It’s rather like the famous piece of wisdom often attributed to South African golfer Gary Player, but actually – like so many penetrating observations upon life in general - derived by him from very much earlier quotes. Player’s version in a 2002 interview for ‘Golf Digest’ magazine describes how: “I was practicing in a bunker down in Texas and this good old boy with a big hat stopped to watch. The first shot he saw me hit, went in the hole. He said, ‘You got 50 bucks if you knock the next one in’. I holed the next one. Then he says, ‘You got $100 if you hole the next one’. In it went for three in a row. As he peeled off the bills he said, ‘Boy, I’ve never seen anyone so lucky in my life’. And I shot back, ‘Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get’.”
Like Ms Trott I sometimes get frustrated about the things some people say. It’s like the perfectly balanced, chip-on-both shoulders, attitude of some to our Goodwood Revival Meeting. “All that dressing up and clowning around – it’s just a bunfight for toffs and hooray Henries…” Ahem – yes, well, anyone who knows Goodwood well is fully aware that such an attitude tells rather more about the person who declares it, than it ever does about the events themselves. The Revival Meeting’s most popular features were conceived with good intent, and have been applied since 1998 with the very best of good intent.
But the alleged correlation perceived in some circles between motor racing at Goodwood and what the Italians delightfully (and bluntly) describe as ‘snobismo’ actually dates way back into the past. In fact it dates back before the Goodwood Motor Circuit was even a twinkle in Freddie March’s eye.
The motoring body behind organising Goodwood races since their inception in 1948 is of course the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC). The modern organisation was created post-World War 2 by amalgamation of two pre-war bodies - the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club (the pre-war BARC) and the Junior Car Club (JCC).
Of the two, the pre-war BARC represented experience, dependability, absolutely the establishment core of British motor sporting administration, dominated by the snap-brim hatted, initially spats-wearing, upper-middle to aristocratic classes – with the practical duties of day-to-day operation devolving upon one or two bowler-hatted (and deeply trusted) dependable functionaries. If motor racing organisation during the 1920s and ’30s had been a British war movie then those at the top would have been the cut-glass accented officers, the blokes who actually did the frontline work the Cockney or broad-rural, maybe Yorkshire/Lancashire, NCOs… jolly good chaps in a tight corner…