Goodwood FoS: Pt.1 – Arrival & Bikes

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a massive event, it is very difficult to cover the entire area in a single day, but just about manageable if you are quick. I attended on Sunday only, arriving 45m later than planned due to a combination of my own slow movement away from the house (I was unprepared!) and the slow traffic on the roads during the 2hr 15m journey.

Suitably chastising myself, I collected my pre-booked ticket at the gate just as the Red Arrows arrived at about 11am.

Red Arrows, from 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed

I would have taken better pics but for the decision for safety reasons to hold the air display area over the car park rather than directly above the venue, thus meaning almost the entire display was obscured by trees! I’m sure it looked great to those near the House or on the cricket pitch, for those of us at the start line it was rubbish.

As the air display was coming to a close the next batch of vehicles arrived at the start line, to this day I have no idea why these two classes were batched together: classic motorcycles and current F1 cars. Wow, F1 cars straight away, great luck.

While everyone was in the infield being distracted by the planes I grabbed a space trackside at the start line. I hung around during the motorbike runs to keep the spot. I’m not really into the classic ‘bikes, I don’t know anything at all about them and I didn’t recognise a single machine what with no MotoGP presence – though I did recognise the names Mick Doohan and Carlos Checa when the announcement came that they were running (AFTER they’d left the start) – so imagine my surprise when I looked at the second bike lining up to make a run and recognised the rider!

John Surtees, the only World Champion on two wheels and four, from 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed

John Surtees is a frail old man these days of course, and he was struggling to keep himself upright which was sad to see – until he was released on to the track, when he took off like a rocket! He was really going for it, absolutely brilliant. I’d not taken much notice of Surtees previously – here I became an instant fan.

All sorts of racing motorbikes from the 1960s to the present day followed him up the hill, including modern endurance bikes and classic sidecars. As I say, I’m not a huge fan so I didn’t get a lot of photos, for those I did get check out my FoS gallery.

I did manage to grab a quick couple of videos though.

Following the final bike was Peter Fonda, the actor from the movie ‘Easy Rider’ which is 40 years old this year. I actually haven’t seen the film so this passed me by a bit, but Mum had already told me to look out for him.

Peter Fonda, from 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed

I am writing this as a journal of the day and already we can see these posts are going to be photo- and video-heavy rather than covering a lot of words, so I think it would be a good idea to spread out the content over several posts. You can jump ahead of me if you like by checking out my photos here. In the next instalment: F1 cars!

All photos and videos © Patrick Wotton.

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