Rummaging about through some of our negative files just this morning, I came across a sheet or two of film strips that my late photographer colleague Geoff Goddard – who, incidentally, we lost ten years ago on April 24 – shot in the last Goodwood International Easter Monday Meeting, 50 years ago now – in 1966.
MAY 04th 2016
Doug Nye – Goodwood's Amazing Final Flourish
One of the more pleasant effects of shuffling ever further along life’s path is the increasing number of half-forgotten mind pictures and recollections that are lying there somewhere, just beneath the surface, and still so readily rediscovered. It’s as if within each of us there’s an eager archaeologist, all tweeds and whiskers, wellie boots and trowel in hand, ever eager to dig deeper whenever a likely-looking seam happens to catch the attention…
I felt pretty much that way this morning looking through these negs as they took me through that Easter Monday Meeting. While the main event was the ‘Sunday Mirror’ Trophy race for 1-litre Formula 2 cars, the heavy metal was there in the supporting British Championship saloon car race with 7-litre Ford Galaxies and 4.7-litre Ford Mustangs shaking the old Motor Circuit and its environs to the core – while the always spectacular works Lotus-Cortinas, Broadspeed Team Ford Anglias and the works Mini-Coopers and Alan Fraser Hillman Imps were buzzing around behind, angry hornets keeping the big boys honest.
The Editor of ‘Autosport’, Gregor Grant, began his report like this: “It was definitely Jack Brabham’s day at Goodwood for the Easter Monday international meeting. The maestro himself, with Denny Hulme in his slipstream, made it look all too easy in the ‘Sunday Mirror’ 42-lap Formula 2 race. Once they had disposed of their closest rival, Jackie Stewart in the Matra-BRM, the two Honda-powered machines cantered to an easy victory. Finishing 0.4 seconds ahead of his team-mate, Jack took the chequered flag at an average speed of 102.79mph. The Goodwood timekeepers must have been caught unawares, for Brabham actually covered 43 laps before the flag fell…”
Wary of the traffic jams which had delayed access to the circuit at the previous year’s Easter meeting, Gregor had actually chartered a Ken Gregory air taxi from Denham Aerodrome, just west of London, flying the 53-odd miles down to Goodwood in “…a twin-engined Aero Commander with seats for five passengers”.
Amongst Geoff’s negs I found the start line-up for the feature race, with Denny’s Brabham-Honda on pole a full second faster than his guv’nor Jack Brabham in the centre of the front row and Jackie Stewart in Ken Tyrrell’s startling new aerospace-fuselage Matra-BRM on the outside. Behind them sat Jimmy Clark, who had to swap his Ron Harris-entered Lotus 44 with team-mate Pete Arundell’s on the grid since his assigned car had fuel pump problems, and Graham Hill in ‘Noddy’ Coombs’ latest Brabham-Cosworth.
So between them the five drivers on those two Goodwood front grid rows would represent eleven – yes, eleven – Drivers’ World Championship titles, while with Jochen Rindt on the inside of row three behind, there was a twelfth. Not bad for a secondary-level Formula…
I was also struck – for once – by the saloon car supporting race coverage. Sadly that day’s race would be the one in which Broadspeed Ford Anglia driver Peter Procter rolled at St Mary’s in an opening-lap melee, his car erupting into a fireball and poor Peter being savagely burned, but surviving after many, many months of plastic surgery and painful convalescence.
Mike Salmon had led away in Paddy McNally’s blue Ford Mustang but on lap 6 Brian ‘Yogi’ Muir had muscled the big Ford Galaxie into the lead, with Jack Brabham third in Alan Brown’s brick-red Ford Mustang. Two laps from the finish, ‘Black Jack’ slipped ahead of Salmon to take second spot behind fellow Australian Muir, but Jack certainly found his Ford V8 difficult to handle after starting with one brand-new unscrubbed tyre on the front. In fact all his attention was concentrated upon staving off the surgical lunges of Jimmy Clark, right behind in the works Lotus-Cortina, which finally finished only 0.8 seconds behind on the timing line. Chris Craft and John Fitzpatrick in their Ford Anglias held off the Mini-Coopers and the Fraser team Hillman Imps which promised so much in the hands of police driver Ray Calcutt and journalist/promoter Nick Brittan.
The entire programme that Easter Monday had been opened by a 10-lap 1-litre ‘screamer’ Formula 3 race for the aspiring lads in their single-seaters. Pole position for that race was actually taken by Brian ‘Nosher’ Hart in a Lotus 35 entered by Peter Sellers Racing, having lapped at 1:27.2 in practice. Chris Irwin and Chris Williams were next up alongside him in their Chequered Flag dealership team and personal Brabham BT18s, and it was Williams – the Guildford-based accessories-shop proprietor who stormed into an immediate lead from Peter Gethin’s Sports Motors (Mancehester) Brabham BT18 and Irwin.
This trio pulled away from the pack until, on the penultimate lap, Irwin passed Williams leaving Madgwick corner, who slowed almost immediately to retire on circuit, leaving Chris Irwin with a clear-cut win. The former printer would be driving a Formula 1 Brabham before long.
Behind him John Fenning took second place in his Stockbridge Racing BT18, just ahead of Gethin (future Italian GP winner for BRM), Brian Hart in the Lotus 35, Roy Pike’s Charles Lucas-Team Lotus-entered Lotus 41 and Roger Mac in the older Chequered Flag dealership’s Brabham BT16. Chris Irwin’s fastest lap, incidentally, was in a new record 1min 26.6secs, 99.77mph.
What with Formula 3 single-seaters lapping at just a whisker under 100mph, the 1-litre Formula 2 cars at 1:22.2, 105mph… and the touring cars at a best ten seconds more, Muir’s 1:32.2, 93.71mph, the Motor Circuit was plainly in good condition for this, its International last hurrah. It might have been the Goodwood Motor Circuit’s final front-line International race meeting – but the much-loved venue certainly went down fighting, with fresh lap records, and multiple World Champion Drivers all starring that day…
Images courtesy of The GP Library
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