Goodwood motor circuit was born shortly after the RAF closed their Westhampnett base at the end of the Second World War and the landowner, Freddie March, decided to turn the perimeter road into a Motor Circuit. For 18 years it became one of the most prestigious tracks in the world before closing its doors in 1966.
Fifty years after that first meeting in 1948 it reopened it doors once more and Goodwood Revival was born. It has now been going for longer, and if visitor numbers are anything to go by, is more popular now than it ever was “back then”. Held every September the cars on the track stay true to that original period, and so do the fashions of those that attend.
People wear everything from classic nursing uniforms from the 1940s, to landgirl dungarees. From Mary Quant skirts to beatniks with Brylcreme. Even if you don’t think you are really a fan of cars it is well worth going along for the day just to be a part of such a great crowd. And if you don’t have anything to wear you could always just rock up in your “civvies” and buy something from one of the stall holders that greet you as you walk towards the track from the car park.
It is broken up in to two main areas. The main arena and “Over the Road”. The latter is the bit you arrive into first of all and is where you will find food vendors, period dress stalls, Bonhams Auction and the fun fair. You could easily spend all day here and it is perfect for all the family. You should also make sure you spend some time looking at the cars in the car parks as some of them can be spectacular, and worth millions.
Once you leave “Over the Road” you head up over the stair case and into the main event and the Revival High Street. More places to eat, buy clothes and generally get into the mood of the time. It is easy to imagine that you really are in a 1950s tea house as you queue up. And you also get your first glimpses of the cars on the track.
There are races throughout the day that you can either watch from the edge of the track, or you can buy tickets for the Grandstands and sit down all day to watch, or come and go as you please. But a note of warning. You cannot buy tickets on the day. If you want to view from the grandstands you MUST buy tickets when you buy your main tickets. Which also need to be bought ahead of time. You can’t rock up on the day and expect to just pay to go in. It is very much a cashless site (apart from vendors) with Goodwood making a point of not selling tickets on the day to avoid having to move large amounts of cash.
Sadly my photos of all of this are lacking somewhat because when we went on Saturday it was tipping it down and juggling an umbrella with a camera was virtually impossible, and nobody was really in the mood to stop and pose.
Next year though!
We did, however, make a point of seeing the 1966 “Road to Wembley” parade, followed by the children’s pedal powered race (the latter getting the biggest cheer of the day as they lined up)
You can also go through the tunnel (be prepared to queue for a few minutes as it can be a real bottle neck) to go through to the paddocks and the Earls Court Motor Show. Here you can wander around and see the cars that are venturing out on to the circuit, up close and personal. (though for the main paddock you need to be a GRRC member). You can also see the aviation exhibits too and get a real sense of how the area felt back when it was originally built.
These three are worth about Fifty Million Dollars. Each.
Don’t forget to also keep an out for famous drivers too. The one above had me fixated to such an extent that I missed the other car following it that had Sir Jackie Stewart at the wheel. And the car below took part in a race of purely Austin A30 and A35 cars, this one driven by Rown Atkinson.
It is rapidly becoming one of my favourite days out, even in the rain!
Sadly there are no pics of Jonnie or I, but I do have one of Mr B in his 1940s officer’s dress suit, complete with his dad’s hat and tie