The Madness of a Car Weekend
A car-enthusiast-adjacent's take on the 77th Goodwood Members Meeting
So last weekend while the Mistress kept warm and dry and unmuddied, we went down to the 77th Goodwood Members Meeting. Last year I missed it because I was knackered on the Saturday and we got snowed in on the Sunday. I was told I would’ve hated it because it was so cold, but I still missed meeting up with friends.
This year started a little earlier for us because our friends, Jonny, Kat, and Karim, were managing a car that was going to race, the singular and very beautiful dark green Jaguar Gomm Special. They needed to be to Goodwood early Friday morning so broke up their trip by stopping at ours Thursday night. Sated with pizza and wine, we all got a good night’s sleep before they were out the door bright and early the next day. We had to work so weren’t heading down until Saturday, so we missed out on the trip to Wahaca and other Friday night shenanigans.
Because Goodwood race track is so exposed, you never know what you’re going to get weather-wise, but as my stepdad says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” One time, I stepped out of the car and went straight to one of the pop-up stores to buy a sweater. This year I bundled up, took gloves, scarf, and the ridiculously-priced-but-also-awesome mini hot water bottles that the hubs had to buy last year.
We met up with the crew, admired the extreme shine on the Gomm and then armed with coffees took a turn around the paddock. This is an exercise in spotting fun and cool cars and random friends. I love this. People come from all over to be at this event – some are covering it for various media outlets, some are here to race or run a car, some are die-hard car enthusiasts, and some are like me – here for the event of it all. It’s like most sports, I don’t follow or care that much, but I love the “event” of a Supebowl Party, live baseball game, or super cool car meet up.
During this tour, I found what turned out to be my 77MM crush. A sleek, ’57 white Ford Thunderbird a.k.a. The Battle Bird. I had never seen anything like it, and then my husband explained that it was only one of two built. It was just so strange and interesting and American in the midst of the other cars. I loved it. There were also some beautiful cars-that-sing-to-my-soul Bugattis, some very slick old Maseratis, and a madly painted Porche 917. We also spotted Senna’s nephew, Bruno, in the Mclaren Senna.
We wandered up to the track to watch the qualifying. Shortly after, I had a turn around the shops to see if there was anything I couldn’t do without. Then I sat near a fire to try to warm up and laughed at the frank danger signs posted there. Despite the open flames, I was pretty frozen and in need of coffee and a snack by the time the hubs came back. We had a delicious veggie burger from Green Box and some Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel cocoa to fortify us.
The gorgeous Gomm
The Gomm did well in its qualifying – holding its own and making a good show. I holed up in the Great Hall (oh-so-reminiscent of Harry Potter’s) with a couple of friends who were ready to warm up and made it through a few pints of Guinness before the rest joined us. We left the Hall when we heard the drums.
Bit of a long vid of the parade -- love the lights!
Now, we usually leave early on a Saturday because we have animals to feed and live close enough that staying over seems a bit silly. I knew there was a party on Saturday night BUT no one told me it was a flipping carnival! Fairground rides, stilt walkers bedecked in fairy lights, drummers, dancers – it was full on. We stayed to watch a bit of the retro beat boxers that looked like the Beastie Boys before we finally headed home for the evening.
We were back at it the next day ready for the races after we stopped to pick up water for the driver of the Gomm. Jonny, Kat, and Karim were pretty busy, so we left them to it and hooked up with some other friends after lunch, scouting out a nice viewing spot at the chicane. The Gomm was in the last race, so we settled in to watch a few others. The LMP cars did their high-speed display and nearly knocked out my eardrums. The Minis were great—flying around on two wheels and sounding like angry gnats. I loved the madness and history of the Edwardians in S.F. Edge Trophy. There is a special place in my heart for The Beast of Turin which was the fastest car in 1910 and looks like a massive red cannon on wheels.
Edwardians on the track -- Beast at the end.
The sun even made a welcome appearance, so I had buy ice cream. I also got to hold a very well-behaved, adorable, yet nonplussed baby out at his first car race. (He was our friend’s child, I didn’t randomly pick him up.) As people left for the day, we even scored deck chairs. All in all, a good afternoon. Unfortunately it was marred by an accident in the Gomm’s race – last one of the day. Everyone walked away, although I think that it will cost a pretty penny to fix the two vehicles involved. The race was cut short, and we packed up, said goodbye to our friends, and trudged back the 7 miles to the car. (I’ve just been admonished for my hyperbole, but at that time of day, it FELT like 7 miles.)
A bit of sun and bright smiles
Back home, with another Members Meeting under our belts, we washed the bonfire smell from our hair and put our feet up as we went through photos and videos of another great weekend.