The annual Goodwood Revival is as much an aural experience as it is a visual one. Throughout the three days of the event at the historic Goodwood motor racing circuit, close to England’s south coast, there is the constant roar of engines: from the thump of the single cylinder 500cc Manx Norton race bikes; through the revving of the small capacity race cars such as Cooper-Nortons and Bond Triumphs competing in the Earl of March Trophy; to the larger capacity machinery in the production car races and on through the GT machines, prototype racers and Grand Prix cars before the aviation display takes over when the Supermarine Spitfires, Mustang P-40Cs and Hawker Hurricanes fly wingtip-to-wingtip above the race track.
A walk around the pits as the race machinery is prepared brings the snarl of highly-tuned engines even closer and the experience is heightened by the smell of high octane fuel and burning oil after the cars and bikes have been pushed to the limit on the track. In fact, some of the drivers are prepared to go beyond the limit and the sound of body panels being hammered back into shape can be heard as mechanics work furiously to get a car ready for the next track session.
Moving away from the paddock and taking a walking along the Revival’s High Street captures the mood of the 1960s with the traditional rivalry of the Mods and Rockers recreated by a line-up of café racers outside the period-styled Tesco supermarket, while across the road the Mods sit astride their Lambretta and Vespa scooters outside the Caffe de Longi.
It is not only the Mods and Rockers who are dressed in period costume, throughout the whole of the Revival site visitors are wearing anything from army and air force uniforms of the ‘40s through the rock and roll glamour of the Teddy boy era of the late ‘50s and on to the flower power colour of ‘60s hippies.
Given the motor racing heritage of the Revival there are plenty of mechanics and race marshals in the standard issue white, one-piece overalls of the post-war time, albeit grease stained and oily. There’s a strong transatlantic feel around the site too, especially in Gasoline Alley where the ‘60s American drag race cars, more commonly known as gassers, are on display and close by there’s the Hornets motorcycle club paying homage to the US Booze Fighters bike club, whose exploits at the Hollister motorcycle rally in the ‘50s inspired the Marlon Brando film The Wild Ones. Here the Hornets are happy to sit back on their bobbed Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycles and enjoy the rock ‘n’ roll being played by the bands on the ‘Bullet’ stage.
Rock ‘n’ roll is not the only music on offer across the weekend at the 2015 Goodwood Revival. Harking back to the austerity of the immediate post-war years, the Bridge Stage in the ‘Over the Bridge’ area has a rotating line-up of vocal harmony groups playing music hall standards. The traditional flavour continues on the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation Bandstand where jazz and brass bands are playing throughout the day. Back Over the Road in the Doom bar tent the theme is once again more modern with US surf pop and beat combos jangling guitars in a ‘60s style.
While the music may be the soundtrack of the Goodwood Revival for some visitors, for other it is most certainly the sound of the engines on the race track with the likes of former motorcycle racers Kevin Schwantz, Freddie Spencer and Steve Parrish lining up alongside current riders such as Jeremy McWilliams, Michael Neeves, and Michael Rutter to compete in the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy.
It’s a similar story for the four-wheeled races where celebrities take to the track side-by-side with famous racers. From the world of TV and sports there are such names as celebrity TV chef James Martin, Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, TV presenter Alain de Cadenet, and from TV’s Dragon’s Den Theo Paphitis. All of them keen to try and better the record of 1m 20.4s for the 2.38-mile course, jointly set by Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart in 1965, when the circuit was still in regular use as a race venue. Just as keen to break the record are famous figures from the world of motorsport like Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, and Jason Plato.
There were record prices being paid during the Bonhams’ classic car and auto memorabilia auction, where the star of the sale was a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta, sold for £1,250,000 before buyers’ fees. Although the identity of the buyer is unknown, the seller, however, was the new presenter of BBC’s Top Gear and regular radio show host, Chris Evans. Also reaching breaking the million-pound barrier in the sale was a £1,087,900 ’65 Aston Martin DB5 convertible.
Ferraris and Aston Martins were also the star attractions at the recreation of the Earls Court Motor Show at the Revival. Under the banner of ‘Seeing Red’, there’s a selection of Ferraris ranging from an early 166 MM through to this year's 488 GTB to celebrate 25 years of production of road going cars. Across the aisle, Aston Martin is marking its continuing involvement with the James Bond film franchise by showing its DB9 GT, which will be driven by 007 in the new movie Spectre.
It is not just historic sport cars and automotive exotica that is celebrated at the Goodwood Revival, as the end of production of the Land Rover Defender is marked by a display of over 50 variants of the iconic British off-roader inside the race circuit. The diverse range of models on show includes one fitted with tractor wheels and another that appears to be driven by an elephant.
Marking the achievement of Land Rovers production highlights the automotive heritage that is the hallmark of the Goodwood Revival and it is this heritage that is celebrated too by Royal Enfield as it continues its relationship with the annual festival. Royal Enfield was able to mark the closing of the Revival this year by reviving a 1949 Model G, which was sympathetically restored during the course of the three-day event, at the company’s faithful replica of a ‘60s era dealership. Rod Geskell carried out the restoration work in front of visitors to the Revival.
Royal Enfield was able to mark the closing of the Revival this year by reviving a 1949 Model G, which was sympathetically restored during the course of the three-day event, at the company’s faithful replica of a ‘60s era dealership. Rod Geskell carried out the restoration work in front of visitors to the Revival.