Not Even A Snowstorm Could Dampen The Fun At The 76th Goodwood Members’ Meeting
Photography by Ted Gushue and Nat Twiss
It’s shocking how quickly the months tick by when you align your schedule to the Goodwood Calendar, with the winter’s deep freeze typically brought to a mild thaw by the annual Members’ Meeting in March. As most will be familiar, the 11th Duke of Richmond, Charles Gordon-Lennox, opens his home three times a year to those whose veins pump with petrol from around the world. Each tentpole “festival” has a unique and distinct feel; the Goodwood Revival being a period-correct costume gathering where the clock is turned back 60-odd years and the throngs are drunk on motorsport nostalgia, while the Festival of Speed is a high torque rolling motor show where the latest and greatest “brap” up the hillclimb to prove their mettle.
But for us, nothing competes with the Members’ Meeting: it’s no frills, no nonsense, incredibly competitive, serious racing. And this year it was in the middle of a snowstorm.
A few short days before the beginning of the MM, legendary announcer and de-facto voice of Goodwood Henry Hope-Frost passed away in an untimely road accident coming home from work at Goodwood House. It’s impossible to explain the value of each and every key person that makes an event like this possible, but Henry’s zeal and enthusiasm for all things loud, fast, and what he would describe as causing an incurable and debilitating capital “F” Fever has been part of what has made Goodwood so special for so long. To honor his memory and life, The Duke of Richmond and his team organized an entire grid of Formula 5000 cars to rev their engines for one minute, creating an incredibly emotional sound bath for onlookers and friends of Henry and his lovely family.
We were hosted by our friends at IWC watches, who had invited us there to celebrate the launch of IWC Racing, which is from what we can tell the first time a major sponsor of an event or a series of events has taken the traditional sponsorship model and turned it on its head. Instead of just hosting lovely champagne parties for VIPs and projecting an image of “the good life,” IWC put their money where their mouth is and got in touch with Hans Kleissl of HK Engineering to launch a full-fledged vintage racing team that will be competing around the world this season and hopefully thereafter. Pilots for the team include legendary F1 Scotsman David Coulthard, German endurance champion Jochen Mass, young upstarts and former go-kart drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, as well as the impossibly cool Lotus F1 development driver Carmen Jordá. You’ll find this eclectic team of champions competing around Europe and the world in their HK Engineering 300SL.
David Coulthard was, of course, rocking the Limited Edition 76th Members’ Meeting IWC Ingenieur on his left wrist, a rather handsome way to celebrate the weekend.
The Snowy Road To Spring
As the Members’ Meeting is the first public event of the year at Goodwood, it’s often referred to as an opening preview on the season, which is to say it offers a chance for last year’s champions from the European circuit to shake off the cobwebs and see what’s what after wrenching away all winter. For us, you can’t do much better than the Stirling Moss Trophy and the Gurney Cup, two events which showcase the majority of the cars you might find on the pages here at Petrolicious, but that’s not to say that each and every moment of on track action isn’t gripping, especially in the snow. Honestly, do you think you’d have the testicular fortitude to bash around in the biting cold with chunky white stuff coming at you in a Formula 5000? Some of these brave souls did.
For full race results you’ll be able to find accurate timing reportage by the folks at TSL timing through this link.
Roving the Land
While it’s not widely advertised to festival goers, Goodwood Estate is of course, like most any English estate, a natural playground for the “Best 4x4xFar.” Our friends at IWC arranged for us to take the wheel of a rather handsome Series IIA truck and thrash it about the trails above and behind the house and track, which was of course one of the most English things we could have done.
As stated previously, for the hardcore enthusiast the Members’ Meeting is unlike any other automotive event of the year. Does it have fancy costume dress? No. Does it have period correct packaging on the food for sale? Negative. It is raw, it is real, and it is smashing good fun. We can’t wait to see you there with us next year.