Marvellous Members’ Meeting
“Give me Goodwood on a summer’s day and you can forget the
rest of the world.” Said Roy Salvadori.
And although that was far from the case in 2018 when snow gripped the circuit, a full month’s date change made sure that conditions were far more favourable in April for the 77th Goodwood Members’ Meeting. For the team at WML HQ, it meant that it was perfect weather for their field of three vintage Bentleys who were up against old pre-war foes in the John Duff Trophy.
Following on with the continued popularity of the vintage racing at Goodwood race meetings, the John Duff Trophy saw Bentleys, Bugattis, Talbots, Vauxhalls and Frazer Nash cars square up to one another once again at one of the world’s most nostalgic circuits – now lined by stunning springtime daffodils. With a cross section of the era gathered together in the paddock, the Bentleys emitted their distinctive low thrum in anticipation.
On the track, the dramatic race start saw wheel spin and exhaust fumes aplenty and the grid at full throttle and wheel to wheel. With drivers who were just as enthusiastic as their cars to get going, they changed through the gears with a carefully engineered dance of hands and feet. Meanwhile from trackside, the sight of the tall vintage Bentleys among smaller cars and in between flashes of yellow flowers and the period pit complex took spectators on a trip back in time to a more rustic and romantic era of motor racing.
As different in sound as they are in size to their more lightweight Bugatti competition, the Bentleys bellowed out of the chicane lap after lap, their skinny tyres searching for grip in determination to build up momentum towards the finish line. At the wave of the chequered flag after ten laps, the timing boards saw a sterling effort by Nick Jarvis in the 3 4 ½ Litre XU2472 despite having never driven the car before practice earlier that day, while William Medcalf in the 3 Litre Team Car MH7580 and Katarina Kyvalova in a 4 ½ litre XV3207 followed in close succession.
Although not quite Roy Salvadori’s summer day, the circuit was as picturesque as ever in the Spring sunshine and with all three Medcalf cars making it to the finish and being a part of a crowd favourite race – for those ten laps at least, it can be assured that the rest of the world had indeed forgotten.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Goodwood Members’ Meeting had a new race dubbed the Betty Richmond Trophy featuring no less than two capacity grids of classic Mini Coopers. With both grids acting as heats for the final sprint – in a race that saw pro-drivers and amateurs alike sharing the tarmac, William Medcalf took his Swiftune prepared 1965 Cooper S to the final race in a busy bout against 30 other cars.