In these climatically challenging times, I suppose we should no longer be surprised at how rapidly weather conditions can switch from tropical heatwave to standard UK summer drizzle but why does this always seem to coincide with seriously special classic car events?
Last year it was Luftgekühlt at Bicester Heritage which in the midst of wonderfully warm and sunny Summer, transformed into Wassergekühlt! This year, we went from sweltering 38 degree heat (in London at least) to a state of excessive sogginess for Silverstone Classic. Sigh …………. where did I leave my waterproofs and underwater camera?
Such is the variety and age range of cars that turn-up for the Goodwood Members Meeting – it can sometimes be difficult to come up with natural grouping topics in a blog post.
Participants in a particular race or demo run is the safest option as these are normally related to a former race category from a specific time period unless it’s to celebrate the career of a racing driver in which case it might span many years.
Certain cars, marques and models however merit greater focus.
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.
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.
On the one hand – there are the modern internal combustion engine/battery powered vehicles built to save the planet and/or salve the collective consciences of automotive eco-warriors (isn’t that an oxymoron?).
On the other hand there are Euro/US Hybrids – sleek and elegant European styled cars with stonking great American V8s shoe-horned into their delicate chassis. These cars have a simple purpose in life – to tear-up roads and circuits at the fastest possible speed but in the best possible style and taste!
1) The special thing about petrol/electric hybrids is they’re NOT new. They were designed and driven donkey’s years ago thanks to Ferdinand Porsche.
2) The special thing about Euro/American hybrids is that they combine the best of European styling with the rugged power of American V8 engines. A number of specialist manufacturers have created beautiful and innovative sports cars, GTs and saloons that have graced the roads and race circuits of the world for years. Long may this Euro/US Hybrid cross-breeding programme continue.
Craig David lyric? Noooo – just a meteorological description of my two days at Silverstone Classic.
High Summer weather in the frozen tundra of rural Northamptonshire ebbed & flowed from cold & extremely wet on Friday, warm and sunny on Saturday and back again to cold and wet on Sunday.
It was a real shame for the competitors who struggled to have any meaningful practice/qualifying runs on Friday, then had to switch to dry set-up on Saturday and back to decidedly-soggy set-up on Sunday. Less than ideal conditions but not bad enough to deter stoic participants and spectators!
The Donington Historic Festival goes from strength to strength and for 2015 – races were spread over no less than 3 days spanning the early May Bank Holiday weekend. Fortunately for many of the attendees – cold weather made “anoraks” a thermal necessity rather than just a disparaging character assessment!
Donington embraces Classic Car clubs by offering cheap ticket deals to members with the added benefit of parking in marque specific areas of the infield plus the chance to participate in a lunch time parade lap around the circuit. What more can you ask? OK – warmer weather would be nice – sort it out Mr Wheatcroft!