BAD NEWS: NEXT YEAR'S GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED TO FOCUS ENTIRELY ON BICYCLES
BREAKING: 2019 GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED TO BE THE LAST MOTORIZED EVENT
THE "FESTIVAL OF SPEED" WILL BE PEDAL-POWERED FROM 2020 AND BEYOND
"A LOT OF THESE OLD CARS JUST KIND OF CRAWL UP TO THE TOP OF THE HILL ANYWAY"
THE DUKE WILL SPEARHEAD THE CONVERSION TO BICYCLES, "IT'S TIME TO PEDAL FORWARD"
THERE ARE ALSO SECRET PLANS TO HAVE A STUNT UNICYCLIST JUMP A ROW OF 31 CARAVANS
IS THE DUKE NOW IN THE FINANCIAL BACK POCKET OF BIG BICYCLE MANUFACTURERS?
"I ALSO MIGHT BE BRINGING IN SKATEBOARDERS AS WELL SOMETIME AFTERWARD"
THE GOODWOOD ESTATE, WEST SUSSEX, GREAT BRITAIN: In and around the opening-day festivities, announcements, and reveals of the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed, one such quiet announcement on the Upper Library Lawn went entirely unnoticed by the motoring press...at least until now.
What was that announcement?
Well, in the pursuit of getting the painful bits over with quickly, the former Lord March, now the Duke of Richmond and Lennox and Aubigny and Gordon (but not former NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon), quietly stated to a small group of friends and associates that the 2019 Festival of Speed will be the last ever to feature vehicles with any sort of engine.
From this point on, all future Festivals of Speed will be entirely pedal-powered.
Bicycles. That's it.
Yes, you heard that right, bicycles. Welcome to the future, as seen from the year 1900. Image courtesy of pennyfarthingclub.com
Or, better yet, it might be better if we simply listened to what the Duke had to say.
"Hello all, thank you for visiting my humble home, and allowing me to be your gracious host for yet another year of motorsport excitement, the likes of which are impossible to duplicate anywhere else on the planet, which to me demonstrates that the British are still the dominant global empire when it comes to hosting THE best racing events anywhere. Take that, Americans."
(The man formerly known as the Lord March then spiked his wine glass onto the ground and then aggressively stomped on it for several minutes afterward)
The Duke of Richmond then straightened his tie and continued.
"But I want also take this time to reveal to you all that I plan on taking the Festival of Speed into the future, and I am doing this by announcing to you all that after 2019, every Festival of Speed that occurs on the Goodwood Estate will feature only bicycles. Yes, that's right, no participating vehicle from 2020 on will have an engine of any kind, everything that runs up that hill will be human-powered."
The assembled guests, with several CEO's of automobile manufacturing companies in attendance, were clearly in a state of shock after hearing this cannon shot of surprise over their bow, with almost all of them dropping their drinks and their jaws after hearing this pronouncement of doom for the internal combustion engine...or any engine for that matter...for this much-loved-and-ballyhooed event.
Someone in the group quickly gathered their wits about them, however, and then immediately asked for further clarification.
"Pardon? You're getting rid of all of the cars? And you're replacing them with...bicycles? What the hell?"
The Duke appeared to be slighted for just a moment after hearing no honorific being offered before being addressed, but brushed aside his annoyance and continued on with his speech.
"Yes, I've thought about it long and hard...for at least twenty or thirty minutes now, and I've made up my mind, the Festival of Speed will now focus on bicycles, end of story."
Will 2019 be the last year of motorized icons at the Goodwood Festival of Speed? It looks like this is entirely the case. Image courtesy of
The Duke continued on.
"You all behave as if I've just come up with this on a moment's notice, and haven't really thought things through. That is entirely not the case, as I did not come up with this on a moment's notice, it was more like half-an-hour's notice, so I will not allow you to continue to think that this is some half-baked idea that I cobbled together while in the shower."
"It is a fully-baked idea, and now that it is on the counter and cooling off, this plan of mine, although it is still kind of glued to the cookie sheet and will have to be scraped up by a spatula, this plan to make the future pedal-powered is how I and Goodwood will embrace the future of Great Britain, no, the world."
Are scenes like this the future of the Festival of Speed? The female on the back seat can be seen above receiving a smell of this very future, so that would appear to be the case entirely, sanity be damned. Image courtesy of Paketa Bikes.
"Celebrate with me! This is the future!"
"Look at what Great Britain is doing to its populace. They're doing this silly mandate that no petrol-powered cars should be sold here in a few years from now, and we're all supposed to go to electric or something, never mind battery-powered cars are actually dirtier to make and recharge versus petrol-powered beasts, and we're spending bazillions of pound notes on updating the electrical infrastructure...whether or not we can actually afford it."
"I am trying to get in front of this upcoming disaster, because in the not-too-distant future, all of us are going to be stuck with using bicycles anyway, so why not embrace our be-pedaled companions now, and get rid of all motor-powered vehicles, including the battery-powered ones?"
"Besides, if you think about it, most of the cars that go up that hill are just museum pieces that nobody wants to drive at full speed any longer. I could have a trained miniature pony pilot some of these cars up the hill, with as slowly as some of them go."
"One might think that if you were going to drive a car on the track during an event that is loosely referred to as the 'Festival of Speed', that all of the participants would actually be going some sort of...speed while out on the track, instead of appearing to idle along, as if they're driving irreplaceable, multi-million-dollar historical icons, and not race cars whose primary purpose was to, oh, I don't know, maybe race or something? I can already hear the fans now, saying 'hurry, you're holding up the line'. I think that in some cases, the bicycles move faster."
"At least this way, the worst thing that can happen is someone suffers some sort of cardiac event while pedaling away up the hill, we pick up the person, toss him or her over the hedge and out of the way, and keep going with very little chance of event stoppage. This is a win-win scenario for us, because we'll never have huge crashes or bicycles leaving a lot of engine oil out on the track surface."
"And just think of all of the glorious quiet we'll have with all of those loud race cars gone, I'll finally be able to finish reading the last three Harry Potter books during that weekend next year without distraction...unless some smart person tapes a bunch of playing cards to the spokes of their bicycle and rides up the hill while making a 'pbbbbbbbbb' sound, and in that case, I'll simply call in the military."
One such slow-driving offender during a Festival of Speed: A slow-as-tectonic-plates 1970 Plymouth Superbird, attempting to race a deceased tortoise up the hill...and losing. Pin it already. Image courtesy of sxdrv.com
SAVING MONEY ON THE ANNUAL CAR ART MAIN FEATURE/DISPLAY?
The Duke of Richmond continued.
"This reminds me of something else. Just think of how much money I could save each year if I'm not having to do some large scale car art display each and every time the Festival of Speed rolls around. Right now, there is a giant Hot Wheels display on my front lawn, with some sort of Aston Martin doing a loop. You really do not want to know what this cost."
This year's main feature centers on Aston Martin, and is called "Astronomical Martin", which artfully reflects how much old DB-5's cost here of late, and just like the race car on the sculpture, prices are going up, up, up. Image courtesy of Autocar.
"Think about it a moment: I could just do some cheap scaffolding instead of these leviathan displays, and use twine or something to hang up some bicycles on it in a beautiful and meaningful manner, voila, instant art, and the bicycle crowd would never notice that I cheaped out by lobbing a bunch of used Schwinns up there."
"If gaze further into this bicycle-powered crystal ball, you'll notice that bicyclists aren't exactly the most intelligent breed of mankind out there, sort of an early 'Homo Pedalus' hominid, several spokes short of a complete wheel if you ask me, so they'll love whatever I toss up, as long as someone rich and famous acknowledges their existence, they'll never notice anything wrong."
This art display celebrating seventy years of Porsche was called 'Porsche Barbecue', with the thematic elements being what it would be like for a giant to cook various Porsche automobiles over a roaring campfire. Image courtesy of us.gestalten.com
"Do not for a moment think that this will be a boring Sunday afternoon outing for a bunch of bicyclists who are blocking the road. I have researched various ideas for our bicycle-based entertainment, and one such phenomenon that I've seen which will be a great fit is bicycle drifting."
Professional bike drifting. This guy reportedly holds the record for the world's longest drift, a downhill on the Stelvio Pass. Image courtesy of Youtube.com
Did you think that the vintage racing fans were going to be left out by the nefarious plans of the Duke of Richmond? Guess again, as we see this vintage bicycle getting hot and heavy with the drift action. Image courtesy of welovecyclind.com
THE MEMBERS MEETING TO BECOME SIMPLY THE members meeting?
"Sorry, but we're fixing this as well, instead of making members drag their cars here and run them in the Members Meeting race, we're simply going to now have an non-capitalized member's meeting, where members will gather together in one of our great halls here and simply...meet."
"It's kind of silly, really, to have a capitalized 'Members Meeting' and the only place where they get to meet is out on the race track. They might engage that kind of laborious silliness in the London Mayor's office, but I don't like doing that here."
"The only reason why this 'event' exists anyway was that one of the office chaps did a bungle and committed a large typo error on some outgoing stationary to some of our members, and they mistook this simple mistake as 'hey, let's all of us bring expensive race cars here during one of the worst times of the year and go racing!'. I mean, I've been pretty nice about the whole thing and all, but I think that I've been patient enough."
"Essentially, you heard it here first: The Members Meeting is now merely the members meeting."
ULTERIOR MOTIVES: IS THE GROUNDSKEEPER THE REAL REASON WHY THIS IS HAPPENING?
There are some Goodwood insiders who suggest that the Duke of Richmond may have been moved into making these changes on short notice, due to one man: The Head Groundskeeper, known only as 'Phil'.
The only known picture of Phil, the Head Groundskeeper of Goodwood Estate. And no, he never blinks or sleeps. Image courtesy of Watchmojo.com
Phil has been apparently heavily annoyed with the damage to all of the grass that occurs whenever a Festival of Speed occurs, especially with scenes like this below, where a Dakar desert truck slides wide and uproots several square yards of turf.
Red Bull Truck Makes Phil The Bull See Red. This slide through the grass was the final straw for GoodWood Head Groundskeeper Phil, who swore to get revenge after this most-recent assault on his lawncare mandate. Image courtesy of kamazmaster.ru
According to these Goodwood insiders (okay, a former janitor by the name of Walter), Phil has been looking for a way to get these cars and trucks away from the lawn that he is responsible for, and after catching the Duke in a couple of compromising conditions, Phil apparently gathered enough ammunition to force the Duke into changing the Festival of Speed into a Festival of Bicycles. And if it wasn't that, then perhaps Phil simply annoyed everyone else into making huge changes to what happens during the F.O.S.
What are these possible compromising conditions?
There are suggestions that the Duke of Richmond was seen wearing a tuxedo T-shirt with an American flag on the back while jogging some months ago, and that it was the head groundskeeper Phil who witnessed this.
The Duke was then seen binge-watching the American version of "The Office" a week or so later and was then reportedly heard laughing and saying, "the American version is so much better than ours!".
The witness in this case also happened to be head groundskeeper Phil.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? TYPE YOUR ANSWERS BELOW!
Unfortunately, I do not think that the the motorsports public will ever know true motivation behind this sudden sea change, as all attempts to inquire further about this matter have been abruptly shut down, with the Public Relations contact always answering with, "who is this 'Phil' person you speak of?!?".
I had hoped to someday attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but unfortunately, after these developments today, I might be forced to hurriedly backpedal on any such desires, as I'm not interested in flying or driving across the pond in order to attend a Festival of Speed that is anything but.
Farewell, Goodwood, we hardly knew you.
It is probably a good bet that none of this ever happened.
In fact, it is probably safe to assume that this is indeed the case, as, uh, well, this is indeed the case.
Just in case you might not know, the unique brand of entertainment that occurs on the Goodwood Estate is provided by His Grace Charles Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond, 11th Duke of Lennox, 11th Duke of Aubigny and 6th Duke of Gordon, and also the 1st Duke of Awesomeness.
I am a difficult man to provide fascinating entertainment for, as most forms of auto racing are just that, auto racing, and while I'd gladly do any number of things to be able to visit the historic racetracks of the world at least once, it is a trio of events on the Goodwood calendar that I would gladly donate both kidneys, the wonky big toe on my left foot, and a large part of my brain (the parts that I haven't donated already to science) to be able to witness just once: Members Meeting, FOS, and of course, the Revival.
Le Mans? Bah.
Spa? Who cares.
Monza? It stopped being fun when they took the speedway portions away.
Nurburgring? Wasn't that a motorcycle track to begin with?
To me, Goodwood is the essence of all auto racing, in that it's a living, breathing library of our history, and while I might jokingly complain about how slow some of the cars move during the Festival of Speed, I am also jokingly complaining behind a solemn mask of ultimate respect, simply because it is gloriously stupid in today's age of profitability to run not one, not two, but three living history events that also just happen to occur on the same estate. If I have to watch a car limp up the hill, so be it, because someone out there thought it was important enough to take, in some cases, a car that's at least a century old and make it work again, even if there is no logical or profitable reason to do so.
That is what is so wonderful about these events, compared to modern motorsports: Everything, and everyone is still useful. Retired drivers can still go out and have a blast, and mechanics or engineers who are considered to be too old for the hurly-burly of current-day racing, they still have a place here, and can do so practically until the day they die.
None of this happens unless mad men make this happen. Thank you.
Now if I could get get over the fact that this track was inconveniently placed for the rest of the world...