20th Edition of Goodwood Revival 2018

In the early years of the spectacle, which has been taking place for more than 20 years, Charles Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond, was ridiculed for his retro festival and had to contend with protest. In the meantime, the Revival held at the Goodwood Circuit has become an institution that is managed and marketed like a large business. Over one weekend in September, about 150,000 visitors flock to the southern English county of West Sussex, almost everyone dressed exclusively in historic wardrobe, and dive into in a world filled with petrol, noise and style.

At every corner of the estate there is something special to discover – the many different impressions when strolling around are hard to capture. There is an atmosphere full of enthusiasm, people smile at each other, doff their hat, are open-minded and extremely polite. People dance, celebrate, joke. In between, there are also races to be watched in which the finest vintage cars are driven close to the limit as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Vehicles are there to be driven. You can repair everything if anything happens to go wrong.

Participating in the Barry Sheene Memorial, the Revival’s motorcycle race, is an honour for any rider. Many heroes of the Isle of Man are at the starting line. Young and old alike squeeze everything they can out of their machines, as it’s all about prestige. Most motorcycles only look vintage from the outside, but their inner workings contain modern-day parts and materials so as to be competitive. Troy Corser’s clutchless gear changes would hardly have kept up over the full distance with an 89-year-old original gearbox.

The start is in Le Mans style – a team consists of two riders who hand over the bike after half the race. Jeremy McWilliams, John McGuinness, Michael Rutter, Glen English, Michael Russell, Ian Bain – all heroes of the Manx TT and other international racing series were represented, but could not hold a candle to the BMW R57 of Troy Corser, equipped with a compressor, despite a rigid frame and a few decades more on the hump than most other machines.

A visit to the Revival is an experience in a class of its own. Every motorsport fan with a weakness for historical vehicles and vintage visual worlds should have experienced it once in their lifetime.

Photos and Words by Hermann Köpf

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