The Cars of the Very Exclusive Goodwood Members’ Meeting
Photography by Amy Shore for Petrolicious
Five-foot shields hang from the ceiling of the Great Hall, live classical musicians entertain guests in tea tents, and over 300,000 daffodils specially planted for just the event! These were just a few of the joys of Goodwood’s 72nd Members’ Meeting—and we’ve not even gotten to the cars yet!
Yet again, Lord March and his team have pulled off an incredible event after it was dormant for almost 48 years. From 1948 to 1966, the Members’ Meetings were only open to Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC) members which is how the 72nd meeting continued, making it a very prestigious, exclusive event with only 14,000 spectators walking through the Goodwood gates, nearly a tenth of the crowds that flow through the doors of the Revival weekend. There was no elbow jabbing just to get a glimpse of the track through the ten-deep crowds or segregation between those with the proper badges to enter a certain paddock and those without. From mere public guests such as myself to attending celebrities including Chris Evans, Nick Mason and Rowan Atkinson, the event was bonded by those that have a deep love and enthusiasm for the world of classic racing.
Over four-hundred competition cars rocketed around the 2.4-mile track ranging from twenty-three original turbo-era Formula One cars to Group C Le Mans cars with Ferrari 250 Breadvans, Jaguar E-types and Aston Martin DB4GTs and everything in-between included. The air was pollenated with the scent of exhaust fumes mixing with cooking food as spectators relaxed on the grass and in deckchairs enjoying the weekend in the very unexpected yet welcome sun. The monstrous engines caused vibrations that tickled the soles of your feet whilst airplanes, including a Spitfire, roared through the skies above.
The event wasn’t just about the racing, though. Upon arrival, each visitor was assigned to a school house, where spectators and drivers attempted to gain points for their respective house. Each of the houses was headed by a racing legend; Nicolas Minassian for the Aubigny house, Anthony Reid for Methuen, Emanuele Piro for Torboloton and Jochen Mass for Darnley. Drivers won points for their house through triumphs on the track, and spectators participated in fun games and challenges such as a tug-of-war, egg and spoon race and cake decorating. After a weekend of challenges and competitions, the winning house was Anthony Reid’s Methuen.
Each visitor I spoke with agreed how refreshing and wonderful the event was, and how lovely it was to not have to battle through the crowds. The Revival, although very crowded, has its own air of magic about the meeting—the feeling of time-travelling to the ’40s and ’50s is one that would be hard matched to any other event in the UK or even the world for that matter. However, the 72nd Members’ Meeting had it’s own very special effect on those who attended. I saw drivers on edge, nervously fidgeting as they awaited their driver change, children attempting to eat cakes with the added help of their nose and chin, and hundreds of faces pan these beautiful historic racing cars through the blur of yellow daffodils. It was certainly a weekend that I and the other visitors shall easily remember.