Vroom vroom. It’s been a while since my father and I have been driving together. But a month or so ago he booked me in for a day trip to Goodwood, for a track driving day on the historical circuit in the grounds of the Earl of March’s home, about two hours south west of London. It’s well known for hosting classic car events, plus the annual Festival of Speed (where I drove the hill course earlier this year in the Volvo V60), and the Goodwood Revival, where vintage enthusiasts rally.
Here I am in the drivers seat at Goodwood in the MGA, waiting for the green light, with my father in the passenger seat.
I cheated and got the train down, and he picked me up with his MGA trailered behind the car. (It’s a race prepped car with a removable passenger seat, roll bar, no roof and a fuel tank that only holds four gallons so we wouldn’t get very far if we tried to drive it on the roads.)
This is the back of the pits.
And the viewing platform on top of the pits.
The view back across the circuit, as the cars come down the home straight.
The pit lane.
Because of the diagonal roll bar, which sits across the passenger seat, it’s easiest for me to get in by climbing over the door, and sliding my legs under.
Here I am in the passenger seat, reflected in the side mirror, waiting in the pits for our session start.
The MGA dash. The engine is turned on with the key at bottom left, and then started with the black press button to the left of the orange bulb.
I forgot my Tod’s driving shoes: we ended up having to put special matting down on the car floor to stop my Ash boots slipping on the stripped metal floor. (I’m sitting on the passenger side here.)
The windscreen is only about 8 inches high. When the heavens opened later, I had to slow right down and then come in on the next lap, as there are no wipers.
Not everyone made it around:
But I was thrilled to make it around in one piece each session, thereby exorcising the track day about six years ago, where I span the 120 (a 1952 Jaguar) off at Lavant (a particularly sweeping corner) into the kitty litter. I had taken the racing corner too late and just didn’t have the upper body strength to haul the car back on the track.
Unfortunately, Monday was interspersed with torrential rain: the track became like an oil slick in places, and I learnt my lesson about only accelerating in a straight line when I skidded and l briefly lost control just after Lavant. Fortunately, I’ve been well-taught by my father and I kept the car on the track and moving forward. My next session out was truncated by heavy rain; I had made the decision to come into the pits on the penultimate lap, as I felt it was too dangerous for me to continue, a decision that was vindicated when the red flag went up as I came in.