Upon reflection – setting off at 05:30 to be at Goodwood as the gates opened at 07:30 was a bit mad but it did give me time look at some wonderful cars in the paddock before it got too crowded and before the track action commenced.
Sunday’s Goodwood 75th MM programme provided a great day of fast and furious racing in thankfully dry if bloody cold conditions.
This Classic Car Show continues to expand in terms of the volume and variety of cars on show and in terms of the size of the Grand Avenue where cars are driven up and down the cavernous main hall to improve the visual and aural experience for the audience.
I knew it was my lucky day when I received a call from the Porsche Club GB office to offer me a last minute place for the “Evening with Jacky Ickx” event they had organised at Porsche Centre East London.
Upon arrival – I was chatting with Ed Pike (co-organiser with other half Nick of of PCGB London Region) and another club member over a glass of wine when a dapper gentleman wandered over and introduced himself to us with – “Hello – I’m Jacky”, before shaking each of us by the hand.
It was none other than Belgian motor racing legend – Jacky Ickx!
A 6AM start saw me blasting out of London in the old 911 along the M40 before hitting quiet country roads North of Oxford. Well they would have been quiet but for the fractious popping and banging of my engine!
Undeterred by fog, the aftermath of a nasty crash on the M40 and an inordinate number of flattened foxes and the odd two-dimensional deer littering the carriageway – I pressed on.
As Goodwood circuit is not used all year round due to local noise restrictions – it’s easy to forget that it’s is a very high speed circuit and therein lies the risk to race drivers and to spectators.
At the end of the first lap of the first of Sunday’s races a really scary crash unfolded right in front of me on the start/finish straight when Richard Wilson’s Lotus Cooper Climax T51 collided with Stephen Bond’s Lotus Climax 18.
Instead of both cars coming to rest on the track or in the tyre wall – the collision caused Bond’s Lotus to go into an end-over-end cartwheel which lifted it over the wall and hedge of an access road before it plummeted down into a pedestrian tunnel right next to the viewing area for wheelchair users.
Possibly because it was early in the day – the pedestrian tunnel was empty so by a miracle spectator injuries were avoided. Stephen Bond also came out of it with broken ribs but was extremely lucky not to come out worse particularly as fuel was pouring from the car as he hung suspended in his seat belts.
It’s horrible to contemplate but with slightly more forward momentum the cartwheeling car could easily have cleared the pedestrian tunnel and landed on the wheelchair spectator viewing area.
Luck was with a number of people as it looked like the accident could have shaped up to be a 1955 Le Mans type incident.
I was rooted to the spot watching the accident in slow motion but a few yards further along the viewing platform Tim Quinlan captured this remarkable footage of the accident:-
The signs are unmistakeable – Spring has definitely sprung! :-
Longer hours of daylight and occasional sightings of a yellow disk in the sky have encouraged the daffodils to bloom and trees to bud,
Classic racing cars have been awakened, coughing and spluttering from their winter slumbers and their doting owners have squeezed themselves into their race suits and boots for the 74th Goodwood Members Meeting.
This year’s London Classic Car Show at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands promised to be bigger and better than last year and thankfully – it was!
Spread over two large halls the show was easier to move around, it offered a more balanced mix of dealers, specialists and car club stands and last but not least it allowed for a much bigger open space in which to parade cars representing the great automotive nations.