Der Lof and Yelmer Buurman. The TVR Griffith of Mike Jordan and Mike Whittaker dominated proceedings until a loose exhaust put them out of the race and left the E-Type ‘Semi-lightweight’ of John Minshaw and Phil Keen to take the flag. The TVR of Tiff Needell and John Spiers finished second, with the Ferrari 250 GTO/64 of Nick Pastorelli and James Cottingham taking third.
As ever, the high-speed demonstrations were a highlight of the meeting. Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the model, five examples of the Porsche 917 were driven including Porsche’s own newly-restored 917 chassis 001, the Le Mans-winning 917K in Gulf Oil colours and the astonishing 917/30 Sunoco Can Am Spyder producing over 1,200bhp. BMW M1 Procars were also celebrated with a great field producing a wonderful spectacle.
One of the delights of the Members’ Meeting is the almost total lack of restricted areas. With the exception of the track, the immediate pit area, the forming up area and the drivers’ club, the whole circuit is open to everyone. This gives superb access to the cars and drivers; at one point I was waiting near the pits and I noticed Emanuele Pirro stopping next to me. I realised he was talking to Richard Attwood, one of the drivers responsible for Porsche’s first Le Mans victory in 1970, and then the pair were joined by Jochen Mass. Nowhere else will you find this level of access without paying a huge amount of money. Long may it last.
Full Results of the Goodwood 77th Members’ Meeting, 6-7 April 2019
Race 1, Betty Richmond Trophy Heat 1: Ian Curley, No 46 (1966 Mini Cooper S)
Race 2, Betty Richmond Trophy Heat 2: Nick Swift, No 76 (1963 Morris Mini Cooper S)
Race 3, Gerry Marshall Trophy Race 1: Jani/Wood, No 6 (Rover 3500 SD1)
Race 4, Parnell Cup: William Nuthall, No 21 (1952 Alta F2)
Race 5, Derek Bell Cup: Ben Mitchell, No 16 (1968 Brabham-Ford BT28)
Race 6, Sheene Trophy: Graham Higlett, No 50 (1972 Rob North Triumph T150)
Race 7, Tony Gaze Trophy: David Coulthard, No 68 (1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’)
Race 8, John Duff Trophy: Gregor Fisken, No 14 (1925 Vauxhall 30-98 Brooklands Special)
Race 9, Graham Hill Trophy: Minshaw/Keen, No 33 (1963 Jaguar E-Type ‘Semi-Lightweight’)
Race 10, Gerry Marshall Sprint: Stig Blomqvist, No 16 (Rover 3500 SD1)
Race 11, SF Edge Trophy: Julian Majzub, No 25 (1916 Sunbeam ‘Indianapolis’)
Race 12, Betty Richmond Trophy Final: Nick Swift, No 76 (1963 Morris Mini Cooper S)
Race 14, Gurney Cup: Cameron Jackson, No 52 (1964 Crossle-Oldsmobile Mk5S)
Race 15, Peter Collins Trophy: John Pearson, No 18 (1955 Jaguar D-Type)