A miniaturised dose of Goodwood fun can be found near the start line of the Hill at the 2021 Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard this weekend. We mean miniaturised dose of Goodwood quite literally, too.
See this awesome miniature FOS Hill
Find your way to the Thakeham Family Area, to the left of the starting straight if you’re coming from the Goodwood, and there to greet you will be miniaturised versions of the Goodwood Motor Circuit and the Festival hillclimb, complete with Scalextric cars. On first acquaintance, they’re wonderfully faithful to the real thing, down to the grass, the hay bales, the spectators and even the House. It’s all the work of The Racing Room, an outfit well-versed in miniaturising famous racing locations from around the globe for recreations that are equal parts fun and faithful.
“Watching the videos, looking on an OS map, you don’t get a sense of the elevations, inclines and cambers of this place,” said Thomas Hall of The Racing Room. “So we and our partners had to come for a site visit, to get a full sense of what we wanted. The end product is a mixture of handmade things and traditional model making and 3D-printed parts. If we were having to make this to perfect scale – Scalextric is 1/32nd – it’d have to be 150 metres in length. We have a space of seven by four metres. So we came up with an artistic interpretation of Goodwood.”
The kicker with this installation at the 2021 Festival, however, is that wannabe small-size racers don’t control the cars on the Hill and the Circuit with controllers, they control them with bikes. Yes, you clamber onto a fixed bike, and ‘power’ the circuit with your pedalling. It’s all running on pedal power rather than plug-in power – a pleasing parallel with Thakeham’s sustainability push for net-zero emissions by 2025.
We had to give it a go. Unlike controller-Scalextric, you’re not modulating throttle with your thumb, you’re modulating with your legs. Combine that with the fact that your pedalling has to build up power, rather than getting an instant shove like with a controller and some recalibration is required.
Pedal hard from the start, let off (but not too much) for the first corner, power on again (but not too much), and so on, as you judge your way up the Hill. It’s easy as an adult to give it too much power and send the DeLorean slot car flying off into the bails. Our time? Well, the only run that went well was the practice run, given that I took it easy. On both timed runs I gave it too much power. Two pitiful nine-second runs couldn’t come close to the man at the head of the leaderboard, Tom, with a 5.91-second run. Nice work, mate.
It’s perilously addictive but we didn’t want to keep any eager young racers from having their go. That said, drivers of all ages and sizes have been coming down to prove their Hill performance.
“We’ve had everyone from four-year-olds, where I’ve had to pedal for them and ask them when they want faster or slower. Then we’ve had lads coming down with their beers, having tournaments at nine in the morning. The competition between family and friends has been pretty intense.”
Families, friends, young and old(er), get down there and give it a go! It’s a good laugh, just don’t get too competitive...
Photography by Phil Hay.
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