Goodwood Revival: Thunderous Fords dominate the St. Mary’s Trophy

by Antony Ingram
15 September 2023 2 min read
Goodwood Revival: Thunderous Fords dominate the St. Mary’s Trophy
(YouTube/Goodwood Clips)

The Goodwood Revival took place this past weekend, and as ever, the cars were sublime, the racing superb, the period dress perfect, and the highlights videos a treat. In our final video highlight from the weekend’s action, we give you the St. Mary’s Trophy.

It doesn’t matter who is driving or which cars are competing: the St. Mary’s Trophy is consistently a highlight of the Goodwood Revival weekend. Although the era changes, mixing up the grid depending on whether 1950s or 1960s saloon cars are competing, the racing is among the best you’ll find anywhere.

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(YouTube/Goodwood Clips)

Perhaps that’s no surprise, since the touring cars we see in the St. Mary’s are the ancestors of today’s British Touring Car Championship, and there are usually more than a few BTCC stars on the grid. This year, though, it was the endurance racing champion Romain Dumas and owner-driver Fred Shepherd who took wins in both races over the weekend, in Shepherd’s spectacular 1959 Ford Thunderbird.

Muscle car dominance is becoming a bit of a theme in the St. Mary’s. While they were often a part of saloon car racing back in the day, with the likes of Jack Sears driving a Ford Galaxie and Roy Pierpoint winning in a Mustang in 1965, their contemporary pace was always tempered by their weight and handling relative to the Cortinas and Minis that often prevailed.

In the modern era though, it seems like those preparing the cars have made them handle just well enough (and shortened their lengthy braking distances enough) to see the big Fords now regularly win at Goodwood. Of course, driving talent helps too, and Dumas and Shepherd, with a race each in the car, know exactly how to make the Thunderbird fly.

Dumas simply took off in race one with a lights-to-flag victory, chased a short distance behind by Rob Huff in a Jaguar Mk1, and it was left to those behind to provide most of the close racing – multiple Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen in an Austin A90, 2009 F1 champion Jenson Button in an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti, and multiple NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson becoming a thorn in Le Mans teammate Button’s side in his Austin A40.

Race two looked like being one for the Jaguars, with Chris Ward taking an early lead, but he later developed a brake problem, waving Shepherd past. Whatever the issue was, it didn’t last long, and Ward quickly got back on the pace – until his gearbox also gave up the ghost out of the chicane on the final lap, leaving the door open for another Thunderbird victory.

Ward, thankfully, managed to coast across the line in second, with Thomas Butterfield securing the third podium step in another Mk1 Jaguar. Matt Manderson’s Austin A40 and an always-sideways Richard Meaden in the Giulietta came home in fourth and fifth.

Fred Shepherd in the Thunderbird passes a hapless Chris Ward in the Jag to win race 2. (YouTube/Goodwood Clips)

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