Goodwood road trip, by Darren
First night camping at Le Mans 2016
‘So where are we going next year?’
‘Not big on bikes’
‘Anyone fancy Goodwood Festival of Speed?’
So not knowing much about the FOS at the time, we agreed. And promptly left all the actual details to master trip planner Tooley.
A year on, at a service station just outside of Oxford, the 8 of us reconvened and set off in convoy.
We started as a group of friends-of-friends at Spa in 2012 and have been away to one thing or another each year since and have all now become firm friends. Once there and with camp set up we swapped stories and caught up on a years news.
Saturday morning we were up for a cooked breakfast with a side of paracetamol and ready for the day.
Now I've been to motor shows, F1 and BTCC races, Le Mans but I've never been to anything like this. The first thing we stumbled on was Murray Walker being interviewed on the BMW area. He summed up the FOS as the best motoring event in the country and I would agree.
It's centred around a central hill climb, with an open paddock leading to a performance car parking area and trade stand areas dotted around amongst the bars, displays of classic cars and activities
Our group splintered off with Dan and I crossing the bridge onto the paddock side where we stumbled upon Bernie Ecclestone entering a restricted access area on a golf buggy. Now, I'd tasked myself with trying to get a bumper for the podcast at sometime during the weekend but Bernie was clearly busy and not up for stopping for a chat, although he was happy to sign a child's programme passed on to him by a security guard.
We began to scout the paddock out, stunned at the range of cars on display from the early 1900’s to present day including many from my 35 years of watching F1. The crew started up Jackie Stewart's 1971 Tyrrell as we were stood just by it, the noise and the smell of the fuel making the hairs on my neck stand up.
A meandering stroll around brought us to the performance car park. This is a reserved parking area which you may use should your car be on the list. My Transit didn't appear to be among the McLarens, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royce that were on said list, but it was lovely to be allowed to wander around the owners’ pride and joy which they'd brought for a run out to the festival.
We gained access to Sky’s roof terrace in time to watch the Ferraris and F1 cars doing the Hill, with Vallteri Bottas burning his Mercedes tyres out to the cheers of the crowd.
The Pit Lane for F1 cars was well represented by the bigger teams but these garages were roped off. Williams had brought 5 historic racing cars including Mansell’s red five to the show. I asked a representative whether the Villeneuve car was his ‘97 championship winning car. It was, he said and you could see Schumacher’s tyre marks on the sidepod, I told him I had been there in Jerez when Schueys ailing Ferrari was being caught by Jaques lap by lap and the only way for Michael to win the championship was to try and make sure that Villeneuve didn't finish the race with more points than him.
I was promptly invited onto the stand so I could take some photos.
I was taking full advantage of this opportunity when I heard the distinct voice of the BBC F1 commentator Jack Nicholls behind me. My chance at getting a podcast bumper was never going to be better and Jack was happy to record a short video message for Spanners and the Missed Apex group.
Very happy to have achieved my goal for the weekend I grabbed a selfie with Karun Chandhok on the way out too. We finished off the day with a cool lager on the lawn in front of the house and spotted Quentin Willson while we admired the spectacular sculpture celebrating the career of Bernie Ecclestone.
Sunday was incredibly hot and much busier. We had a good look around the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ display of rare and exotic cars which were to be judged later that morning by Ross Brawn. Bugatti had a range of Chiron and Veyron on show which Jean Todt was having a good look at.
The thought of a long drive home and heavy traffic leaving later on brought us to the joint decision to leave after a late lunch on the cricket pitch, but not before we had decided on next years trip away..