Goodwood Revival devotees will once again get all manner of retro racing fixes next weekend, thanks to superb on-track combat featuring many of the cars that starred at the West Sussex circuit during its heyday between 1948 and 1966.
Whatever floats your boat during this three-day motorsport history lesson – the skinny-tyred, supercharged ERA voiturettes from the 1930s in the Goodwood Trophy, the half-litre Formula 3 single-seaters of the late 1940s/early ’50s that do battle in the Earl of March Trophy, the race into dusk featuring the ‘Nine Hours’ sportscars of the Freddie March Memorial Trophy, the Glover Trophy monocoque Grand Prix cars of the 1.5-litre formula, the 1960s big-banger Can-Am beasts of the weekend’s fastest race, the Whitsun Trophy, or the beautiful 1960s GT cars in the multi-million-pound RAC TT Celebration – every base is covered.
And that’s not forgetting the St Mary’s Trophy – the two-driver, two-part touring car thrash – or Richmond & Gordon Trophies for front-engined F1 cars of the 1950s. Even ’bike racing fans are catered for with the hugely popular Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy, now contested by a competitive mix of historic 500cc specialists, retired GP aces and contemporary Superbike and TT stars.
Another traditional part of the annual line-up that warrants further excitement is the curtain-closing Sussex Trophy for World Championship sportscars and Production sports-racers of the second half of the 1950s.
Featuring glorious, front-engined endurance racers built between 1955 and 1960 – all with more power than grip to keep drivers busy at the wheel – the race has been a mainstay of the Revival since its inauguration in 1998, which reflects its popularity in period.
Traditionally run during the Easter weekend, Sussex Trophies in the 1955-’60 period attracted many of the international single-seater and sportscar racing top-names of the day.
In that first season, three races took place. In one, Roy Salvadori’s Aston Martin DB3S defeated the Ferrari 750 Monza of Michel Poberejsky (who raced under the pseudonym of ‘Mike Sparken’) and the Jaguar D-type of former Le Mans winner Duncan Hamilton. Archie Scott-Brown’s Lister-Bristol held off Tony Brooks’ Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica to win another, while Les Leston led Ken McAlpine to a Connaught ALSR one-two in the third.
British F1 racers had it all their own way in 1956, with Salvadori’s Climax-engined Cooper T39 beating Bob Gerard’s Bristol-powered T23 version in one race, while Stirling Moss’s Aston Martin DB3S held off the HWM-Jaguar of Hersham Walton Motors frontman George Abecassis in the other.
For 1957, the Sussex Trophy became a one-race, winner-takes-all affair that was still very much a highlight of the Easter meeting. Former winner and Lister favourite son Archie Scott Brown took his Jaguar-powered machine to an easy win over two Astons – the DBR1 of Roy Salvadori and DB3S of Tony Brooks.
Two great British names came together to win in 1958. Stirling Moss and Aston Martin took Sussex Trophy honours, five months before adding victory in the World Sportscar Championship-qualifying Tourist Trophy to their CVs. At Easter, Moss drove a DBR2, the larger-engined sister car to the TT-winning DBR1, and defeated the Ferrari 206 Dino of friend and fellow F1 racer Peter Collins and the Jaguar D-type of Duncan Hamilton.
Having finished a distant fourth in 1958, courtesy of Peter Whitehead, Lister came back in ’59 determined to win back the Sussex Trophy. Former Jaguar Le Mans winner Ivor Bueb granted the British firm’s wish, taking his Jaguar-motivated works car to a six-second win over Peter Blond, whose similar car was owned and entered by Marks & Spencer heir Jonathan Sieff.
In the final period Sussex Trophy for traditional front-engined sports-racers, in 1960, Roy Salvadori triumphed in John Coombs’ Cooper Monaco T49, with Jimmy Blumer making it a one-two for the Surbiton sportscars. Also competing – and failing to finish – that day, aboard a Border Reivers Aston DBR1, was Jim Clark, the Scot still a few weeks away from making his Formula 1 debut for Lotus.
For the full complement of Revival fever, make sure you stick around on Sunday afternoon for the Sussex Trophy, which in true Goodwood style promises another furious scrap between icons of the era, Aston Martin, Cooper, Ferrari, Jaguar and Lister, with Maserati, Sadler and Tojeiro giving them a hard time as the curtain falls on the 2015 event.