Imagine the perfect historic race meeting. It would have to attract the most diverse field of entrants from all over the world, including some of the most important racing cars and most famous drivers on the planet. The circuit would have to be one of the greats: a mixture of fast straights and difficult bends, wide enough to allow a good deal of jostling for position. Access would be almost unrestricted, the public encouraged to share paddock space with mechanics and rub shoulders with drivers as they queue for lunch. Now place this imaginary race meeting in the heart of the Sussex Downs, sprinkle on thousands of daffodils, and you have the Goodwood Members’ Meeting. It really is that good.
Take the 2018 76th Members’ Meeting for example. Despite suffering from a blizzard on the Saturday that unfortunately curtailed all 2-wheel activity, the spread of cars on offer was amazing. Porsches your thing? How about eight Porsche 904 Carrera GTS, ten (yes, ten!) Porsche 935s or an ultra- rare 901. Pre-war cars? Five Alfa Romeo 8Cs with various bodies, plus all manner of Delahayes, Talbot-Lagos, Bentleys and the odd Frazer-Nash. Fast Unexceptionals? The Gerry Marshall Sprint was heaven: Ford Capris, Dollys, and even an Austin Metro HLS. There were racing specials, Formula 5000 cars, 1960s saloons…
Despite resembling an ice rink, the on-track action didn’t disappoint either. Every few seconds there seemed to be a gasp from the grandstands as yet another driver took a detour across the grass or ended up pointing the wrong way on the tarmac. If the winning times weren’t as fast as we’ve come to expect in the past well, that’s motor racing: you do the best you can and drive to the conditions.
Personally, I find the use of ‘Houses’ a little superfluous to the action on track, but the Captains seem to love it: at one point on Sunday I walked into the Great Hall to find Emanuele Pirro and Jochen Mass engaged in a very serious game of shuffleboard, all in the spirit of raising points for their team.
For the serious historic racing fan, the Members’ Meeting has to be the best of the Goodwood events and well worth the entry fee. Just wrap up warm.
We judge the Hagerty Bucket List on three criteria: Size, Excitement and Diversity, all ranked out of five. Here are the scores for The Goodwood Members’ Meeting:
SIZE: XXX The smallest of the headline Goodwood motoring evets, it still scores well due to the huge variety of amazing cars that take part.
EXCITEMENT: XXXXX Superb on-track action is guaranteed, and at the MM you can actually see what is going on. Open paddock access and very few restricted areas allows visitors to get to the heart of the action. Can’t be bettered.
DIVERSITY: XXXX Phenomenal diversity of classic and vintage cars and bikes, all of which are raced or demonstrated at speed.
With a total of 12/15, The Goodwood Members’ Meeting rightfully deserves a place on the Hagerty Bucket List.