We’ve been in England for about a week now and spent our few first days in London getting recombobulated before heading to Chichester to attend the 76th Goodwood Members’ Meeting.
My husband, Glenn, as some of you may know, is a car guy, and his particular enthusiasm is vintage racing. Thus, once or twice a year we find ourselves at Goodwood, where one of the first and most fashionable hunts was held in the 1690s, and where golf, cricket, horse racing, motor racing and flying continue to be celebrated today.
The Members’ Meeting is held in March, and usually one looks forward to spring-like temperatures and gorgeous daffodils, for which the estate is renowned. Daffodils we had in abundance, and they were spectacular. The weather, however, was less than salubrious. England has been hit with several “Beasts from the East” and this weekend was most unfortunately smack in the middle of one.
Snow!!! Frigid temperatures and gusty winds buffeted contestants and spectators alike. It didn’t dampen the enthusiasm, however. People bundled up as best they could, adding caps, scarves and layers of clothing and blankets.
I took frequent refuge in the Daffodil Tent, which had been set up with “benches” of straw bales.
The organizers had arranged for refreshments to be served all day, and they did a land-office business in hot coffee. Beer, not so much! It was too cold!
The two days of racing included demonstrations, practice sessions and twelve races. I emerged from my snug swaddling in the Daffodil Tent to watch my favourite driver, David Coulthard, compete in a 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing.
Gorgeous car, and exciting race. The snow made for tricky conditions and drivers were all over the place.
Race #6 was The Salvatori Cup, a 20 minute race for “World Championship Sports Racing Cars of a type that raced between 1955 and 1960″. Absolutely stunning cars, and I always get a kick out of names like the Jaguar ‘Knobbly”, the Maserati “Birdcage” and the Cooper-Climax “Bobtail”.
David Coulthard drove as a member of the IWC team; he has always been one of my favourite Formula 1 drivers, well known for being an excellent brand ambassador and a real gentleman.
Unfortunately, he didn’t win the race, but spun off onto the grass. The conditions were very challenging; everyone was on their best behaviour, though, and no one was hurt.
Then it was back to the Daffodil tent for me. Glenn braved the elements much longer than I did, coming back between races to warm up, then to wander around the paddocks to see the cars, their teams and drivers up close and personal.
The pre and post war modified sports cars compete as vigorously and enthusiastically as modern day counterparts. It’s utterly enthralling to see the drivers whip around in quite extraordinary vehicles.
Would you hurtle around a track in that thing?
It’s an amazing event, allowing close proximity to the action. It’s so much fun to see the drivers setting out or coming back in after their races.
The Revival is Goodwood’s biggest event of the year and it’s held in September. At that event, most people are dressed in vintage apparel or are in uniform. Glenn and I dressed up for the 2017 Revival, me in a dress from the 1940s an Glenn in his trilby, which we call his “Foyle” hat. Even in September it can be cold, though; I’m holding my trusty Goodwood blanket behind my purse. It’s fleece on one side and a waterproof material on the other.
It got pressed into service once more at The Members’ Meeting, let me tell you. Yes, we’re from Canada and do have suitable clothing, but we didn’t bring it with us. (Not the brightest move…but there is only so much room in one’s suitcase…) My parka and furry boots are in the front hall cupboard at home. I made do with jeans, several layers of sweaters, all topped with a Barbour jacket complete with liner. I did have a hat and gloves, fortunately. Between events, I snuggled in to watch the live entertainment.
The Members’ Marketplace next door to the Daffodil Tent continued the “country theme” with strings of lights, loads of flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Food and beverages were available all day, along with some comfortable seating.
Despite the weather, it was a really fun event and I look forward to our next visit to Goodwood for its sense of fun and adventure…
and exciting vintage racing!
We’re now settled in Wiltshire, at a self-catering place called Valentina’s Lost Orangery. I kid you not! It’s located on the grounds of a larger estate out in the country, accessible by the typical English one-car-width country road with a posted speed limit of 60 miles an hour. I’ll fill you in on the next post!
It was an amazing event in spite of the weather. I have never been so cold while attending a race event, but felt sorry for the drivers in the open cockpit cars. Tough to wear a parka under a race suit!
And it is never too cold for beer……
We took a helicopter to the Revival because the traffic stretches on forever on those little roads. BMW threw a party and brought in huge transports packed with the best classics of their Munich museum for us to drive, including a red 1957 507, but sadly they left my old 635CSi behind. The press graciously let me into the off-piste area reserved for them to get some exciting footage of the races. September’s weather is of course much more stable, and the Revival is fun for all the costumes. Sorry you hit the Beastly weather, but a Barbour cures all, along with plenty of bubbly! We drive in classic races regularly, so we understand your enthusiasm and the challenges of the suitcase dilemma. Hope the weather improves for you…say hello to the white horse for me. Love the English countryside, no matter what the season!
Oh, what fun you must have had watching from the press area! I think one of the best things about Goodwood is how close one can get to the action; that would be superb. It must have been quite the view coming in on the helicopter, too. Good on BMW; great to see their support.
You’re too right about the traffic approaching the event. It can be quite something! We have taken the train down from London a few times, then one of the vintage buses Goodwood provides from Chichester station, and it has been very slow. All part of the fun, though, seeing the costumes up close and chatting with other spectators on the way. The Revival is truly a marvellous event.
The weather has cleared up a lot. It’s still chilly, but as you say, you can’t beat the English countryside, no matter what the weather. 🙂
How chic you looked in your 1940’s apparel. As with your tabletops every detail is perfection, from your shoes to your sunglasses I think it is wonderful that you and your husband encourage and enjoy each others enthusiasms. Thanks for sharing photos of your bracing experience. I have to admit the cars are beautiful but it was the flashes of yellow that really attracted my attention. Who doesn’t love a daffodil?
You’re too kind! I was lucky to pick up all the ensemble’s accoutrements at a vintage shop in Covent Garden, including the sun glasses (in their original cardboard packaging!). Thr shop owners were so enthusiastic; once I had spotted the dress and tried it on, it was full steam ahead. I have another hat to go with the outfit for its next outing.
Glenn and I really do enjoy each other’s hobbies. We are extremely fortunate that way. (I’m just glad he’s not enthused about something that involves a lot of discomfort, like wilderness camping)…
Looks like you had a ball in spite of the cold weather but that’s England for you. How exciting to be so close to drivers and beautiful vintage cars. Looks like the daffodil tent was your only saving grace and your lined wax jacket which I have worn mine to many rugby games at Twickenham. Enjoy the rest of your travels.
Snow is now coming down in buckets and no doubt will bring more branches and trees down yet again. Heading to CC after Easter for a couple of days to have fallen trees removed and check the house. Stay warm.
We did have a blast. Where else do you see those cars and drivers? The estate is gorgeous and everything is so well organized.
We will be in the Cape shortly after you, so hope to meet up! The storms have been horrendous, we gather. Same as you – tree damage…
Fabulous, just fabulous!!
Ron particularly liked the photos you chose. He is familiar with the models.
Happy to see that Blue ensemble posted once again! I agree, those peeping daffodils must have lifted a different kind of spirit that day!
As you know, Kathi, the pursuit of vintage cars is not about comfort. Lol!
Of course Ron is familiar with the models (how is that possible, she wonders?).
We are having a lot of fun, and the weather has improved immeasurably. Just back from visiting the lovely Tewkesbury Abbey.
Thanks for stopping in. Chat soon,
Thanks for the post. I always enjoy the travel posts and really appreciated getting a feel for Goodwood. I had to look closely to see if my favorite driver Glenn Bryant was racing. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Additional Entertainment Abroad posts are appreciated
Thanks Gordon. I’m working on a couple of ET Abroad posts now. Stay tuned!
Glenn was (sadly for him) not among thr drivers, but it’s on his dream list!