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The Goodwood Revival – The Preeminent Vintage Motor Sports Weekend

Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes reports from the classic motor sports event exclusively for The Vintage News.

The annual Goodwood Revival stands out as the UK’s preeminent vintage motor sports weekend held at the iconic circuit on the Sussex Downs. Tens of thousands of people attend the three day event, the vast majority of them wearing clothing from the 1940s through to the 1960s.

There are fun fair rides and live music happening while the classic cars and motorcycles do their stuff and you may even see the odd Spitfire buzzing around. The atmosphere is fantastic. In fact, there is so much to see it is nigh on impossible to do it all in a day.

The best thing to do is book yourselves in for a three day stay to enjoy the after hours fun in addition to the magic of watching some of the coolest cars and bikes ever built going hell for leather on the track. This Porsche 910 was just one of the beauties racing this time round.


The Hornets really look the part reflecting the sort of biker imagery seen in Marlon Brando’s The Wild One. Although they look formidable they are actually good sports happy to pose for the camera.

The paddock is a mind-blowing mixture of sights and sounds where it is almost impossible to decide where to turn first. I was enjoying a crafty beer when this little lot rolled in. Classic Jags and Porsches are everywhere at Goodwood.

This magnificent Aston Martin DB2 dates from 1952.

This gathering of Porsches, Jaguars, Astons, Ferraris and other classics was a photographer’s dream. It was easy to linger while the mechanics got the machines ready for the next race.

Immensely expensive Ferraris like these are not just to look at. Unfortunately this little lot were having a rest on the day I attended but make no mistake, these cars are here to race not just to pose.

1960s era flight attendants uniforms were a popular choice for some of the women attending this year’s event. They were all happy to pose for the Vintage News camera and they really look the part!

These three ladies looked particularly chic.

Ultimate classics like this Ferrari 250GTO don’t always come in rosso red. This beauty was parked on the edge of the airfield in the middle of the circuit just like any ordinary car, but motors like this stand out whatever colour they come in.

The chap next to me in the paddock was happily enjoying a beer and a good cigar while watching the world go by. There are many purveyors of these things on site where just about all needs are catered for. Getting a decent lunch is not a problem.

While a newsboy cap with a smart jacket, shirt and tie is the most common option for men attending the event (self included!), there are plenty who opt for military uniforms.

This leads to all manner of spectacles some purists would wince at, but it isn’t a competition; it’s all about having fun and looking the part. These chaps wearing wartime RAF pilots’ rig looked particularly sharp and were good sports posing for my camera.

The real military were on hand to provide some splendid entertainment. The band played surrounded by classic wartime aircraft including the Bristol Blenheim Mk1a bomber seen here.

Graeme Hardy is seen at many events with his tribute to the 1935 movie No Limit, the story of a man who set out on a home built motorcycle to win one of the Isle of Man TT races. The movie starred George Formby a star of stage and screen known for his comedy routines and cheeky songs played on a ukulele. George Formby was a keen motorcyclist and the film role really suited him. Graeme Hardy’s especially modified motorcycle, the Shuttleworth Snap, is a 1926 Triumph P series 500cc machine.

This image captures all the magic of Goodwood where vintage coppers escort the classics around the paddock.

If you’re out in your Maserati 300S and you see another, the obvious thing to do is stop and have a chat with the driver. It’s all part of the magic of the Goodwood Revival.

Big American cars stood out against the Europeans in the paddock. This Ford Galaxie was looking particularly menacing.

One of the stars of the track was this gorgeous 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS that belonged to the late Dan Gurney. He used the car in the British Touring Car Championship where he gave the big cats such a fright that Jaguar got the Chevrolet banned from the competition. The car has been restored in recent years and looked serene as it led the parade lap before the classic touring car race I witnessed.

Here is another view of the supreme ex-Dan Gurney Chevrolet Impala SS.

There were a number of 1600cc Ford Cortina Lotus Mk1 cars in the race and this one was really on the pace. The car was the result of a partnership between Ford and Colin Chapman’s Lotus producing these rockets for the track and for enthusiasts.

The race saw the appearance of a bevy of Cortina Lotus up against a number of big American cars in addition to Jags. A few Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprints like this one were on hand to add colour to the pack.

Competition between the Cortina Lotus drivers was fierce. These two look impressive going neck and neck but it was all to end badly for Pete Chambers in the red car when he rolled it a little while later.

The American cars in the race had the power but some found it difficult keeping pace with the lighter Cortinas. Despite this the big yanks were good value for money. Ford Galaxie was very impressive.

This brutal Studebaker Lark Daytona 500 driven by Matt Neal appears to dwarf the Cortinas. The car would finish the St Mary’s Trophy in third place.

This 1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone was another of the big American machines left trailing by the Cortina Lotus.

Yet more uniforms. These ladies were popular with enthusiasts seeking a group photo.

Some moments at Goodwood are just a little on the surreal side. This image offered a rare moment when there were not people sitting on the window ledge posing for selfies with the models behind the glass.

A face in the crowd: I was heading for lunch when I spotted this chap quietly observing proceedings. He is none other than Sir Don McCullin, whose work during the Vietnam War, in London’s East End and all points beyond has marked him out as one of the greatest photographers working today.

We had a quick chat about our time with the same employer and then he was off, accompanied by a video camera operator. I don’t get star struck but when Don agreed to pose for me I managed to screw up the exposure, so the only way to redeem the shot was to make it into black and white.

My last visit to the Revival was a few years back on a day when it bucketed down with rain from start to finish and I got soaked through. I was able to get some great shots on the track because so many people decided not to venture out on to the more exposed parts of the circuit. This time round the weather was kind. It wasn’t too hot and the light was okay. Finding a vantage spot for the sports cars was not so easy but a kind lady let me squeeze in to get a decent view. I am a big fan of the Ford GT40 and there were several in the race to savour.

Here is the Porsche 910 we saw at the start going hell for leather. What a pretty car it is!

The stands were packed out for the sports cars. After that it was time to rendezvous with my gang of mates from sunny Essex so we could get our minibus home. One day at Goodwood simply isn’t long enough to see everything or do half as much as I would have liked.

Visit @ Snap Decisions: Adventures with film and digital photography since 1975 on Facebook to see more from Mark’s forty-year passion for photography.

It has to be the best event I can think of for classic motors of all shapes and sizes enhanced by vintage fun. With so many people entering into the spirit of things the atmosphere is unbeatable. I am really looking forward to going back in 2019 to cover this event and more from Goodwood for TVN.

Mark Barnes

Mark Barnes is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News