26th July 2013
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Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2013
The first weekend in July featured two magnificent classic motorcycling events. Richard Jones caught festival fever at the Goodwood Festival of Speed...
It would seem that festivals are like buses - you can go for months without seeing one and then there are two over the space of three days. Over the weekend of 12th to the 14th July 2013 we in the UK had the opportunity to go to the Goodwood Festival of Speed on the South Downs or the Festival of 1000 Bikes at Mallory. What is a chap to do? Well, actually, go to both…
Those of you who have read about my trip the Goodwood Revival last year will recall that my boss, Nick, and I travelled down in his Caterham which was an interesting experience to say the least. Since then the Caterham has been sold and it's been replaced with a 1924 Amilcar which is also interesting but in a different way. Apart from the fact that it seems to break down on a regular basis, the cockpit could be described as less than generous in terms of space. As Nick is generous in terms of his build the chances of us both fitting into the car at the same time were remote to say the least. So it was that I picked Nick up at 6am in Lola, the aging Lexus, and we set off to travel the 150 miles to Goodwood … to arrive 5¾ hours later with the last 10 or so miles taking over 2 hours.
A tip - if you decide to go to this event then set off so you arrive at 6am when the car parks open, go down the night before or lease a helicopter.
We missed the first round of bikes going up the hill as we were sitting in a traffic jam but we did hear it on the festival radio station which was rather frustrating. However we did arrive in time for a highly polished display of aerial acrobatics from the Red Arrows and there were, of course, lots of very expensive cars shooting up the hill, albeit coming down rather more slowly.
Frustratingly I also managed to miss the bikes going up the hill for their second appearance of the day - Nick wanted to see the land speed record display so we were there when it all happened. Note to self - ignore boss far more regularly than at present. Whilst at the display I took a photo of this motorcycle although it looks more like a missile than something RealClassic readers would be riding.
This is the Texas Ceegar - the nitromethane / methanol fuelled Triumph engine that took Johnny Allen to 214.4mph on Bonneville Salt Flats in September 1956. To celebrate the event Triumph named a model range after the location of the ride and the rest, as they say, is history.
I then hotfooted it - literally as well as figuratively as it was a very warm day - to the area where the bikes would be coming back to. Whilst waiting I had a look at the few bikes that had not been taken for a ride up the hill.
This Norton was a rather interesting machine; known as the Type F it was a 500cc race prototype tested by Ray Amm and Norton works mechanic Charlie Williams in 1954. The factory released no details as Norton withdrew from world championship competition and this is the only Type F in existence. The engine is mounted horizontally in a tubular spine frame and the machine was rebuilt to its original specification, which included a full fairing, with assistance from Charlie Edwards. According to the Goodwood programme it has eight cylinders and was ridden at the first Festival of Speed in 1993 by its owner John Surtees… who was also riding it here 20 years later.
I was busy taking photographs without a care in the world when I had the honour of nearly being run over by Sammy Miller returning on this 1954 BMW RS 54 Rennsport - entirely my fault due to a total lack of awareness of what was going on around me. Given Mr Miller is in his eighties he seemed remarkably spry for someone who had been out in the blazing heat wearing black leathers; he looked a whole lot better than I felt. The 490cc twin produces 45bhp at 8000 rpm and is similar to the one Walter Zeller rode in the 1956 championships when he came second to the aforementioned John Surtees riding an MV Agusta.
This gentleman had also returned - apparently he apparently raced bikes back in the day but his name escapes me for the moment. The motorcycle he was riding was glorious - one of the 500cc factory MV Agustas raced by Phil Read and Gianfranco Bonera who finished first and second in the 1974 FIM World Championship.
For those of you of a younger generation this 1980/81 Yamaha YZR 750 with its 175bhp had just been ridden up the hill by Kenny Roberts - he obviously had a man to bring his machinery back to the paddock as there was no sign of him.
I then ambled back to find Nick and our hosts, Jeremy and Mike of Jones Lang LaSalle, who had kindly invited us to the festival and provided the opportunity to get these photographs. The day was drawing to a conclusion and we started back to the car park to find Lola; a second tip - make sure you remember where you parked the car in the several acres of fields used for this purpose. On the way we came across this.
I wonder if you have to be a Gentleman to ride it?
Having finally found Lola we headed back home over back roads to avoid the traffic, relying on Nick's undoubted navigational skills. As a matter of interest there are some quaint villages around Goodwood - we passed through Cocking and Didling - and there are also roads with grass growing down the middle which seems strange for an affluent area. Perhaps its rural charm is designed in for the commuters.
If you want to see more photos of bikes, cars, planes and people go to www.flickr.com/photos/.../sets/
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