It’s the smell of hot engines, rather than romance, that’s in the air this Valentine’s Day at Goodwood as the first competitive event of the year takes to the circuit. The South Downs Stages is the event, and it creates a rather unusual spectacle of the Motor Circuit, the rally organisers having their own take on Goodwood’s configuration.
The startline is half way along the pit lane, so you can up close to the full-bore blasts away from the line. Most of the lap is conventional, but there’s a slalom on the start finish straight and each team exits the circuit before the chicane to take in a coned section of the chicane paddock before reaching the finish line.
As ever with club level rallying, Ford Escorts make up a lot of the grid. A quick look at the gallery of previous winners shows you why; they dominate. But there’s plenty of variety: a Ford RS200 and a Ferrari 308 are probably the stand-out cars, but there’s also everything from a classic Mini to a Ford Racing Puma.
Entry is free and the action continues until about 8pm, so if you’re close to Goodwood there might be time to see some it; otherwise, we’ve put together a gallery above…