Wednesday, 02 August 2006 14:03

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2006

Written by  Carol Corliss
Text & Photographs by Carol Corliss                                                                                              This weekend of personalities, spectacle and superb machinery with a stately home thrown in is far too action packed to attempt a full coverage of every aspect of this great motoring weekend.  Instead, I have given the reader a flavour of what it is all about with biopics of items of interest, especially aimed at those of you who are in other parts of the world and may not have the opportunity to attend. The Earl of March, of Goodwood House is a true motoring enthusiast who happens to have the raw material at hand to lay on this world class event.
The essential difference between the Festival of Speed, held by the house with a hillclimb course using the estate road and the Revival meeting which uses the old Goodwood circuit is mainly that the Festival celebrates sporting cars of all ages with many modern drivers “Guesting”.  The September Revival meeting is aimed at the nostalgic era culminating in the closure of the circuit for racing in the early sixties. Period costume is encouraged with no advertising allowed on cars or overalls and any modern accessories (Phones etc) around the paddock are discouraged. One exception being cameras.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The overall theme for this year was the centenary of motor sport and with the clout that this meeting carries, many of the world’s rarest and greatest racing cars were there in force.  This anniversary is being celebrated in many ways this year but it is doubtful that the brilliant spectacle of Goodwood will be matched.                                                                                                          
 The sold out boards along the route south on the Friday told their own story as the show was as usual a sell out. One of the main crowd pullers was the Cathedral Paddock area where the early cars were housed. Some rarely seen cars were on view and driven up the hill. The collections of Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Schlumpf  (Now known as the Musee National de la Auto) and many others had contributed, giving the public chance to see the vehicles at close quarters and even better, hear the engines roar into life.                                                                                                                                                Since the historic motor racing scene is more active in the U.K., than anywhere else on earth, there were naturally a large number of delectable cars which are to be seen regularly in use at circuits throughout the year.  This should not mean that they can be taken for granted.  I do remember in the 1960s and 70s many great cars being driven in VSCC events which suddenly disappeared to be used as exhibits at museums and in private collections across the world.  As the ebb and flow of world finances evolves, so the cars become vulnerable at times to the Japanese yen or the dollar.  Sometimes as national fortunes change we are lucky enough to see the cars reappear, but not too often.  So make the most of the presence of these very special machines.                                                  One such car which is rarely seen out is the Straight 8 Ballot of Humphrey Milling.  Very technically advanced for its time, the Ballot has a 3 litre twin cam engine with 4 valves per cylinder. It was built for the Indianapolis 500 of 1920 and finished 2nd driven by Rene Thomas. In 1921 the car won the Italian GP and the following year was imported into England by Malcolm Campbell who campaigned the car very successfully for several years at Brooklands and other circuits.                                                                                                                                                                                                              The exhibits in this paddock ranged right through the spectrum of motoring from the1896 Benz Dogcart to the 1959 Dino 246 Ferrari, one of the last of the classic front engine design of G.P., cars.  Another interesting visitor had come from far distant shores. The 1906 Darraq of Ann Thompson from New Zealand is being very successfully campaigned in competition here this season. The car was owned by Malcolm Campbell early in its life. The parts of this car had been scattered far and wide over a period of time but with great dedication enough of the components were rounded up for highly respected N.Z. restorer, Wallace McNair, to build this recreation A fearsome machine. It is being driven in events very capably by Ann at events such as Mallory Park with great panache.                                                                                                                                                              
Julian Majzub was unfortunately unable to give the crowd the thrill of the 308 Alfa Romeo due to transmission problems. It was however on display in the paddock. The all conquering Alfa Tipo 33s were much admired too in the paddock, in 1975 the car won all but one of the World Sports Car Championship events.  One of the Sports Car racing legends, Nino Vaccarella a Sicilian schoolmaster (Wonder if he taught speedwriting?) was there to drive the factory entry.   The Alfa museum had also sent along one of the mighty 159 Alfettas. That along with the Tipo B P3 was attracting a lot of attention.                                                                                                                                                                                         
A few of the exhibits were re-creations. This I personally have no problem if there are no surviving examples to use. The models would otherwise be unrepresented. One such car was the delectable Lancia D24 this replica of the 1954 car was an asset in the paddock and much admired.  Providing that such cars are presented honestly, then they do have their place.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The Cartier “Style et Luxe” collection was a widely varied show of style which would have been state of the art in its time.  Not all of the exhibits were to my personal taste but of course that is the beauty of design, there should be something for everyone. The photos attached give a good indication of the wide spectrum of models on show.
As Alfa Romeo (UK) were my hosts for the weekend, I have included pictures of their impressive stand which had wonderful graphics depicting their enviable racing history.  
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