British Formula 1 fans didn’t know how lucky they were during the halcyon days of the 1950s and ’60s – two decades of game-changing endeavour by ace pedallers and wizard engineers – at a time when motorsport’s premier league was quickly establishing a cult following.
Not for them just the once-a-year treat that was the British Grand Prix – held in those days variously at Silverstone, Aintree and Brands Hatch. No, racegoers back then had several opportunities to see their heroes at work on home soil.
Non-championship F1 races, featuring the majority of stars and cars of the day, took place regularly in Europe and, on these shores, Goodwood was a regular contributor to fans’ fixes.
Among the circuit’s period attention-grabbers, along with the seven RAC Tourist Trophy races and three Nine-Hour sportscar enduros, was the Glover, née Richmond, Trophy, which ran each Spring between 1949 and 1965 and pitted world-championship drivers and their teams against each other during time-off from the then-less-exhaustive world-championship calendar. With only one world-title-fight season during that period having more than 10 GPs (1958 featured 11 bouts), there was plenty of time for more out-of-hours fun.
The inaugural race, in the circuit’s first full season of operation in 1949, was won by Englishman Reg Parnell in a Maserati 4CLT/48. Parnell, whose success behind the wheel at Goodwood was followed by management glory there with Aston Martin’s world-title-winning sportscar squad, would win it again the following year in the 4CLT and for a record third time in ’54 in a Ferrari 625.
Apart from victories for Maserati-mounted Thai Prince Bira and Argentinian Ferrari hero Jose Froilan Gonzalez, who won in 1951 and ’52 respectively, success in the Glover Trophy was entirely the preserve of British drivers.
Former hillclimb champion-turned circuit racer Ken Wharton won for BRM in ’53, before the mid-50s weapon of choice, Maserati’s exquisite and effective 250F, took two wins courtesy of Roy Salvadori and Stirling Moss in ’55 and ’56.
Four different marques helped keep the British end up over the next four years, with Stuart Lewis-Evans (Connaught), Mike Hawthorn (in his world-championship year with Ferrari), Moss (Cooper) and Innes Ireland (Lotus) taking victory. Bike-racing king and four-wheel convert John Surtees gave Cooper a second win in 1961, with Graham Hill boosting his world-title-winning season with BRM in ’62.
Hill’s success that year was overshadowed by the infamous accident that ended Moss’s career. The Lotus 18/21 mysteriously careered off the road at St Mary’s while Moss was unlapping Hill, putting the world’s best driver in a coma for many weeks.
Ireland took another win for Lotus in 1963, aboard the BRM-engined 24, before the decade’s standout performer, Scot Jim Clark, secured the final two events in Colin Chapman’s revolutionary and world-beating Lotus 25. The 1965 race’s fastest lap, in what would be Goodwood’s final full season, was set by Clark and his BRM rival Jackie Stewart at 1m20.4s – a mark that would not be eclipsed in competition until 2010, when Andrew Smith’s Lola T70 Spyder Can-Am sports-racer went quicker.
And that was that for Formula 1 cars at Goodwood – until the Revival Meeting was born in 1998, 50 years to the day that it opened for business first time round.
Fortunately for fans of the era, the Glover Trophy has lived on, appearing on the Revival programme every year since that first modern-day celebration of the circuit’s heyday. And in a coincidental yet fitting twist, Glover Trophies old and new are tied on 17 runnings.
Andy Middlehurst has made the race his own in the past four years, winning each time in Classic Team Lotus’s immaculate Climax-engined Lotus 25. As modern-day Glover Trophy combat edges ahead with the 18th running of the race, can Middlehurst make it a four-wheeled Goodwood record with a fifth straight win?
Photography courtesy LAT