I loved it. This was more than just an historic motor sport festival. This event transcends the sport and sets standards that few of the other Great Occasions have matched. For one thing, there didn’t seem to be a central “drinking area” (as there is at so many of today’s events). Yes, you could sink a cold beer or sip a Pimm’s or a glass of champers – but no-one seemed to be making that a pre-occupation. People were being nice to one another without being intoxicated. Was it because everyone was obliged to take more trouble than normal with his or her appearance? Does this flow into the issue of good manners and courtesy (both of which were at Goodwood in abundance)?
I drove away from the airfield circuit feeling genuinely sad that the day had come to an end. There was not a single moment that I had not enjoyed – and, even then, I felt that I had scratched perhaps 15 per cent of the available surface. Too many great people; too much creativity from Lord March; too many wonderful cars.
One final thought: why is it that Goodwood has to do the appropriate, tear-jerking, brilliant celebration of Dan Gurney? Or of Sir Stirling – or of many of the other drivers they have honoured over the years? Why doesn’t the F1 industry pay homage to its past heroes in the way Lord March does? Why aren’t selected F1 races also themed towards one outstanding driver of the past? For without the past there is no present, let alone a future, and we neglect our heritage at our peril. A sprinkling of today’s F1 people were at Goodwood of their own volition (ie, not driving a car or supporting a sponsor) but it was only a sprinkling. Why? Why wouldn’t anyone with racing blood in their veins want to see Tony Brooks in period helmet, or Sir Stirling in Birdcage Maser, or Sir Jackie in Dan’s ’62 Porsche? Or Dan Gurney himself, eyes watery, standing upright while they played The Star Spangled Banner?
Here are a few more images that I shall take with me into the next 12 months – until, again, we can touch the sport at its heart.