Frantic Minis, Big Bentleys, And Quick ’60s Bikes Have Been Added To The Goodwood Race Calendar
Photography by Will Broadhead
It has been announced that visitors to the Goodwood Members’ Meeting next April will be treated to three new races, celebrating some icons of both two and four-wheeled motorsport. Formats at the West Sussex estate never stay still for long, and fans have become used to Goodwood’s three major events of the year evolving and changing over time, especially the Festival of Speed.
Traditionally the smallest of the meetings at Goodwood’s historic circuit, the Members’ Meeting doesn’t draw the same crowds as the Festival or the Revival, but it has some fantastically fast racing in store for those who don’t mind some brisk early spring weather.
Next year the Members’ Meeting will feature the John Duff Trophy, the Betty Richmond Trophy, and most recently announced, the Sheene Trophy. The John Duff-inspired race will celebrate all things pre-1930, with a contest for the cars that the first Canadian to enter Le Mans was famous for in his day. One of the original Bentley Boys, Duff was the first and remains the only Canadian to triumph at Le Mans, taking victory alongside Frank Clement, Bentley’s factory test driver, in the 1924 event. It was reportedly this victory that inspired W.O. Bentley to enter a full factory team at Le Mans the following year, after originally declaring that the race was madness.
The new race at the Goodwood MM will pay homage to the man that bought Bentley to Le Mans with a fabulous selection of 1920s machinery from the greats like Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, and Mercedes-Benz, as well as, of course, a triumphant force of period Bentley racing cars.
Fast-forwarding four decades, the next new contest at the MM in 2019 brings us into the heart of the swinging ‘60s with a fiesta of everything Mini, celebrating sixty years since the pint-sized machine captured the hearts of a nation and then the rest of the world. Cars of pre-’66 vintage will be eligible, with both saloons and other variants of everyone’s favorite micro machine competing. The race is named after the present Duke of Richmond’s grandmother, Elizabeth “Betty” Richmond, whom the Duke fondly recalls was the catalyst for his love of motor racing. He recalls one of the first Minis belonging to his Grandfather, and of Betty’s love of it:
“Betty loved the Mini and used to go hurtling around the estate in it, to the extent that my grandfather wouldn’t let her venture outside the park. Betty was really the one responsible for my love of motorsport. She used to buy books on cars, which she then got my grandfather to give me. She also encouraged my grandfather to spend time with me at the circuit, taking me ‘round to see the cars and meet the drivers. It was an eight-year old’s dream.”
Fitting then, that this new race carries The Duke’s grandmother’s name. Expect close action on track from the many variants of this icon of British pop culture during this spring’s meeting.
The final addition to the April race card is one that is particularly close to my heart, named as it is after the late, great Barry Sheene, a friend of the Goodwood estate and somewhat of a hero of mine. “Bazza” won his last-ever race on the famous Goodwood circuit in 2002 at that year’s Revival before sadly losing his battle with cancer in the following year. The new motorcycle race will see Formula 750 bikes that raced in the F750 and open 750cc-class moto contests across the globe up to 1972. Expect the finest air-cooled four-strokes, JPS Norton F750s among Hondas and BSAs made famous by riders such as Sheene and Dick Mann at places like Daytona Beach and the fearsome Daytona 200, as well as the usual excellent list of riders that attend the calendar at Goodwood.
The mix of three new trophy races adds a nice diverse update to what is already one of the best meetings of the season for fans of genuine historic racing. You could do worse than to get along to Chichester to blow off the cobwebs of the long winter to come. Call it something to look forward to. More information about the event (it’s never too early to plan for a trip to Goodwood, just ask the fully-booked hotel owners in the area) can be found on the official website here.