Goodwood Revival 2023
Chichester Cup; 8th – 10th September 2023
It was the turn of the disc-braked cars at this year’s Goodwood Revival. The event was celebrating the Lotus marque and, perhaps for this reason, the entry was heavily slanted towards Chapman’s products – 19 Lotus, 5 Brabhams, 2 Lola, and one each of Alexis, Focus, Cooper and de Tomaso making up the grid. The drivers were an international bunch with the USA represented by Danny Baker and Chris Locke (Lotus 27s), from the Continent came Philipp Buhofer (27), Roberto a
nd Pierre Tonetti (BT6 & de Tomaso), Marco Werner and Serge Kriknoff (22s), Peter Laier (BT2), Stephan Rey (Lola 5A) and Peter Huse (Focus IV). Australian Peter Strauss (BT6) continued his European summer tour at Goodwood. The home side featured all the usual front runners but with added interest in the presence of the very versatile and quick Alex Brundle in Peter Burton’s ex Tony Thompson, Allen Lloyd, Lotus 27.
Qualifying on Friday afternoon was hot and sunny. When the cars came out Andrew Hibberd, Horatio Fitz-Simon and Clive Richards (all Lotus 22s) circulated together, their times being within decimals of one-another but it was Sam Wilson (Lotus 20/22) that set the quickest second lap (the first flying lap of course) with 1’26.511”. On the third lap Andrew beat this but Sam was faster still with 1’26.395” then, on the fourth tour, Horatio popped to the top of the timing with 1’25.134” only for Sam to reduce it to 1’25.090”, bettering his time on the next lap to 1’24.976”. Horatio was determined though and after 1’24.474” on lap 7 he nailed pole with 1’23.616” on the ninth lap. So the front row would be Fitz-Simon, Wilson and Chris Goodwin (another 22) and row 2 was made up of Richards and Hibberd, a mere 1.1” covering these five. Alex Brundle was a very creditable sixth with his unfamiliar car, joined by Nick Fennell (27) and Mark Woodhouse (22) on the third rank of the 3 x 2 grid. Highest of the non-Lotus’ was Stuart Roach in the Alexis Mk 4 in 9th. A very appetising prospect for Sunday’s race!
The race kicked off Sunday’s programme at 9.30, when, the temperature on what was an unseasonably hot weekend, had yet to rise to an uncomfortable level. Horatio Fitz-Simon made the best start to lead into Madgwick followed by Sam Wilson and Chris Goodwin but by the end of the lap Clive Richards had slipped by Chris in to third. However, the safety car came out then after Laier’s Brabham had a spin in St Mary’s and into the bank with a broken nose, and awaited a rather slow recovery. The good news was that the BARC had allowed for such eventualities (HSCC please note) and were able to add three minutes to the race time to partially compensate. One unique occurrence, in the writer
’s experience, was that the safety car broke-down, leaving Fitz-Simon to act as paceman!
The race went green at the end of lap 5 with the order Fitz-Simon – Wilson – Richards – Brundle – Goodwin – Hibberd. Goodwin seemed to have a problem and Andrew passed and then Chris pulled into the pits with eight laps in the book after his throttle cable snapped. Andrew was flying and caught Brundle and nabbed fourth on lap 11 only to have a quick spin at Lavant four laps later. Horatio’s tail slides through Woodcote were a joy to watch but he could not shake Sam off. Sam had a moment at Lavant with two laps to go when he got a rear wheel on the grass and lost momentum and this gave Fitz-Simon the small gap he needed to stymy any last lap “do or die” by Sam.
So the final order was Fitz-Simon by 0.178” from Wilson with Richards 12.9” in arrears, trailed by Brundle, Hibberd, and Fennell, all rather spaced-out. Mark Woodhouse just held on to seventh from Buhofer and Tim Child after a good scrap. Roberto Tonetti (BT6) was tenth so Lotus took nine of the top ten positions. Roberto and Marco Werner enjoyed a race-long tussle, swapping places several times with Roberto taking the flag first by 0.288”. This was just one of many battles down the field. Brabham driver Mark Shaw’s race was spoilt by a spin that dropped him to almost last, recovering to 17th and Lee Mowle rotated at Woodcote without losing a position. In the course of his chase, Sam Wilson set a new (unofficial) lap record of 1’23.279”, some 0.5” better than his own 2018 record.
There were only five non-finishers. In addition to Goodwin and Laier these were Stuart Roach (Alexis), Anthony Binnington (Cooper T67) and Pierre Tonetti (de Tomaso), both the latter with engine trouble.
After the race Fitz-Simon said “around here the tow is massive especially on the back straight and I knew that as long as I had track position I could hold Sam off.”. Sam graciously said “I was giving everything to stay with him and he did a great job.”
In the sixties FJ was the stepping stone to Formula 1 so it was an “authentic” touch that about a third of the field in the Glover Trophy for 1961-65 F1 cars had Formula Junior connections. The highest placed was Samuel Harrison in third in a F2 Brabham BT10, who though regularly winning in 1000cc F3, had featured strongly at the Silverstone Festival in Adrian Holey’s Rennmax. But the best position by a FJ regular was Richard Wilson (1962 Cooper T60 Climax V8) who started at the back of the grid, not having taken part in qualifying and climbed all the way up to fifth. This on top of winning the Freddie March Trophy for early ‘50s sports cars co-driving with sometime FJ driver and “modern” pro-driver Richard Bradley.
by Richard Page
Photos by Eric Sawyer: