Goodwood Revival Meeting
In the dark days of the late 1930s with war in Europe imminent, the British Air Ministry requisitioned land from the Duke of Richmond and Gordon's Estate to provide an emergency landing ground close to RAF Tangemere.
The airfield was upgraded to Tangmere's "satellite" in early 1940 and the first squadrons of Hurricane moved in. In the winter of 1940/41 the poor drainage in area caused the ministry to build a concrete perimeter track around the grass aerodrome.
During the war Westhampnett saw much action from the Battle of Britain to the Normandy landings and "D-Day." Douglas Bader flew from here and Canadian, Polish and US pilots were also based here too.
By now the perimeter track had a proper tarmac surface, a fact which did not escape Australian born Squadron Leader Tony Gaze and Squadron leader "Dickie" stoop, both of whom were stationed at Westhampnett, and in their off hours were often seen tearing around the perimeter in their MGs'
After the war Gaze suggested to his friend the Duke of Richmond what a great place Westhampnett would be for motor racing. The idea quickly caught on in era when ex-RAF aerodromes such as Silverstone, Boreham, Turnberry, and Davidstow were all being considered for the first post war car races.
The winner of 500cc race was 19 year old Stirling Moss. Goodwood was to feature very much throughout his entire illustrious career.
The longest race of the day – 5 laps – was for Formula One cars and saw Reg Parnell's Maserati 4CLT battling with Bob Gerard's ERA R9B-the Italian car proving superior, but winning buy a mere 0.4 of a second.
Peggy Lambert was the first lady to race at the track, when she drove her HRG at 1st Members meeting on the 13th August.
Motor cycles made their one and only ever appearance on the 14th April – the main 500cc race going to future star Geoff Duke on his Norton from Doran (AJS) and Dale (Norton).
The 5th Members meeting the following weekend saw some spirited driving by a certain Mike Hawthorn in his father's Riley Ulster.
At the Whitsun meeting on Monday 14th May Bernie Ecclestone caused some consternation in the 2nd 500cc heat when he on the grid but drove brilliantly to 2nd place.
Grid positions based on actual time set in practice were used for the first time at the meeting on the 29th September – previously they had been determined by ballot.
The all conquering Alfa Corse attended this meeting and Giuseppe Fraina swept all before him in the magnificent Alfa Romeo Tipo 159.
It was at the Easter Monday meeting that Mike Hawthorn really showed the world his skills. Driving the brand new Formula 2 Cooper T20 Bristol he won the F2 race , the first Formula Libre race – where he beat Fangio – and was a fighting 2nd to Argentinean Froilan González in the mighty Thinwall Special Ferrari in the last race.
On the 10th August racing into the dark took place with the News of the World International Nine hour sports car Race – which started at 3.00pm and finished at midnight. Aston Martin certainly caused a major stir as the one of their cars burst into flames whilst being refueled. Despite this the Aston of Peter Collins and Pat Griffith went onto win at 71.09 mph.
In the 1952 September meeting González won twice – both times mounted on the BRM V16. In the Daily Graphic Trophy he lead home an impressive BRM 1-2-3.
Colin Chapman – founder of Lotus cars – drove MK6 to victory at the July members meeting.
"Unbeatable" Reg Parnell with co-driver Eric Thompson won the second 9 Hour race – for Aston Martin – this time without setting fire to the pits.
The Whitsun meeting had a "Celebrities" handicap race , featured on the entry list were Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe – but they didn’t arrive. Richard Murdoch was the winner.
Aston Martin again won the 9 Hour race, held again after a year's absence – Peter Walker and Denis Poore were the drivers.
At the September meeting there was a separate race for cars up to 350cc – featuring no less than 9 Berkeleys and 2 Goggomobiles. The fastest lap was just over 64 mph.
It was also at this meeting that Stirling Moss began his long association with Rob Walker-first driving one of Rob’s Coopers during a "free-for all" practice sessions.
Duncan Hamilton managed to spin his Jaguar D type through 360º following an over-exuberant Le Mans start in the big sports car race!
Stirling Moss again featured in the 25th RAC Tourist Trophy in August where he cruised to victory in the dark blue Walker/Wilkins Ferrari 250GT SWB. Earlier he had asked for a radio to be fitted to the car so he was able to listen to the BBC's Raymond Baxter describing his race winning drive-and what his opposition was up to!
American driver Roger Penske made a rare UK appearance driving a Ferrari 250 GTO for Luigi Chinetti’s NART Ferrari team.
Sears took up the role of pursuer in the Sussex Trophy for GT cars as he showed the potential of the Shelby Cobra. Graham Hill in the Maranello Concessionaires 1964 bodied Ferrari 250 GTO had his mirror’s full of the Cobra throughout the whole race.
Cobras finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in class in the August TT race. Popular Californian Dan Gurney steered the magnificent Daytona Coupe Cobra to an unchallenged class victory.
Jim Clark won the last ever Formula 1 race at Goodwood in the Lotus 25.
The 71st members meeting on the 2nd July saw the final race meeting.
The very last winner was Dickie Metcalfe in a Lola MK.1. Somewhat fittingly Metcalfe had also driven at the very first meeting way back in 1949 too.
Not the End
1. “A Record of Motor Racing at Goodwood” - Robert Barker
2. “BRM, Stirling Moss: My cars, my career” - Doug Nye
3. ”Grand Prix Who's Who“ - Steve Small
4. “A-Z of Formula Racing Cars“ - David Hodges
5. Battle of Britain Web site
7. Motor Sport
8. Author's records
Goodwood Online Learn more about the Goodwood Estate Co Ltd and the 2003 Festival of Speed