Every era of motorsport is a golden one: we just don’t realise it until we find ourselves looking back. Even so, there’s no doubt that the post-war period exerts a particular hold on the collective memory.
On the south coast of England, Goodwood was a satellite RAF facility, Spitfires regularly roared overhead, and the airfield’s perimeter road was soon re-purposed, like so many others in the UK, as a racing circuit.
Danger was a factor in the cessation of motor racing at Goodwood in 1966, but the visionary Lord March, scion of the family that has occupied Goodwood for centuries (its lineage goes back to Charles II) and now the 11th Duke of Richmond, reactivated it in 1998.
In the 20 years since, the popularity of historic motorsport, and the appreciation of fine historic automobiles in general, has grown exponentially.
The Goodwood Revival crowns a summer now packed with concours events, marque gatherings and racing events, but it does so in a style unmatched anywhere else in the world.
This is almost entirely down to the man who oversees it all. In a former life, Lord March worked as a set photographer for film director Stanley Kubrick, and matches the notoriously fastidious movie-maker for attention to detail and sense of theatre.
So, while the sell-out crowds thrill to the motor racing that runs throughout the weekend, the Revival has also become celebrated for encouraging visitors to wear period dress, preferably in an evocation if its 1948 to 1966 heyday. The place feels like a film set.
Of course, the racing is what really counts. This year, it rained constantly during day one, which meant the drivers had to contend with standing water further boosting the challenge of the track’s famously fast sections.
The St Mary’s Trophy was as gripping as ever, and the inclement weather added to the tension of the day-into-night Kinrara Trophy. A Ferrari 250 GTO had a costly altercation with a barrier during the RAC TT trophy, while lining up an overtake on a 250 LM.
A GTO and an LM, in full-on combat? You don’t see that sort of thing very often, with all sorts of everything else thrown in for good measure. But you do during the Goodwood Revival.