The fairground lights are noticeably brighter, catching the wood smoke drifting from fire pits spread around open spaces on the Goodwood infield. The sky is taking on a fiery hue of it’s own as the sun sets and the cars on track have headlights on and brake discs glowing red hot.
The final race of the 78th members Meeting , the GERRY MARSHALL TROPHY for group 1 saloon cars, draws to a close, a spectacular end to a memorable weekend’s motor sport. The battle at the front between Craig Davies’ red Boss Mustang and Jake Hill’s GITANES sponsored 3 Litre Capri (left) has been furious, the classic little-vs-large prize fight. One was faster in the corners, the other on the straights. Lap after lap they were side by side into Woodcote corner . BTCC regular Hill had been the star of the earlier heat race, holding off Jack Tetley’s Z28 Camaro almost to the end and throwing the blue and white Ford around in a mesmerising display of car control but the Final lifted things to a whole different level. Davies thundering Mustang (right) is finally ahead with about seven minutes left on the clock (it was a timed race) when Hill takes a lunge down the inside at the right hander where Stirling Moss’s F1 career ended 59 years earlier. He slightly overcooks it, gets on the grass, everyone not on that side of the circuit is watching on the big screens and gasps as he slews back across the track , onto the infield and Davies roars past as he finally regains the tarmac. Only on replay do we find out Davies too was on the grass at the same time. Battle recommences and less than a lap later Hill has two wheels on the grass again, he holds it but Davies up ahead is running wide at exactly the point they left the track before. He’s sideways on the grass for an age , will he clip the tyres? For a moment it looks like he will but at the last moment contact is made, the car spins round, “wipes it’s nose” on the tyres crumpling the panels but not enough to prevent Craig from once again re-joining and setting off , now 5th. Hill reels off the last couple of laps to victory , the open pipes on the V6 Capri bellowing in full voice as he stays comfortably ahead of the chasing Tetley. Davies goes round the outside of Stuart Graham’s Camaro and very nearly catches Bill Shephard’s equally crumpled Mustang (below) on the line in a last moment battle for 3rd. Spontaneous applause breaks out. It’s been an engrossing race.
In fact the racing throughout the weekend has generally been very spectacular. Nigel Greensall’s victory in the Stirling Moss Trophy saw his E Type Jaguar(below) hold off the more powerful Shelby Cobra of Mike Whitaker in a sideways style that may well have topped Jake Hill for drift-angles.
James Cottinham’s Tojiero Jaguar (below) came off the back of the 1950s sports-racing car grid to 2nd at the chequered flag , while Michael Hibberd went one better and won the Arundel Trophy for Formula Junior car from stone last – both there after qualifying times had been dis-allowed. Isle of Man TT racer James Hillier won a terrific motorcycle race despite being about one of the smaller bikes, a 350 Yamaha, amid several 750s and if you like your GT40s the Gurney Cup race was a 1-2-3 with Mr Le Mans, Tom Kristensen pitting before the start to change a faulty (?) crash helmet and then blast through the field to allow co-driver Sam Hancock to hold off Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti for 2nd(below). Winners James Cottingham & Andrew Smith made a canny early pit stop to steal a march on everyone else .
But perhaps the race everyone will remember was the 2nd part of the S F EDGE trophy for pre 1923 cars. A fabulously eclectic grid that included Duncan Pittaway’s “Beat of Turin” Land Speed Record Fiat , a chain drive 1912 Bugatti, and an aero-engined Grand Prix Mors produced a short sharp thriller in which Hughie Walker, long hair streaming from beneath his crash helmet, battled the enormous 200hp Blitzen Benz (driven by Ben Collings) and Julian Mazjub’s 1916 Indianapolis Sunbeam after a poor start. Throwing his Hall-Scott engined Th.Schnieder (below chasing Mazjub in the wet practice session) around like it was a kart, Walker was still 3rd with a lap to go but picked off his father in the 200hp Darraq on the way into the final corner before drifting round the outside of the big white Benz a moment later to take the lead . The grandstands erupted into cheers but Collings had not given up and the sheer brutal grunt of the Benz took it back ahead as they crossed the line.
And of course, this being Goodwood there was so much more than just the racing: A demonstration of Jaguar Sport XJR15s, another of legendary designer Gordon Murray’s cars, a rally stage, Bruno Senna gving uncle Ayrton’s 1991 McLaren V10 ‘the beans’ and more classic cars in the car park than you get at most major shows. Best of all you can watch the whole thing at your leisure on Youtube.
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