The Goodwood Revival

First published 14th September 2018

A day at the races.

Last week I had the privilege of attending the Goodwood Revival.

For those not in the know, it’s a three day festival, held each September at the Goodwood Circuit, that celebrates the racing cars and motorcycles that would have raced during the circuit’s original history from the late forties to the mid sixties.

There really is nothing else like it anywhere else in the world.  It’s a heady mixture of wheel to wheel racing from some of the most iconic and classic sports cars and bikes, paired with a crowd dressed as if they’ve just stepped back in time sixty years, mixed in with the action, noise and smells of a fully competitive race weekend. All set against the backdrop of the beautiful Sussex countryside.

It is one of the world’s most popular motor race meetings and the only United Kingdom event that recreates the golden era of motorsport. It’s loved by drivers and fans alike.

I’ve always been abroad that weekend, so when I was offered a ticket for practice day on Friday and I could go, I jumped at it.

It would also give me the opportunity to finally see my uncle’s pre-war single seater Alta race car in action. I played in it as a kid in his garage, but never saw it running.

Arriving at the track, the sheer scale of the event is overwhelming. As a photographer, it’s like being a kid in a sweet shop.

But even before you get to the cars, you’re greeted with the sight of the crowd.

People really make the effort to dress up. It’s a veritable sea of tweed, caps, dresses and hats. There are characters everywhere, especially including  the actors the organisers have dotted around.. 50’s bikers, 40’s workmen, 40’s landgirls, singers, washerwomen and spivs. There’s even a central shopping area with an old garage, laundrette, hairdressers, cinema and pub. The atmosphere is amazing.

“Gentlemen are required wear a tie and jacket” to gain entry to the paddock my badge advised. Good job I dressed up too.

I met up with my uncle and his team, prepping the car I used to muck around with for the race, now painted pea green and wearing a number twenty one. It’s a lifetime away from a modern racing garage, but just as effective. They overheated in qualifying, so had to virtually strip the front of the engine off to fix it, but they did. And came third in the Goodwood Trophy later in the day. Pretty good effort.

Wandering around the circuit is a non stop feast for the eyes. A static display of WW2 aircraft, the paddocks of the cars, the people. Even the members car parks on the walk up to Lavant corner is a treat. There is just so much to see here. I only scratched the surface of what the Revival has to offer.

First and foremost though is the racing, and there’s plenty of it. Real boys own stuff, full of cars we all had posters on our bedroom walls, and still lust after now, all battling wheel to wheel. The last race of the day on Friday evening, the Kinrara Trophy, is supposedly the most expensive car race in the world because of the value of the cars racing in it.

The Goodwood Revival has been called the best event on the UK calendar, and I’d agree. A fantastic step back in time, and a photographer’s dream.

Revival. We’ll meet again..

Text and photos by Nick England. Freelance photographer, old car petrolhead and director of England Studios

All images © 2018 Nick England

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