I love the smell of two-stroke in the morning: Goodwood FOS

13 Jul

I’m going to jump right over our time in West Marden, Sussex, to the Goodwood Festival of Speed (FOS to the afficianados). Don’t worry, I’ll get back to West Marden, but Goodwood was such an exciting, iconic experience I want to tell you about it and share some sights and sounds with you. Sadly it’s sold out for this year so you’ll have to wait for 2014 but believe me it’s worth the wait.

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FOS is something Stuart’s been hankering to do for years. As it fitted in neatly before the sailing trip he bought us tickets online for the first day of competition, today/Friday. It’s been years since you could rock up and buy tickets at the gate. With 150,000 people on site every day of the long weekend organisers leave nothing to chance.

Twenty years ago Sussex landowner, the Earl of March, decided to indulge his love of fast cars and motorcycles by creating a public race event on the family estate, Goodwood Park, that combined classic cars with contemporary racers. This year’s anniversary event was huge as it was also a celebration of 50 years of the Porsche 911.

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The grounds open at 7am with the first hill climb event at 8:45am. My advice, be there for 7am. Traffic tailbacks can stretch ten kilometres.

We arrived at 7:20am. Plenty of time to drool over the classic cars in the paddock as they fired up to move into starting position for the hill climb race.

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There’s a vast amount to see, the Moving Motor Show, Style and Luxe display cars, poster art, house and grounds with this year’s monumental art, the Red Arrows air display and the rally stage through the forested upper part of the property. We took the tractor trailer shuttle up and back from the rally to save time and picnicked beside the hay bails next to the track.

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Back at the motorcycle paddock in the midst of delicious two-stroke fuel smells I had my first bout of tears for the day. Stu pointed out world champ Barry Sheen’s Number 7 Suzuki race bike. British-born Barry lived at the Gold Coast from the 80s and died there of oesophageal and stomach cancer in 2003 aged 52. I’d been so accustomed to seeing him call races it was cruel that he died so soon.

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Barry Sheen’s bike on the hill climb.

Then there was the McLaren display featuring Ayrton Senna. The recent documentary film about the life and tragic death of the beautiful Brazilian is still fresh in my mind. Heartbreaking for his family, friends and the millions who admired him.

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Goodwood pulls major talent. Today Stirling Moss, Nelson Piquet, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were racing and doing publicity which is how I got this shot of Sebas.

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My last tears for the day were for the very old, frail chap on his own, carrying a plastic bag, shuffling out of the grounds in front of us. He was clearly in discomfort. It was very hot. The car park was huge. I couldn’t bear it. I asked him if he was ok. Did he have far to go?

He was surprised at my questions. He smiled and said he’d be ok. He was just hot and his knee had started playing up. He’d had a good day. So had we.

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Excellent Sussex sparkling wine.

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The inevitable Top Gear ride with Stig.

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Basic accommodation for racers.

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The Doc’s bike on right.

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2 Responses to “I love the smell of two-stroke in the morning: Goodwood FOS”

  1. Julie Kempnich July 14, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    Hi Sharon Excellent photos and coverage from you, as usual. I can understand why I have heard the Goodwood name so often among Russ and his car buddies , now. What a wonderful assortment of cars and displays. Russ will be envious to have missed the 911 celebrations there especially. Fingers crossed for calm seas for your cruise and a safe flight home for Stu. Julie xx

    Sent from my iPad

    • Sharon Tickle July 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

      Julie, You and Russ must go!!!

      There is some amazing hospitality stuff too – corporates and packages so look at that.

      Russ would die and go to heaven.

      Sxx

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