By John Ross
Sorry I am a bit late in tapping away at the keyboard, but there was a little thing called the Blue Streak Targa Rally got in the way.
WOW, WOW, WOW. I think that would just about sum up the weekend, but no doubt some of you would like to know a little more.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a petrolhead’s dream, every supercar ever thought of, plus a few more; from the world launch of Maserati’s new Chelsea tractor, to the craziest vehicle I have ever seen, the Aston Martin Cygnet, but this was no ordinary Cygnet which is normally a Toyota IQ with a posh interior and a bit of body styling. This one had been sprinkled with crazy dust in that they had shoe-horned the AM 4.7Ltr V8 into it. This was a one off for a customer (presumably from the Middle East). Perfectly road legal but god knows how it would handle with all that power. Presumably the boys from AM had that sorted. It sounded fantastic as the mechanics revved it to the max making the whole paddock area reverberate.
Hey I am wandering off the track here, the main reason that we (Jonathan, Caroline and Myself) travelled south, as guests of Jim Valentine, for the Rally section of the show. We had arrived on Thursday evening, set our tents, yes slumming it in a tent, none of these Glamping things, proper roughing it. On Friday morning we entered the rally paddock, first job was getting signed on, I was to get a run with Jim in the AMC AMX that he and Jonathan had used on the Peking to Paris rally, Caroline was taking up the seat that Barry had won in a raffle as passenger in nothing less than the same car she and Barry had won in at Croft back in January. Caroline was doing a good job of winding up her driver Barry Gill who is the PR guy for WD40, sponsors of Steve Petch, by saying that last time she had sat in this car she had won the rally, and only the week previous to this she and Barry had come 9th O/A in a 1600 Peugeot, to which he said , “here’s the keys I think you better drive”.
Anyway off they went with Caroline in the passenger seat having a great time.
In the mean time I was getting suited and booted for my ride in Jim’s AMX, my goodness can’t it set off quick in a straight line, the only problem being it was never designed to go round tight bends , off road or through forests. It was a handful, still we got round in about 3min 15sec, though there was an awful lot of grinding and banging. It turned out that when we got back to our pit area the top spring mount had broken away letting the coil-over go just wherever it wanted. Despite the fact I was not dressed for crawling under cars (SMC Blue Streak Shirt and white chinos, doing my best to advertise our event way down south), I was under the car helping to strip down the suspension. After it was all patched up team SMC disappeared into the woods to see how the AMX performed with the suspension in a bit better order and everything pointing the right way. But a heavy landing off the jump caused the sump guard to bend around the cross-member and squeezing it and the steering rack slightly. It was therefore decided that Jim would take it easier on his 4th and final run of the day. We in the meantime retired to Chichester for a very nice steak to end the day.
Saturday the sun rose even hotter (can you remember those days we called summer?) and we headed down the hill away from the rally paddock to view the Hill Climb and all the exotica on show around the big house where this year’s art installation on the front lawn was a 52Mtr tall spire with 6 Porsches bolted to it forming a star.
From here it was a matter of which way do you turn, what do you do, watch the Hill Climb, look at the cars in the paddocks, go round the tents which sold everything from spare parts for whatever you wanted to clothing and works of art or simply go round the manufacturer showrooms. Some of the latter were twice the size of any car dealer’s premises in Carlisle and anything up to 4 storey’s high. Whichever way you turned it was jaw dropping vehicles in every direction, motor sport history on a plate, you name it and it was there together with the famous drivers who had driven the vehicles in the past. Beyond the F1 paddock, yet seamless being part of it was one of the many spectator car parks which in itself was as much a part of the show as any of the staged exhibits. This was the performance car, car park, probably well in excess of 1000 cars, few of which would have less than 300bhp or a price tag much below £100k and this was merely a car park.
I could ramble on here for days but I will just leave you to your own imagination and You Tube to fill in the rest of it all.
My only final comments will be that if you get the chance to go to the FOS then GO. Yes it is a long way but my goodness it is worth it.