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Next section meeting - Thursday 31 August at The Bull Hotel, Bull Lane, Wrotham, Kent, TN15 7RF.

Goodwood Breakfast Club - Soft-Top Sunday - Sunday 1st June 2014

What’s not to love about Goodwood? Steeped in History, (see my 2013 write-up), hugely evocative of a by-gone era and free! A winning trio if ever there was one. Sadly, the rumour mill suggests that Lord March might be charging in future, so popular has the Breakfast Club become.

There was a good deal of trepidation about the weather once again but all for nought. Driving conditions were perfect and so Doug, Jack, “Cmdr” Steve Pidcock and I met at Ye Olde Whyte Lion as usual. Doug’s spider has recently undergone the sort of body repair that the great Sergio Scaglietti of the famous Carrozzeria would have been proud, (and all performed with a plain old sink plunger: see the 4C write-up). As a further footnote, I suggest that it is time for Doug’s nickname to be changed from “Tin Tin” to “Il Plungista”.

We rendezvoused with a number of the Squadra Spider at Pease Pottage. (Always makes me sing “Peas pudding hot, peas pudding cold” when I see the sign for some reason.) Jeff in his 916 S3, Big John Third in his ‘New Spider’ and Dave and Amanda Norman in their 916 S2. The five of us then debated route. Should we ‘gun it’ or ‘enjoy it’? In the end we decided it was about the journey and not the time it took to get there. It really is one of the most satisfying of routes across the South Downs through the villages via Petworth. Our cars were like time machines, slowly turning back the clock as we seemed to get further and further from the modernity of the M23. And then we arrived a Goodwood. The place is magical and full of nostalgia.

We had arrived relatively late and our scout, David Smith, had been in situ since a week last Sunday on the Start/Finish Straight. We arrived on the Lavant Straight and were directed anti-clockwise towards St Mary’s. This was much further along the track than last year and Dave Norman pointed out that with both events combined, we had driven almost half the circuit! It is easy to forget that Sir Stirling Moss ended his career here during the Glover Trophy in 1962 when he crashed his Lotus and spent a month in a coma with his side partially paralysed for six months. We were travelling more sedately.

This was an event for soft-top cars and prior application was required to park on the hallowed circuit. A bit disappointing that so many modern and frankly ‘undeserving’ cars (in my view) had been allowed onto the exalted tarmac…..who wants to see a 3-series BMW or brand new four-seater Mercedes at an event like this. Both excellent cars of course but more at home in a golf club car park. And as for the Toyota MR2s….need I say more.

But there were some fantastic cars….Pagani Zonda, Ferrari, Maeserati. Also some oldies…Aston Martin, AC, Austin Healey, Bentley, Swallow Sidecar, Jaguar, Daimler, Mercedes, Hispano Suiza, MG, Triumph, Fiat and early lotus.

I went for the Full English in the restaurant set up in the Pit Lane and marvelled at many of the cars from the upper terrace below the Rolex Clock/Girling Tower.

At home time there was a bit of a snag. The question posed is: “How many Alfisti does it take to open a 916 spider with the keys locked in the boot?” That question was one posed by Dave Norman. I believe the answer was forcing open the glove compartment to activate the emergency internal release system.

As Doug and I made our way home we managed to get past a track official and take the cars further on down the Lavant Straight to Woodcote and then through the Grandstand Chicane to the Start/Finish Line. We paused for some photos outside the pit and then were directed through the paddock, past ‘Earls Court’ and back through the tunnel under the Start/Finish straight. Fantastic.

A pleasant drive home with a serious sun tan and having left the car sitting on the drive for an hour or so, returned to find clutch fluid in a little puddle under the car. Oh dear, more expense….the highs and lows of Alfa ownership.

Let’s do it again!

David Smith

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