The ideal co-driver for the nail-biting tintop extravaganza that is the Gerry Marshall Trophy race at the 74th Members’ Meeting? Riorden Welby’s choice to share driving duties in his Sanyo-sponsored Rover SD1 might at first seem a little strange…
In his own words: ‘I have never driven a Rover SD1 before, or raced a saloon car. I’ve never driven at Goodwood and I am an old age pensioner.’
The co-driver does, however, go by the name of Adrian Reynard.
A successful racer in his own right before he started what became the world’s largest racing car manufacturer, Adrian can’t walk five yards down the Goodwood pitlane without being greeted by someone who knows him, or knows his cars.
And he’s been responsible for a few of those. You name the formula, there’s likely been a Reynard Motorsport chassis to compete in it, and usually win: Formula Ford, F3, F3000, Vauxhall Lotus, Nippon, Vee, Super Vee, Champ Car, Atlantic, IndyCar, Le Mans and – almost – F1 as well (Reynard’s 1991 F1 project was sold to Benetton before it raced).
Adrian told GRR: ‘My first car was a 1972 Ginetta G18 B but then in 1973 I spent all year building my own car. After that I just went on and built a few thousand more…’
After winning the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement twice, Reynard Motorsport closed in 2002 and today Adrian is enjoying being back as a competitor rather than a constructor. As well as some historic racing, Adrian races regularly in his Radical.
‘I enjoy motor racing now more than before. Before it was a business and there was a lot of pressure. If we lost a race or a championship… God forbid. It was always interesting though, I have had a great job and worked with some amazing people in an amazing company doing amazing things.’
So is Adrian going to win first-time out at 74MM like so many of his cars won on their debut?
‘I am happy to enjoy myself and bring Riorden’s car back in one piece. I have loved Goodwood for many years and am grateful for the opportunity to drive here. It’s a bit of a dream come true for me.’
Manhandling a lump of SD1 through Goodwood’s fast corners must represent a rather different challenge from what Adrian is used to?
‘You have to let the Rover slide a bit which is very foreign to me. In a single-seater or even the Radical you only let them slide a little so you don’t scrub off speed. But with the Rover you can enjoy a nice long slide and as long as you keep the power on it all goes in the right direction.
‘The Rover is pretty much what I imagined it would be like. It takes a bit of stopping but I haven’t locked up yet. My braking points are still early. Today is really a circuit learning day for me.’
The Sanyo Rover was doing well in the Gerry Marshall Trophy last year until the gearbox broke. With some mods and expert fettling by CCK Historic, Riorden Welby is hopeful of greater things this time.
‘There’s no reason why this car shouldn’t be as quick at Goodwood as the other SD1s. It has the same engine built by the same bloke as the others. Last year I qualified seventeenth and brought it home ninth in the first race, and this time we will do better than that.’
Just one thing to be decided: who will drive first in the two-part race, Riorden or his ‘rookie’ co-driver?
Photography by Tom Shaxson and Bob Murray