Previewing The 75th Members’ Meeting: The Other Side Of Goodwood
Photography by Jayson Fong
Sometimes it feels as if the historic racing season starts up again as soon as it’s finished, and now with only a few days to go until the 75th Goodwood Members’ Meeting, it’s managed to creep up on us once again, but of course, I’m not complaining. Feeling like a child on Christmas Eve far too eager to open gifts, I decided to make my way down to the Goodwood Circuit for the final test day ahead of the race weekend to catch a glimpse of the fine metal that will be on display. With perfect sunny conditions reported the day before, it was all set to be the perfect preview to one of the year’s best events.
However, with fog along most of the route down to West Sussex, it quickly became clear that this visit was not to be the perfect spring day that I and many others had hoped for. Nonetheless, I found a pit lane lined with a variety of machines from lightweight and nimble F3 cars, to a range of tin tops and high-powered Can-Am monsters whose drivers must be among the most daring drivers of all time.
Traditionally, my experiences of being at Goodwood bring about images of vast crowds and a pit lane so busy that it takes some courage to find the right moment to make it across to the other side. However, this test day was a welcome change of pace, with only a handful of spectators watching the teams go about their work. I took it as an opportunity to appreciate the details of these machines up close and out in the open—something that isn’t really possible at any race weekend amidst the organized chaos that is motorsport. In particular, it was the open cockpit Lister Knobbly and Lola T70 that caught my attention. There’s always something special about seeing drivers at work in cars like these.
Further into the afternoon, a thin veil of fog began to descend on the track, creating a surreal scene as shapes faded in and out of view and the sounds of full throttle announced the next arrival to the pit straight long before you could the source of the noise.
While the Lister and Lola caught my eye in the pits, out of all the special metal on track it was the Ginetta G10 that made the biggest impression on me; with the roar of its V8, I was drawn to squint into the fog, which suddenly reveals the sideways G10 exiting the chicane, it’s front end slightly lifted as it pushes down the straight, keen to get away from the scene of the crime before fading from view.
I chose to spend the remainder of the afternoon on the other side of pit lane to make the most of my private viewing in stark contrast to the atmosphere during the larger main events. Initially hoping just to see some cars in action, the day ended up being an opportunity see a more genuine side of Goodwood throughout the season, and provided insight into the other side of motorsport, away from race day but still very much a piece of the whole process that leads up to it. Although I departed the circuit without the warmth of the sunny spring day I was looking forward to, I know there are worse ways to spend a Friday afternoon. Fog and mist won’t deter me from attending the 75th Members’ Meeting this coming weekend, and if the test day is any indication of what to expect on the automotive front, it will be an outstanding event regardless of what the skies decide.