Postcard from Goodwood – 73rd Members’ Meeting

Classic cars Motorsport
The pit straight at Goodwood. the clouds looked ominous, but rain stayed away for the 73rd Members' Meeting.

Goodwood is already famous for its two long-running motorsport events – the Goodwood Festival of Speed held every summer, and the Goodwood Revival held every September. And now there is a new event which deservedly takes its place alongside these two – the newly-revived Goodwood Members’ Meeting.

In the heyday of Goodwood’s operation as a contemporary motor racing circuit, from 1948 to 1966, a total of 71 BARC Members’ Meetings were held. These featured all sorts of events covering many different racing categories.  Last year, Lord March revived the idea and the 72nd Members’ Meeting was held after an absence of about 48 years.  It was a stunning success, and this year the 73rd Members’ Meeting built on the achievements of last year’s event. Tickets were far more strictly limited than for the Revival each September, so there was far more room to move around the circuit and paddock. For anyone who is used to a crushing crowd at either the Festival of Speed or Revival, this was a Goodwood event with a difference. The limited crowd size made the atmosphere more relaxed, and probably cut about an hour off the travel time each way…

Spectacular on-track action

A total of 12 races, plus practice and qualifying, were held over the two days of the event, along with some very special demonstration events. This year, the demonstration events were held for ‘high-airbox’ 1970s Formula One cars, Group C sports prototypes, and McLaren F1 GTRs.  There was also a unique ‘race’ between an historic 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.8 racing saloon (nicknamed the ‘Red Pig’), a new Mercedes-AMG GT S production car and a 2013 Mercedes-AMG Formula One car.  Watching (and hearing) the contemporary F1 car charging around the classic Goodwood circuit in pursuit of its prey was awe-inspiring.

The highlights were too numerous to mention, both on and off the track. Despite some of the racing cars being 90 years old, there was absolutely no suggestion of the drivers taking things easy to preserve their precious machines. As you would expect, the touring cars provided plenty of biffo in their two races, but plenty of the more exotic machines were right on the ragged edge as well. More than a few cars went home with battle scars, and two priceless sports cars will each require six-figure repairs after a 1955 Mercedes SLS (being piloted by no less a driver than Jochen Mass) at full noise ploughed hard into the back of a 1959 Lister-Jaguar which was pulling off track into the pits.  Thankfully no drivers were hurt, but the cars will require extensive repairs before they can turn a wheel again.

Spectacular off-track entertainment

As is always the case at Goodwood, the circuit and facilities were immaculately turned out. Many of the photos you can find of the event (including some of those here) show bright yellow daffodils all over the place – apparently one million of them were planted and all bloomed perfectly on time for the weekend. The official programme was a work of art in itself, and the off-track activities and entertainment were plentiful. On Saturday night there was an enormous party, featuring a carousel, helter skelter, performers of all sorts and even a Wall of Death. The night was brought to a close with a huge fireworks display that was visible for miles.

Book early for next year’s 74th Members’ Meeting…

The only downside is that after two years of spectacular success, the secret is now well and truly out. You can be sure that there will be a rush to secure tickets for next year’s event after a sell-out this year, so you are going to have to move fast when tickets for the 74th Members’ Meeting go on sale at the end of this year. In the meantime, there’s always the Festival of Speed and Revival to look forward to in the next few months!

Stuart Masson

Stuart is the Editor of The Car Expert, which he founded in 2011, and our new sister site The Van Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the car industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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