GRR

Henry Hope-Frost’s Top 15 Revival Moments

12th September 2017
Henry Hope-Frost

Recalling dozens of sensational highlights during three days of on- and off-track theatrics at the Revival, the self-styled ‘magical step back in time’, helped by reams of photos and videos, once again served to confirm the difficult task of choosing a sensible number of favourites from the 20th retrospective. 

Stop-start rain, much of it biblical, failed to dampen any enthusiasm among competitors, crews or spectators; in fact, it made for a fabulous spectacle thanks to topsy-turvy grids and hard-charging on a treacherous and ever-changing surface.

It was again a pleasure and a privilege to be able to witness it at close hand, chatting on air to many of the stars of the show in the paddocks and assembly area and on the grid during pre-race build-up and podium ceremonies.

These are the 15 moments that made my favourite three days of the year, at my favourite place on the planet, particularly memorable.

Short-wheelbase showstoppers

At tea-time, on Thursday a sextet of Kinrara Trophy Ferrari 250 GT SWBs was pushed onto the grid for yet another unique Revival photo shoot ahead of the event. Unsurprisingly the gathered masses were wide-eyed and slack-jawed at the visual feast cooked up by the multi-million-pound Italian beauties. On show were the cars entered for Clive Joy/Jarrah Venables (11), Vincent Gaye/Anthony Reid (42), Alain de Cadenet/Christophe Van Riet (20), David Franklin/Frank Stippler (16), Marc Devis/Derek Bell (9), and Thomas Studer/Conrad Ulrich (10) and together they created possibly the coolest Ferrari photo ever taken at Goodwood. 

Ecurie Ecosse veteran with tales to die for

Belying his 87 years, charming and enthusiastic Australian Ron Gaudion was overwhelmed by his return to Goodwood after a 60-year absence. Our sadly-all-too-short chats on the grid during the daily Ecurie Ecosse parades, in which he regaled the crowd with tales of his time in his early-20s building Jaguar-D-types, before spannering the factory and Ecosse cars during their hat-trick of Le Mans wins, were infectious and indulgent. They really don’t make folk like this anymore. Get that book done, Ron!

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Stewart saddles hero Fangio’s Maserati 250F

While watching his hero Juan Manuel Fangio’s artistry at the wheel of the exquisite Maserati 250F en route to a fifth world title in 1957, a teenaged Jackie Stewart, soon to embark on a stellar career of his own, can only have dreamed that he’d one day eclipse the great Argentinian’s Grand Prix victories. He was thus thrilled and humbled to sample the very car, chassis 2529, in which the Maestro had come from behind to defeat the Ferraris in the German GP at the Nürburgring in ’57.

Kristensen’s Thunderbird is go!

There’s an air of expectation around Tom Kristensen at Goodwood. The great Dane’s record at the Motor Circuit is staggering, comprising as it does numerous top results in cars that he’s never before seen, let alone driven. Think 2011 RAC TT Celebration, 2015 St Mary’s Trophy and 2016 Kinrara Trophy victories, for starters. This time, the nine-time Le Mans winner hurled Bill Shepherd’s underdeveloped and massive 7-litre Ford Thunderbird up to fourth in the opening St Mary’s thrash from a pitlane start after qualifying failure, only to succumb to a flailing exhaust within sight of a podium finish. His slip-angle skills are still out of this world.

Dark sees the light for Settrington Cup glory

The pride on the face of Bugatti racer Tom Dark during the second heat of the Settrington Cup Austin J40 kids’ pedal-car race as his lad Harry hunted down the leader with a hunched-over, fixed-gaze focus, accompanied by a distinctive wheeze born out of his maximum-attack effort, was palpable. Young Harry had finished second the day before in the dash from the chicane to the finish line and victory this time would hand him overall glory. I never know what I’ll get during on-air post-race interviews, which just adds to the fun.

Henry sharing a moment with Fangio's sons - surprise guests at Revival 2017.

Henry sharing a moment with Fangio's sons - surprise guests at Revival 2017.

Fangio family fever

When a call came in from Goodwood management during Friday’s qualifying day requesting I interview the sons of Juan Manuel Fangio, assembled around their father’s Maserati 250F that was housed in the recreation of the Nürburgring pits, you can only imagine my reaction. Oscar ‘Cacho’ Espinosa and Rubén Vazquez, who’ve been the subject of much media interest over recent confirmation of their famous bloodline, were delightful, showing me pictures on their phones of them with their father. ‘Cacho’, whose English was good enough for us to talk about his F3 exploits in 1966, which included a race right here at Goodwood, was thrilled to see the 250F again. Surreal in every way. 

Junior joy for Roach

The unbroken run of classic Formula Junior races at the Revival continues after a mighty scrap for honours in the Chichester Cup kickstarted Saturday’s programme. Poleman Stuart Roach, aboard an Alexis Mk3 for the first time, and Peter de la Roche, making his first start in the less-competitive BMC chassis/engine combination, took off at the front and towed each other around. When Roach was put on the grass while passing backmarkers on the run into the funnel-effect Woodcote corner the crowd held its breath as he kept his foot in, careered round the run-off concrete and emerged still in front to make amends for last year’s victory-robbing failure. De la Roche was only 1.2sec adrift at the flag and knew he’d missed his chance.

Rush hour on the A40

Frank Stippler was untroubled up the road in John Young’s Jaguar Mk1, once Andrew Jordan’s Austin A40 had popped its motor, and Jason Plato maintained a distant but comfortable second in Nick Naismith’s Austin A95 Westminster as the first part of the St Mary’s Trophy tin-top race for 1950s saloons wore on. Behind them, though, was a breathless barrage of action, courtesy of the A40s of Rob Huff and Michael Caine. The two pro racers bobbed and weaved and ducked and dived as one for lap after lap in an ultra-close and ultra-clean demonstration of their skill; Caine edged it by two-tenths at the flag to seal his place on the podium. These cross-ply-tyred, aero-free machines never disappoint around this fast and flowing circuit. 

Anglo-Italian relations put to the test

The plucky Brit was lighter and more nimble, while the glamorous Italian machine had a bit more grunt. Which begat an absolutely classic contest. Mike Jordan’s Austin A40, complete with new 1300cc engine after its heat-one failure with Andrew on board, duked it out with the pole-sitting 1600cc Alfa Romeo Giulietta Ti of Dickie Meaden and the result was always in doubt, even after Meaden’s heart-stopping, lock-stop moment exiting the superfast Fordwater corner had handed the lead to Jordan. The two repeatedly gave each about a foot less than they needed to pass, but they both stayed on. The Alfa fought back after its wobble to make a decisive final move on the Lavant Straight to secure victory, journo-racer Meaden convinced he’d blown it. Brilliant!

Dunlop delivers in Barry Sheene Memorial blast

Michael Dunlop, 15 times an Isle of Man TT winner, with his latest victories coming a few months ago for Yamaha and Suzuki, adored his 2016 Revival bow aboard Michael Hose’s Manx Norton. After taking an aggregate finish of seventh, the Irishman vowed to be back in 2017. True to his word, Dunlop returned, this time partnered by his brother William on a mighty MV Agusta. Sadly, a mid-race engine failure, just after William had climbed on to consolidate his brother’s race-leading pace, put paid to their efforts. With no time to repair the MV, the boys were lent a Manx Norton for race two. Undeterred, they brought it home in third but were penalised for missing the pitstop window, dropping down the order. They’ll be back…

Dario’s D-type delight

IndyCar hero Dario Franchitti bought into and embraced the whole Goodwood thing some years ago, and his enthusiasm for the movie-set retrospective remains undimmed. Now a familiar face to ITV viewers, the Scot this year got behind the wheel of Fangio’s famous Maserati 250F and was entrusted with one of the Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-types. “I had a toy of this car when I was a wee boy!” he enthused about the Le Mans winner, clearly fit to burst with national pride. Franchitti has cleverly balanced the need to share the passion with his huge fan base with avoiding any over-privileged ego mania. Check out his Twitter and Instagram pages and you’ll see what I mean. 

Jordan’s wet-weather Whitsun charge

Once pole-sitter Mike Jordan had been banished to the back of the Whitsun Trophy grid over damper-legality issues with Philip Walker’s Ford GT40, we all knew we were in for a treat. And the former British GT champion didn’t disappoint, sliding the V8 prototype on the power and on the brakes while scything his way through the pack. The fourth-gear wheelspin-induced squirm under acceleration beyond the start/finish line was particularly amusing. Mike seemed entirely unbothered by it all as he got all the way up to fourth, with third-placed Mike Whitaker’s Lola T70 Spyder getting ever closer as the flag fell. 

Stretton goes in search of success

Using his vast reserves of ability and experience, Martin Stretton looked every bit the up-and-coming single-seater racer fresh out of karting as he sought grip wherever he could during the rain-lashed Glover Trophy F1 race in Malcolm Thorne’s spaceframe-chassis BRM-engined Lotus 24. Stretton had his work cut out trying to prevent a sixth win in seven years for Andy Middlehurst in Classic Team Lotus’s monocoque Lotus 25-Climax, who’d garnered pole in the rain-shortened qualifying session. ‘Softer spaceframe car better in these conditions than the 25?’ I enquired of Stretton beforehand. He replied with a wink: “Ask me afterwards!” Not in the slightest bit unsurprisingly, he knew something I didn’t and took his second Glover win some eight years after his first. 

Hancock’s Ferrari fanfare

A mighty qualifying effort by Olly Bryant in the family 2-litre Lotus 15 to secure Sussex Trophy pole in the dry ahead of the big-engined sports-racers hadn’t deterred Sam Hancock, fourth in Nick Leventis’s Ferrari 246S Dino – even with the grunty Costin-bodied Lister-Jaguar of David Hart and the pugnacious Sadler-Chevrolet of the exuberant Julian Majzub between him and Bryant. Olly duly led the early running in foul conditions, while Hancock moved his way up in the 2.4-litre Italian machine that already had four Sussex Trophy wins on its CV. Once past the Lotus, Hancock rain-danced his way to victory, six seconds clear by the flag. Beautiful car, beautifully driven.

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Brooks at brilliant British best

Sitting on the rear wheel of a priceless Vanwall Grand Prix car out on the grid during the Aintree 1957 celebration, cameras trained on me as I chatted to British F1 ace Tony Brooks, complete with period leather helmet, was a pinch-me moment to rival any I’ve experienced at this otherworldly event. The softly-spoken 85-year-old praised superstar team-mate Stirling Moss and expressed regret over his friend’s absence through illness, as well as thanking everyone who’d helped recreate a bit of the magic of 60 years ago, before taking any plaudits of his own. Pure class.

Photography by Tom Shaxson, Drew Gibson and Charles Goddard 

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