I had a great commission from GP Racing magazine to follow F1 champion Nigel Mansell’s weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed documenting all the highlights as he drove his championship winning Williams FW14B for the first time in many years.
Sounds straightforward but, at a event with 150,00 visitors and an ever changing schedule, it proved trickier than I planned. With cars going up the hill twice a day over the the three day event I was pretty confident I’d have plenty of chances to shoot the imagery required for a six page feature. I started off in the Williams pit tent to say hi to the team and explain what had been pre-planned to find out that Mansell was now only driving the car on Sunday , knocking out 4 out of my 6 opportunities.
There were many good things going for me. The weather was great…not too hot, or cold or raining and I knew my way around having covered the Festival of Speed more than 20 times, I had all right track side passes allowing me into the assembly areas to get up close and personal to Nigel. But come Sunday the news came through that Mansell would now only drive the car once, for the afternoon run and I started to get a little worried.
I was pretty sure I could get all the pre-run imagery of the car being brought down to the assembly area and ‘Our Nige’ getting into the car and heading out onto the hill but with just a single pass I would only have one chance to shoot the necessary action photos that would almost certainly be the lead image of the feature.
I placed myself track side opposite Goodwood house for the drive by…close enough to run from the assembly area and the best chance of seeing the car for the longest time as it passed at speed. Action photography is not an exact science and I didn’t want to freeze the car with a high shutter speed that would guarantee a sharp image but lack any movement.So I covered other areas by speaking to other snappers who would be in different spots up the hill asking them to send me their images …just in case.
I needn’t have worried, I got the shot and hitched a ride up to the top paddock in the team support van to photograph all the atmosphere there before heading back down to the house for the interview on the balcony in front of thousands of fans.
Thankfully this year’s Goodwood Member’s Meeting was blessed with better weather than the snow we endured in 2018. As well as the fantastic wheel to wheel racing Goodwood always manages to pull some exceptional special features out of the bag for the Member’s meeting.
This year one of these was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 917. The Goodwood circuit closed in 1966 ,just three years too early to have ever seen the awesome Porsche 917 race here so it was an amazing sight to see five of these Le Mans winning monsters roaring down the main straight in a 50th anniversary tribute.
1970 Le Mans winner Richard Attwood drove the green and white chassis 001 recently out of restoration by the Porsche factory. Australian driver Mark Webber piloted the final iteration of the 917/30, the Sunoco Can /Am car which delivered, via its twin turbochargers, over 1500BHP.
Every year since it’s inception twenty years ago I have taken black and white images using various cameras and film at the Goodwood Circuit Revival Meeting.
Goodwood Circuit Revival 1998-1st race
I started out using my 1950’s Linhof Technika large format camera and Type 55 Polaroid black and white 5 X 4 inch sheet film which, as well as offering up the expected instant print ,gave a very fine negative too and this is what I printed from.Sadly Polaroid stopped making film and I got fed up looking at everything back to front and upside down on the back of the ground glass screen as well as carrying the necessary tripod around all day.
P51 Mustang pilot
So I moved onto a much more manageable 1960’s Hassleblad 500C that I had lurking in the back of my camera cabinet and found it didn’t need the tripod anymore and although images in the waist level viewfinder were still back to front they were at least the right way up. These early ‘blads are simple to use and were the choice of NASA to send with the Apollo astronauts to the moon…in fact a number of them were left there as they only brought back the film.
In the olden days photographers were allowed to stand in the craziest of places such as on the apex of the actual track as cars raced through it.This made for great pictures but was frankly bloody dangerous so whilst I do sometimes hanker for the good old days, getting run over by a Maserati 250F, isn’t on my wishlist. This leaves plenty to photograph with all of the atmosphere and characters wandering around the superb racing scene.
This year was no exception and with glorious weather all weekend I shot off my five rolls, with twelve frames on each, most of which appeared on my Twitter feed so if you want to see them follow me and scroll back a bit .Here are a few of the best characters I photographed in the old fashioned way.
GWCR 2018-Glam Cab
JM @ Goodwood Revival 2018
Credit for this last one of me using the Hasselblad : Dominic James
After over a 100 years without turning a wheel the Beast of Turin was back in England with a vengeance racing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and wowing the crowds with it’s deafening flame spitting roar. The stats are incredible for the Fiat leviathon with over 300HP on tap from it’s monster 28.4 litre four cylinder engine. The car has been rebuilt by Duncan Pittaway over the past 10 years after he discovered the chassis in Australia ,where it had been campaigned as the Fiat racing special, and matched it with the original engine. A pair of Fiat S76s were built in 1910 to snatch the flying mile and flying kilometre speed records back from the dominant Blitzen Benzs and Pietro Bordino drove the Beast at Saltburn Sands in Yorkshire in 1911 finally taking an unofficial record in Belgium at over 135mph.
I got a little too close to the action during the Goodwood trophy race at this year’s fabulous Goodwood Revival.The blue Parnell MG spun harmlessly back behind the chicane but on rejoining the main straight collided with the Alfa Romeo pushing it into the tyre wall. The Alfa rode up the wall bouncing back and rolling over trapping the driver underneath. I got the shot but had to jump out of the way to avoid the being part of the accident.Lifting the car with the track marshals we dragged the driver out and although shaken and sore he was OK. It was almost a mirror of a similar accident involving Jochen Mass and the Lancia Ferrari in the same spot a few years ago.The open wheel races are always the most dangerous but the drivers never do up their belts as it’s considered safer to be thrown clear than stuck with the car in a crash.!
A 1953 Maserati A6 GCS Berlinetta won the top prize at this year’s Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.One of only four made the car’s stunning lines were penned by Pininfarina and it featured the short stroke straight six 2 litre Maserati engine developing 170hp.The win also celebrated 100 years since Maserati was founded in 1914. Amongst the judges are Rowan Atkinson,Lord Anthony Bamford and Sir Chris Hoy.
An incredible turn out of 32 Bugattis made up the grid of the Grover Williams Trophy race at the Goodwood 72nd Members Meeting.The 71st members race meeting was held in 1966 just before the the Duke of Richmond closed the circuit. The race, which celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Bugatti Type 35 first built in 1924,featured no less than 16 T35s in all their guises as well as the ultra rare types 51, 57 and 59. Grover Williams, an Anglo-French racing driver won the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix in 1928 driving a Type 35 Bugatti and during the war joined SOE working with the French resistance before being captured and executed by the Nazis.The race was won by Charles Knill -Jones in a type 35B seen here in pole position.
The South Downs reverberated as the sound of more than 30 Ford GT40s took to the Goodwood motor circuit for the Revival meeting.Under leaden skies the Whitsun Trophy race and high speed demo’s celebrated 50 years of the legendary GT40 featuring a host of famous cars such as the 1966 Le Mans winner and drivers including Emanuele Pirro,Steve Soper and Andy Wallace who lead the pack into Madgwick on the first lap. But it was the unbeatable pairing of Red Bull’s Adrian Newey and Swedish ace Kenny Brack who took the checquered flag after a storming drive in Newey’s own1965 white and red-striped no 5 Mk1.
This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed saw some of the all time great Land Speed Record cars on display . As well as the new Bloodhound which is aiming to reach 1000mph in 2015 there were a number of icons of the race for speed including two cars driven by Sir Henry Seagrave’s the twin engined 1926 Sunbeam which cracked the 200mph barrier and the stunning Golden Arrow which took the record up to 231 mph on Daytona Beach in 1929. Both cars came from the National motor museum at Beaulieu.