Wednesday, 23 September 2009

(Spitfire IX + P51D Mustang) + Motorcycles = ?

Well folks, I'm back from Goodwood. Thanks to Martin and Chris on Post 6F for a great meeting with the flags.

None of us had done 6F before, and we were amazed to find it at the end of one of the aerodrome's runways. We were then surprised by an aeroplane coming in to land about 20 feet above our heads!

Then to the track action. The organisers had decided it would be nice to start with a great parade of mods, rockers and police vehicles. so out come the mods on their scooters, the rockers on their motorcycles, and the police in a range of immaculate classic cars, vans and motorcycles.

Unfortunately for the motorcyclists, and I'll include the scooters in that, the first act of the day was going to be an air display by two aircraft in formation - a Spitfire and a Mustang. These two wonderful aircraft come out, perch on the end of the runway, turn their tails towards the track, and at the moment the parade came around, ran the wonderful Rolls Royce Merlin engines up...

... sorry about the quality by the way, didn't have my usual camera to hand, only my mobile phone, but you should be able to see the mods on their scooter being blown all over the place by the planes!

After enjoying the first lot of practising, I took some time off to look around the circuit. In my orange hi viz kit, I felt more conspicuous than usual... it was like steeping off a flying saucer! The majority of visitors had dressed like something out of the 1960s, and with the old style advertising, cars [post 1966 vehicles are banned from the site and can be forcibly removed!] and racing, it felt like stepping back in time. Which is of course, the whole point. Sir Stirling Moss had turned 80 on Thursday, and was around the track surrounded by autograph hunters. His parade on Sunday involved lots of waved flags [in celebration, since it wasn't an actual race], a 8 gun salute from the Royal Horse Artillery, a greeting from Buzz Aldrin who had landed earlier in the day to judge the aviation concourse, the entire crowd singing happy birthday in an attempt to drown out Lord March's sister's singing, and a rendition of "Rule Britannia" in a style that I'd never heard before. And I don't particularly want to hear it again, thank you very much. I'd rather listen to the engines attached to the Vulcan, which came over and drowned everybody out, including Lord March's sister!

Sir Stirling himself was every bit the British Hero, and dismissed the question of whether he might slow down a little with the answer "Well I'm only 80!"

Next year, I'll be back. The Festival of Speed is already a fixture, and the revival is sure to match it. I think I'll don a period costume though.

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