TRYING to condense the highlights of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed and Moving Motor Show into one article is like trying to get a dozen top motor racing heroes to stop wandering off in the paddocks to stare at the fascinating cars and motorcycles on display; a real challenge. However, the record 185000 spectators at this year's Goodwood event in the UK were treated to many exceptional sights and moments.
The very first Festival of Speed attendance by two of the greatest names in Formula 1 racing - reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and previous champion Alain Prost - was worth the trip to Goodwood alone for many motor sport enthusiasts. Adding in over 120 other motor racing heroes; from Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, to Emerson Fittipaldi and Kenny Roberts, made the event all the more memorable.
The event's homage to Lotus, in the form of a 28m-high sculpture outside Goodwood House, also saw over 40 significant racing examples of the marque taking to the Festival hillclimb. The Festival's founder, Lord March, was generously offered the rare privilege of driving the ex-Jochen Rindt 1970 Lotus 72 Gold Leaf.
Goodwood also paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II during the event with a special Diamond Jubilee display honouring her 60-year reign. For the first time ever, the Cartier "Style et Luxe" concours d'elegance had just one subject, with royal vehicles ranging from stately saloons to an aeroplane, via a train carriage walked though by over 10000 visitors from 24 countries, a caravan and even a half-scale American Midget Racer starring on the lawn.
The judging committee consisted of the likes of the Queen's nephew Lord Linley, AC/DC front man and racer Brian Johnson, fashion accessories magnate Anya Hindmarch and actor Rupert Penry-Jones. This year, the overall winner was HRH The Prince of Wales' Aston Martin DB6 MkII Volante, while the sublime Chapron-bodied Citroen SM Cabriolet emerged on top in the Overseas' Engagements class. The Duke of Edinburgh's 1961 Alvis TD21 DHC SII claimed the Regal Runabouts category.
A hectic Festival culminated in the timed shootout on Sunday afternoon. Former British Touring Car Championship ace Anthony Reid brought the house down after recording the fastest time of the day. In a change from previous Festivals, this year's running saw more than 45 cars vie to take part in the top 20 shoot-out finale. David Tetley's fearsome "Stars 'n' Stripes" Opel Manta V8 kicked things off, recording a time of 57.34 seconds, the times tumbling until Rod Millen's Pikes Peak Toyota had an "off" following a grassy moment exiting Molecomb. The Kiwi emerged unscathed, and even managed a smile, but his truck's suspension was bent.
Following the restart, a psyched-up Reid blasted his Chevron GT3 racer up the hillclimb course in a staggering 46.46 seconds. He narrowly edged out the favourite, Gary Ward, who streaked up the hill in 46.80 seconds aboard his Leyton House-Judd CG901B Grand Prix car. However, fastest man in terms of outright speed was Group C Jaguar XJR8/9 driver Justin Law who recorded a belief-beggaring 228km/h across the line. It was a suitably dramatic conclusion to a thrilling event.
Elsewhere during the event, Nissan entered the record books when its Leaf electric vehicle recorded the fastest time over one mile (1,6km) in reverse, averaging 88km/h over the run. As always there were a number of concept vehicles and debuts, with Jaguar showing its F-Type concept and McLaren pulling out its updated MP4-12C. Formula 1 cars were in abundance and there were numerous historics including F1 cars, legendary rallying icons and a host of road and race cars whose posters have adorned many a wall over the last century and more.
For those in the UK in September, the next fix of motor sport at Goodwood is the annual Goodwood Revival (14-16 September) where even more machines from automotive history come out to play, but remember to get your period costume.