72nd Members Meeting Wows Goodwood

The start of the Bugatti-only Grover-Williams Trophy

Goodwood puts on a superb event for members of the GRRC.

If there is one criticism of the Goodwood Revival, it is that it has become a victim of its own success. The event draws huge crowds and multiple corporate sponsors, which has stirred some complaints from members of the Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC) that they are becoming marginalised as the event gets bigger.

Goodwood addressed these concerns in spectacular fashion this year by staging the 72nd Members Meeting (72MM). The event, for members of the GRRC and their guests only, may have appeared to be a smaller-scale Revival on the surface but had many unique features all of its own.

The Revival sticks resolutely to the period when the circuit was first opened, from 1947 to 1966 (and when the first 71 Members Meetings were staged), but the 72MM had no such limitations and indeed the feature race was the Gerry Marshall Trophy held for the Group 1 saloons that raced between 1970 and 1982.  Held over 2 legs with a 15 minute sprint race on Saturday and a 45 minute two driver race on the Sunday, it was an orgy of sideways Ford Capris and Rover SD1s going wheel to wheel with flame-belching Chevrolet Camaros.

In keeping with the more modern theme, there were high speed demonstration runs of 70s and 80s low drag Le Mans racers and runs for 80s turbo-era F1 cars. Keeping these speed machines in check were two enthusiastically-driven Ferrari F40 course cars, one a rare RHD example. The difference between road and race cars was clearly shown, with one of the F40s being driven close to the limit while a Jaguar XJR9 was cruising behind it.

There was also a rally sprint for the mighty 80s Group B rally machines with Lancia Delta S4s battling Ford RS200s and Peugeot 205T16s.

The other races were back on more familiar Revival territory, but even here there were changes as tweaks to the entry requirements meant many of the cars usually seen as frontrunners at the Revival were not present. The Moss Trophy featured cars that raced in the TT up to 1961 rather than 1964 as in the Revival TT, meaning the Aston DB4GTs and Ferrari 250SWBs came to the fore rather than the lightweight E Types and Cobras that are usually seen. In a similar fashion, the Sears trophy for 60s saloons favoured the Minis and Lotus Cortinas rather than the American muscle cars often seen in the Revival.

A highlight for many was the Grover Williams Trophy, a one-make race for pre-war Bugattis. It was reckoned to be the largest entry of Bugattis in a race since the Second World War and made for an amazing sight with the drivers leaning out of the cars as they slid round Goodwood’s many fast corners.

Tickets were limited to 20,000, less than half the number for the Revival and as a result it was much easier to move around the circuit and find good viewing spots. Even the usually fickle spring weather co-operated with clear blue skies on both days and the circuit lined with stunning daffodil beds.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend and I’m already looking forward to what I assume will be the 73rd Members meeting held next year.

See our extended Goodwood 72MM gallery here.