LIFE ON MARS
WORDS: TAYLOR WALSH
PHOTOGRAPHY: TAYLOR WALSH
Anyone familiar with the mid 2000s show will know what I mean by the phrase Life on Mars.
A quick premise to the show is that it follows a modern-day Manchester detective that is run over which leaves him in a coma, while in the coma he sets back to 1970s Manchester as a detective. Walking into Goodwood motor circuit at 7:20 am you do get a familiar feeling to waking up in 1965, Ferrari 250 GTs line up alongside lightweight Jaguar E- Types which sit across from a row of 1930s Bentleys. Some might call it magic while others call it nostalgia but for the regular members, they call it home.
For two days each spring, the Goodwood Motorsport Circuit is an interactive classic car show with stars of motorsport past or present all flocking to Chichester each year to soak up some motorsport action. The 77th Members Meeting in 2019, featured races you might see at the Goodwood Revival. The pre-war racers in the SF Edge Trophy, sports prototypes that raced between 1960 and 1966 or the 750 Motorcycles that race in the Sheene Trophy. All this coupled with show runs from Le Mans legends or by a supercar manufacturer like McLaren. It is an intimate version of both the Festival of Speed and the Revival. Sadly, like many events in 2020, Goodwood was unable to hold the 78th Members Meeting instead electing to roll the event to a 2021 date.
Walking through the paddock for the first time you do become slightly overwhelmed by being in the presence of cars you have grown up watching. Unlike the Festival of Speed or any other car show you can attend, Goodwood allows you to walk up and touch the vehicles on display, vehicles like Senna’s Mclaren MP4/4 or the Beast of Turin. Goodwood by all intense and purposes is a sweet shop for petrol heads. Throughout the day, once figures on your television sets are stood less than five feet away signing whatever object you place in front of them or taking a selfie which seems rather out of place at Goodwood. The action also doesn’t stop when the sun starts to set either, with show runs from Le Mans classics or touring car races heading into the early evening.
One of the highlights of the 77th Members Meeting and a race that has gone down in history was the Betty Richmond Trophy.
The Betty Richmond Trophy was named after the Duke of Richmonds mother who happened to drive and love Mini’s. So, for the 60th anniversary the team at Goodwood invited 60 of the best mini racers to Goodwood for an anniversary race. The format was as follows, two sets of qualifying and two heat races that would ultimately set the grid for the grand final on Sunday. The field comprised of gentleman drivers and professional racing drivers like Le Mans winner Darren Turner, Formula E driver Tom Blomqvist and Top Gear presenter Chris Harris. By the time Sunday arrived, the field had been halved for the grand finale. The thirteen-lap race witnessed some of the best Mini racing seen this side of 1968 with the lead quartet of cars dicing for track position. A late mistake by Nicholas Padmore almost saw him not only loose his track position but also take out teammate and eventual winner Nick Swift. All you need to do is search for the Betty Richmond Trophy into Google and enjoy the coverage that Goodwood provided.
Once the racing is complete and the teams start to pack down their equipment and load the cars into the trucks, a somewhat surreal prize giving event takes place in the mock up of Earls Court. Competitors and friends sit on what can only be described as bench seats (very similar to a school assembly) facing the stage that will occupy the host Duke of Richmond. However, sat towards the back of the stage are the house captains, dressed in their blue and white striped jackets. Next to the captains are a dozen Goodwood Governors dressed in 1950’s headteacher cloaks. One can only assume if you are a child of the 1950’s you might be forgiven for having flashbacks. The whole show is strange but wonderful and for forty-five minutes you do leave the modern world behind.
The event is designed for the hard-core historic racing fans, whether you dress up in 1950’s clothing or not, there is something for everyone .