Goodwood Revival 2021 – The Chichester Cup
It was a great pleasure to be back at Goodwood after a two year absence, although there were noticeably fewer spectators than usual. It seemed that, based on the cars in the carparks and voices heard when wandering around, few continentals had made the trip, for obvious reasons. Also, some of the races did not have full grids although that was not the case for Formula Junior who had a truly splendid line up of 30 cars to be found in the paddock behind the Chicane.
Twenty different marques were represented in the thirty cars. Most were fairly familiar but it was good to see Kevin Musson’s very attractive two-tone green Dolphin (UK) Mk1 and Simon Goodliff’s Nike BMC. Daniele Salodini battled the twin foes of covid and customs procedures to bring his “new” Taraschi BT066, in grey livery with Scuderia Madunina badge, the car being ex-Angelo Bianco in period. Sharon Adelman was also present with OSCA J 012 and Magnus Ahlqvist made it from Sweden with Stanguellini 00188. In fact there were no less than 8 Italian front-engined cars; Bandini, Faranda, OSCA, Taraschi, Stanguellini (3) and Volpini. The only absentee was Floris -Jan Hekker from Holland in the Rayberg, Covid and Brexit requirements proving too much, but John Arnold was a last minute replacement in Niall McFadden’s Elva 100.
Qualifying was on Saturday after lunch and the weather was excellent, warm & sunny. Andrew Hibberd (Lola Mk2) was the first to set a benchmark with a lap of 1’29.301”. On his fourth lap Peter de la Roche (also Lola Mk2) knocked almost a second off this then trimmed it further to 1’27.519” on his eighth lap. NB in 1960, the lap record for FJ was 1’33.4” by Jim Clark & Trevor Taylor! Andrew remained second fastest with a best of 1’27.828” and the outside of the front row of the grid saw Ray Mallock’s U2 on 1’29.268”. Row 2 comprised Will Mitcham (U2) and Stuart Roach (Alexis Mk2). The fastest of the unofficial Italian class was, not surprisingly, Joe Colasacco (Stanguellini) with 1’33.705”.
Saturday was supposedly rest day, but much work was going on to restore the Dolphin to four wheels, with invaluable help from the Mallock Team, and to strip down Graham Barron’s one litre BMC engine in the Gemini, local man Robin Lackford, himself going well in his freshly rebuilt Elva 100, stepping up to find the necessary valve parts.
The race was the opener on Sunday, at 9 a.m, and the 29 cars lined up on the traditional 3 x 2 grid (Robert Barrie being a non-starter in Sarah Porter’s Stanguellini, with terminal clutch problems) all looked splendid and everyone got away except Tim de Silva (Lola Mk2) who caused a few anxious moments for those behind, when his Lola suffered ignition failure. Into Madgwick de la Roche headed Hibberd and Mallock and as the cars came through Woodcote to complete lap one these three were already clear of Will Mitcham (U2), Chris Drake (Terrier) and Alex Morton (Condor). Roach had made a poor getaway and was down in eighth behind Goodliff, who was flying in the BMC engined Nike. Crispian Besley had made ground from a rather lowly grid slot for him to be 11th. On the second lap Hibberd claimed the lead coming into Woodcote and Drake demoted Mitcham. The leading pair spent much of lap 3 running side-by-side and de la Roche was the technical leader as they crossed the timing line but Hibberd was in front again at Madgwick – enthralling stuff! The two Lolas were being caught by Mallock in third and Chris Drake was fourth, 3.6” behind the U2, challenged by Mitcham.
Hibberd continued to just head de la Roche until the latter slipped through coming out of Madgwick. It got rather “hairy” when lapping a close battle involving Salodini, Tim Bishop and Duncan at Woodcote/Chicane on lap 6 letting Hibberd back ahead only for him to spin at Madgwick. Happily, he did not stall and was able to rejoin in 8th place but then retired with handling issues, as had poor Tim in Rudolf’s wonderful sounding Mitter-DKW, after losing breath after the chicane melee. Will Mitcham had battled his way ahead of the Terrier and started to close on Mallock. On the 11th lap at St Marys as Mallock was lapping the Autosport, with unique Triumph engine, he ran wide onto the grass, rejoining behind Mitcham and Drake.
So, the race ran out with Peter de la Roche unopposed. Mitcham was 20” back in second, 4.3” ahead of Drake with the top six completed by Mallock, Goodliff and Morton. Alex lost a place to Goodliff on the penultimate lap when, lapping the lovely Volpini of Roger Woodbridge, he got his Condor S II, helpless, onto the damp grass and rear-ended into the bank, completely demolishing the Condor tail. But, remarkably, with no other significant damage, he was able to continue apace on to the flag as the last unlapped finisher.
The high speeds of Goodwood took a toll and other non-finishers were Stuart Roach (lost wheel at the Chicane, after stub axle failure), Colasacco (timing chain issue), Justin Fleming (spin & nosecone damage), and Kevin Musson (engine cut-out).
Another good show by Formula Junior at a prestige event, with the rear-engined brigade looking forward to their turn at the Members Meeting in a month’s time.