Sunday, 9th September 2018 – Goodwood Revival Meeting, Goodwood
2018 was the year of Goodwood for us. Having failed to get to any of the main meetings in previous years, largely because they tended to clash with international F3 meetings elsewhere in Europe, we’d pretty much given up on the idea. Last year, the club threw open a new form of membership, the fellowship level, which gives you access to tickets before the general public get them, and which also entitles you to buy tickets for the annual members’ meeting. It also puts you on a waiting list for full membership should you want it. I joined and we duly turned up at the members meeting in March, which was thoroughly enjoyable but also probably the coldest I have ever been at a motor race anywhere in the world. It was snowy when we got there, and although it thawed a little during the course of the action, it never really got to what you’d consider a sensible temperature for being outdoors. Luckily the racing was fantastic, but even so we ended up leaving early because we just couldn’t take any more of slowly freezing to death!
After a conversation or two with a number of other spectators we realised that we probably would not enjoy the Festival of Speed, because while hill climbs and the like can be fun, they’re not as much fun as real racing, and they’re especially not fun when they’re so crowded that you’re apparently lucky to see much apart from the top of someone’s helmet as they scream up the hill. Instead, we opted for the September Revival meeting, snagging an Airbnb very close to the circuit for the Saturday night.
Dinner at Cassons for the second time the night before was very satisfying, and on Sunday we hauled out of bed early and dressed appropriately in 1950s/60s style, before heading for the track and spending what felt like forever in a traffic jam as the traffic marshals attempted to get everyone in to the car parks.
We’d shelled out extra for hospitality, assuming it would get us somewhere to retreat to if the weather was inclement, and where we would be able to eat better than we had at the Members’ Meeting, breakfast at that meeting having triggered me into writing a fairly disgruntled email to the organisers suggesting that they really, really ought to up their catering game if they planned on charging £15 per person for a singularly indifferent breakfast. Surely things would be better in proper hospitality, especially at £250 per person. Mind you for that I’d rather expected we’d get a car parking space close to the area allocated for our entertainment. We didn’t and it took around 20 minutes steady walking (in period costume) to reach the Barracks. By then we’d missed a couple of races, to my frustration, and although there was a race on when we finally got there, it was a 1960s F3 race with a bunch of competitors we’d seen several times in different places over the first part of the year.
We picked up our programmes, magazines and free radios, and decided we’d grab breakfast as it was now gone 10:00. So what did we get for all that money? At this point, cold bacon in a dull, poor quality bread roll, dusted in so much flour it was impossible to avoided getting it on your clothes. It was dry and hard work, but we figured we’d eat it. We’d paid for it, after all. We spent the rest of the morning in a good position by the fence, watching some brilliant racing, which made up slightly for the breakfast. We spent a chunk of the lunch break in the paddock, admiring the wonderful selection of machinery one display, and then bought a couple of glasses of Champagne and headed for another part of the circuit.
We found a spot to watch from just as the wonderful Settrington Cup was run, enabling a whole bunch of small and cutely determined children (mostly belonging to adult competitors or entrants) to compete in pedal cars. It was way more fun than it should have been, complete with a Le Mans start and everything!
After that we watched the historic motorcycle race (which was also fun, especially watching Troy Corser overtake pretty much everyone apart from himself, and I’m not wholly sure he didn’t manage that as well) and then wandered back to the Barracks for lunch. It’s fair to say that if breakfast wasn’t much to our liking, lunch didn’t impress either. We has a choice between a pork casserole or the vegetarian option, no starters, no desserts unless we wanted to hand over an extra £7.50 each for a chocolate orange pudding (the only option provided). It really wasn’t very good at all. The supposed roast vegetables with it were pretty indifferent too, and I must admit I was starting to feel we’d have been better off fending for ourselves out in the paddock among the selection of street food traders, all of whom seemed to be better cooks than we were dealing with in hospitality.
Luckily the racing was even better in the afternoon, with some phenomenal scraps going on, and various people showing what they were capable of when turned lose from the constraints of racing for a team in a professional championship. The sheer joie de vivre on display was most entertaining, especially from the likes of Andre Lotterer and Emanuele Pirro, among others.
We were then treated to afternoon tea, which turned out to be a slice of cake. It should have been served with fresh berry fruits but by the time we wanted cake, they’d run out of fruit and didn’t have any chance of getting any more. Really, someone should have been on top of portion control to my way of thinking. If you are taking relatively large sums of money off people, you should make sure they get a fair share of what is on offer, and we really didn’t feel we had. Cue another swinging email when they asked for my comments on the event afterwards.
Our mood didn’t improve when we couldn’t find our way back to our car afterwards, and asking some of the parking attendants for direction just led to a shrug of indifference, and no interest whatsoever in helping the paying public.
Would we go again? Maybe. Would we opt for hospitality? No. It wasn’t worth it. If we go again, we’ll buy a “normal” ticket and take our own supplies, or buy from the independent suppliers inside the venue. The venue claims to pride itself on its suppliers but if the supplies were good when they arrived, they were seriously let down by the people responsible for preparing them.