Sunday, 22 September 2013

Goodwood Revival 2013

Well, that's it for another year - for those who missed out on tickets for the premier retro car festival will have to wait until September 2014.  And of course, the Revival never fails to disappoint.  Or does it..?

Well, firstly it was a very early morning start on Friday from Manchester to head down to Brighton for the weekend.  And by early, I mean 5.00am.  A girl like me usually never sees 5.00am unless it's been a long night and I'm heading to bed, so to be awake and ready to leave my warm apartment for that time was a bit of a shock to the system.

Despite the best efforts of the M25 at rush-hour and the roadworks on the A23 Brighton road, four and a quarter hours later I found myself on the south coast, and, unable to check into the hotel until 2.00pm, with some time to kill.  I was at least ready for the changeable weather, having kept an eye on the forecasts all week, and Brighton was covered by a layer of cloud which occasionally threw down the odd and brief shower.  Breakfast called first, duly taken at the Blackbird Cafe in the centre of the town.  It was just my kind of place - suitably retro and quaint, but it was a bit expensive.

Dexi Independent Escort - Goodwood Revival 2013 - Brighton
Nevertheless, refreshed, I had a lovely wander around Brighton's lovely Lanes areas before heading back to the hotel to check in.

On the evening a group of us gathered at Food For Friends for our customary pre-Goodwood meal, including cocktails, of course.  After a few myself, including a blissful 'El Mulato', we had a fantastic meal and it was a rather tiddly Dexi that hit the bedsheets later that evening, very aware that I had another very early morning ahead of me.

Saturday morning arrived, and by 6.00am we were leaving our hotel for the 30-mile journey to Goodwood.  The weather, sadly, meant that my lovely vintage dresses were not an option, and I hoped my vintage suit, stockings, suspenders, and silk slip would offer enough layers to keep me warm.  We arrived at the Goodwood circuit by 7.00am, and although the gates to the actual race-circuit didn't open until 7.30am, the outfield area offered enough lovely sights to pass the time, including a red MG A, one of my favourite cars, and a motorhome to die for, entered later that day in the Bonham auction.  I'm not sure I could afford it, though, as apparently it managed 1mpg!

Dexi Independent Escort - Goodwood Revival 2013
 At 7.30am on the dot, the gates opened to the large crowd that had already gathered, and we filed in to the sounds of the brass band.  I love the early morning start at the Revival - it's a real opportunity to see as much as possible before the real crowds arrive later on.  This year is also 50 years since the birth of the Ford GT40 programme, and there were lots of these iconic cars on the circuit, as many would be competing in the Whitsun Trophy later that day, and it was great to see them all so close-up without the hustle and bustle of the crowds.  The Pits area is another great place to stop before the main crowds arrive.  The mechanics are usually busy fine-tuning the cars ready for racing, and the sounds and smells are almost as intoxicating as the El Mulato cocktail from the Friday night!  I stood next to one of the GT40's as the mechanic revved the thunderous engine, and the petrol fumes and noise made my eyes water.  Bloody lovely.

Dexi Independent Escort - Goodwood Revival 2013
 It's not just cars, of course.  Goodwood also has a quite impressive history when it comes to aircraft, and the Revival event also hosts the Freddie March Spirit Of Aviation Trophy - awarded to the best vintage aircraft on display.  Again, there was some lovely machinery in the Trophy this year, including an amazing German Junkers Ju52 from 1936.  And as always, dotted around the circuit, there are so many fantastic little displays that it's easy to miss them, especially once the crowds gather.

Dexi Independent Escort - Goodwood Revival 2013
I managed to spend a fair bit of time in the Vintage Market area, and for once didn't spend much at all - maybe my vintage wardrobe has reached a level where I either don't need anything else or I need to get rid of some clothes before getting new ones!

This year, I promised that I would try and see a bit of the racing itself, as usually I miss quite a bit, and my journey to Oulton Park a few months ago rather whetted my appetite.  There are larger crowds at the Revival than Oulton Park, of course, so we trooped off up the circuit to get away from the main area in order to see some racing, and I have to say some of it was spectacular.  The Magwick Cup provided most of them, as the tiny sports cars found that getting grip on the cold and damp race circuit was pretty difficult.

Dexi Independent Escort - Goodwood Revival 2013
With plenty of thrills and spills and speed, and I even forgot the chilly weather for a while.  Yes, sadly, the weather wasn't holding up - although there wasn't much rain (except just enough to make the racing interesting!), it was certainly cold.  My outfit wasn't quite keeping me as warm as I hoped, and our chosen spot next to the racetrack was not exactly sheltered from the wind.  However, on the positive side, our new location did mean that we had a great view of the aerial displays of the Spitfire, Mustang and Curtiss Warhawks.  We were also privileged to see  the longest-serving aircraft in RAF history - the Canberra, the RAF's first jet aircraft.  Not quite as ground-shaking as the Vulcan in terms of sheer decibels, but loud enough as it accelerated away from the circuit.

I did manage to see one last race, too - the Whitsun Trophy, featuring an all-GT40 line-up, and the sound and sight of those fantastic cars as they hurtled around the track was unbelievable - especially with flames shooting from the car's exhausts as they braked.  Quite astonishing.

By 5.30pm sadly I was tired enough to call it a day, and left with some tremendous memories.  However, of all the times I have been, this was certainly the coldest, which took some enjoyment off the day for me.  It is also is getting busier and busier, and the crowds are making it harder and harder to see anything or actually get anywhere.  Of course, the chances are that I will be returning, as it is still a great day, and will no doubt provide lots of memories and smiles as I look back at the photographs in the weeks to come.

Dexi Independent Escort - Goodwood Revival 2013
Speaking of photos, on my way back from Goodwood I called in to see a lovely photographer friend who needing a little modelling doing for his new website.  I was more than happy to help out, and have even managed to get a few pictures done for myself too at the same time.  Hopefully some of them will be on my website in the next few weeks, and I will of course keep you updated on that!

This week's Picture Of The Week was taken in the morning of the Revival, and is a little snapshot of me getting ready for the day ahead.  See?  Memories already...

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