In general, the British Automobile Racing Club’s race programmes for Goodwood were quite modest publications, compact and pocket-sized – matching the standard British pocket in a navy blue, black or brown raincoat – but they ran for the Easter Monday Meeting to a good 48 pages. I have one to hand here for the 1961 Easter Monday Meeting, precisely that size – with advertisements helping defray the cost from ‘The Autocar’, Avon Tyres, Rootes Motors (for the Sunbeam Rapier), The Owen Organisation (owners of the BRM team and major suppliers to the British motor industry, Gilby Engineering (Sid Greene and his young son Keith, entrant and aspiring racing driver), Ferodo, Molyslip, Ford, Esso, Lucas – yes, the Prince of Darkness himself – and many more familiar trade names.
Names of race officials were extensively provided and credited, the current Lord March’s grandfather ‘His Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon (resident of the British Automobile Racing Club’ being most prominently presented. Chief Steward of the Meeting representing the RAC was none other than the Right-Honourable Earl Howe PC, CBE, VRD backed up amongst others by F.H. Bale OBE MIMechE and E.C. Gordon England FRAeS. Now all of those names would have been familiar in Brooklands days, back in the 1920s and 1930s – which were then of course only as far past as the 1980s and 1990s today (now isn’t that a sobering thought?).
The Brooklands race programmes of the pre-war period are highly sought after collectors’ items still. They came to have a common artwork front cover for most regular meetings- rather in the style of contemporary touring posters on the railways – that kind of figure painting. Each front cover announced itself as ‘Brooklands Weybridge – Official Race Card’ and the common price for each one in the mid-1930s was one shilling. This compares to the 1961 Goodwood race programme, which would have rushed you a whole two shillings…
Amongst the Brooklands race programmes, there would be stand-out meetings – such as the British Empire Trophy Race – or the International Trophy. Those programmes had artwork covers entirely of their own – as did the great British Racing Drivers’ Club’s 500 Miles Race.