In gear, ready to go… It was a high octane atmosphere at the Goodwood Revival where time and people slipped back a few decades. With no evidence of modern fashion trackside, formally-dressed corporals and captains proudly flaunted shiny medals happily mingling with ladies in swing dresses with their furs, frills and shoulder pads. There were men in tweeds braces and caps and plenty of others kitted out in utility wear of overalls and dungarees all looking the part while amongst this convivial crowd there were even members of the Chelsea Pensioners.
Assured of a smile and a nod to memory lane were the lookalike characters from Dad’s Army and Dixon of Dock Green and of course the flirty girls of Glam Cabs, inspired by Carry on Cabbing! It’s not hard to keep in style at the Goodwood Revival with Betty’s Parlour available for the professional hair-do, up or half-up, complete with curlers and pins…. and barbers too, of course. The vintage stalls were overflowing with outfits to buy while The ‘Make-Do and Mend’ corner endorsed sustainability of the era when possessions were cherished and made to last. So much happening and all not far away from a PG tips tea shed.
This 3-day event starts proceedings with a track blessing daily which was especially poignant after the assault of Covid-19 which saw the cancellation of the Goodwood Revival last year. Now Its full speed ahead with engines revving and screeching throughout the weekend in a total of 15 races. Slotted between were themed parades and a very special and personal tribute to the late and great Sir Stirling Moss which was commemorated with a speech and film by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. There was also a collection of around 60 cars driven around the circuit which represented significant times over his racing career.
Lining up for the start, racing drivers and motorcycle riders were poised and ready with their prized machines. And for the first time Jensen Button tested his Formula 1 skills on the Goodwood track in a Jaguar E-type in the Stirling Moss Memorial Trophy, a one-hour, two-driver race. The Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy race roared by full throttle during two 25-minute, two rider races on motorcycles of a type that raced up to 1966. And not forgetting the aspiring junior drivers, The Settrington Cup was a contest racing Austin J40 pedal cars.
The race starts were as exciting as the finish. Grid girls added glamour and colour holding matching numbered boards indicating the start row positions for the cars. For the motorcyclists, it was the traditional Le Mans-style start which sees riders run across the track to jump on their bikes when the start flag is dropped.
The Victory Parade on the final day commemorated not only the 75th anniversary of the 1946 London Victory Parade but the national effort to battle against Covid-19. The parade proudly featured 150 military vehicles, marching cadets, armed forces bands, emergency services and current representatives of the NHS. A humbling moment in the proceedings, a time to remember, honour and respect.
The action was not only around the 2.38 mile circuit. Taking to the skies was a daily fly-past formation which saw the iconic Spitfires in action. On the ground around the airfield and displayed to a captivated audience of all ages were a 1941 Tiger Moth, a 1944 Mustang and a 1944 Lockheed Lightening amongst many others all gleaming in full glory.
e-1966 aircraft which brings together some of the most elegant and rarely-seen machines from the hi
So much to see and do makes for a full day in this time warp. Away from the track, the displays were colourful, informative and fascinating. A collection of iconic classic and modern cars at The Earls Court Motor Show, an impressive art deco building in itself, including Aston Martin, Ferrari and the new electric MINI. The Revival Paddock was a must to rub shoulders with famous enthusiasts and view up close the trophy cars and bikes. This year saw the first Revival Car Boot Sale as well as a high number of outlets selling everything including parts from the past to aero art and antiques.
For family entertainment the Sky Cinema brought a taste of the silver screen with classics such as Grease and Back to the Future while Butlins’ Redcoats upped the adrenaline with a rock & roll ballroom, a roller skate rink….and there were dodgem cars too. The hot-rods attracted smiles and fun. In fact, a number of them looked like they had had made a U-turn from the Disney Cars movie with their curious shapes, colourful metal arrangements, spluttering, growling and powering to compete; the scene reflective of the early US drag-racing scene. Their popularity lives on as the National Hot Rod Association celebrates its 70th year.
The Goodwood Revival recreates the glamour of its time. A return to the halcyon days of racing, draped in authentic dress, and hosting the oldest and the most historic vintage machinery on two, three and four wheels on the ground, track or in the air, here at the spiritual home of British motor racing The Revival began in September 1998 when the Duke of Richmond and Gordon drove around the circuit in the Bristol 400, the same car in which his grandfather had driven to open the track in 1948.
The Goodwood Revival is on my social calendar for next year, so start sprucing up those vintage outfits, give them a new lease of life and prepare in advance to transport yourself back in time to experience the culture, fashion and challenging speeds of the post-war years at Goodwood’s very own unique authentic time capsule event.
Goodwood is located, near Chichester in West Sussex.
www.Goodwood.com/revival. Contact 01243 755055
Jane Wilson is the editor and founder of www.thewellnesstraveller.co.uk