The Goodwood Revival, which has been held at Goodwood Circuit since 1998 every year in September, is without a doubt one of the most unique car events worldwide. During the three day festival you will not only experience the golden times of motorsport from the 50s and 60s, you will be completely immersed in the atmospheres of yesteryear. The magical stage with a leading role for the car and the costumed visitors as extra’s, was this year the highlight of the fifth Raidillon Rally.
With a name like Raidillon, a reference to the famous bend on the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, it should come as no surprise that the Belgian watch brand has been linked to the racing and car world since its beginning in 2001. Five years ago Fabien de Schaetzen, CEO of Raidillon Watches, organized the Raidillon Rally for the first time. “We have been sponsoring rallies within Europe for ten years and at one point found it time to organize one ourselves. Our richly filled address book provided us with access to beautiful private domains and beautiful car collections so we could offer something different than the average car rally. I still remember our very first rally that started from the Raidillon corner at the Francorchamps Circuit. A unique experience! Now for the first time we moved to England, culminating in the Goodwood Revival. For a year we worked and lobbied to get access tickets, parking places, overnight stays and a picnic concept. No sinecure. After all, Goodwood is for the car fans what Tomorrowland is to the music world.”
The hill climb
Although the Goodwood Revival was only organized for the first time in 1998, the history of Goodwood as a motorsport location goes much further back. Lord March, the pivotal figure behind Goodwood today, tells us all about it. “My grandfather, the Earl of March and 9th Duke of Richmond better known as Freddie March, opened the Goodwood Motor Circuit in 1948 on the peripheral road past the airport of Chichester. Out of his consternation for the many racing drivers who died there, he closed the circuit in 1966 for all motor races. Afterwards, the circuit could only be used for tests or track days. For years we worked hard for a reopening but the case dragged on for much longer than I initially expected. The ‘noise pollution’ aspect was a major hurdle and local authorities refused to issue a new permit. I thought then: if we do not get permission to organize races on the Goodwood Motor Circuit, I’ll take the races to my private domain. The hill climb that my grandfather organized in 1936 for the Lancia Car Club on our private domain around Goodwood House was revived under the name ‘Festival of Speed’. I remember the summer of 1993 – the first year we organized the festival – as if it were yesterday. Less than a hundred cars we had scraped together and yet 25,000 people showed up to see our collection. The next day I was lying in the grass with some friends thinking our idea could become very big. The Goodwood Revival, for example, has been organized on the domain every year since September 1998, using racing cars and motorcycles that competed during the original racing years of the circuit (1948-1966). The most beautiful and rarest cars in the world are then put in a setting that seems to have been taken right out of the 1950s and 1960s. The stalls and facilities look exactly like sixty years ago and the public is asked to dress in clothing from that time. When we first wanted to ask our guests to come to the Goodwood Revival in clothing from before 1966, some of us laughed. But in the end the people thought it was a great idea, they like to respond to our request and this is exactly what determines the unique character of the three-day festival. Everyone can have a good idea, but you also have to do something with it.”
Some big ideas
Fabien de Schaetzen also sees it big. “I want to expand the Raidillon Rally into a reference or benchmark event, that every car enthusiast wants to have driven once in his life”, says the Schaetzen. “Bling bling is not important here. We do not want to become a Salt Grand Prix at all. It’s more about a community feeling, about 55 amateurs – the maximum number of participants refers to the limited number of copies on which the Raidillon watches are manufactured – that share the same passion. Anyone can register for the rally on the condition that you ride along with oldtimer from 1970 or a car from shortly thereafter but then a remarkable example such as a limited edition or a prototype. You do not have to be an owner of an oldtimer to be able to participate. We provide advice to those who wish so that they can participate with a rented oldtimer. Every year, however, there are people in the group who are rallying for the first time. That is why we always give a short initiation of road book reading before departure and to increase the fun content, we also weave regularity tests into the rally. ”
A Jaguar XK 150 from 1959, an Austin Healy 100/4 from 1954, a Ford Mustang V8 from 1966, a Triumph TR3 from 1962, … from Calais, the column of 44 classic cars from the Raidillon Rally and a few cars follow the crossing to Dover to then take an idyllic route through the bucolic landscapes of southern England. Large manoir domains alternate with extensive pasture landscapes, including sheep, and charming winding roads that swing through the English villages like serpentines. It takes some getting used to drive on the other side of the road – especially at the roundabouts – but ultimately everything runs smoothly. By early evening the whole group arrives at the Grand Brighton Hotel in the magical coastal town of Brighton with its famous pier. A Porsche 911 whose reverse gear no longer reacts, a Jaguar E-Type with faulty wipers, are minor problems that the well-versed rally driver and mechanic Manu Eggermont solves in a breeze.
The next day we barely arrived at the parking lot of the Goodwood Revival and do not know what happens to us. As far as the eye can see, we discover only classic cars. No modern car breaks through the magic of the old-timers. Even in the pouring rain this spectacle is breathtaking!
‘Excuse me’, it sounds behind us. We turn around and come face to face with a copy of Marilyn Monroe. In a white swing dress and ditto stiletto heels she flatters through the water-saturated lawn. She is not the only one. Although the rain falls from the air with bins, most visitors to the revival respect the dress code. Pilots with air hostesses on their sides, car mechanics in smeared overalls, triumphant race car drivers with black smears on their faces and a bottle of champagne in their hand, Scotsmen in kilt or just the girl next but in a flower dress from that time and a victory roll on the head. Not only are visitors to the festival asked to wrap themselves in clothing from that era, the shops also sell products from that era.
A little further on there is even a cooking class going on in a decor that was completely plucked away from the fifties.
There is hairdresser Betsy’s where the ladies can go for a vintage hairdo.
A bit further we run into Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean (a big car lover and collector) and a bit further Jacky Stewart. Well, there is no lack of acquaintances during the Goodwood Revival. “If you compare ‘Flying Scot’ Jacky Stewart with the pole of today’s pilots, then I must say that they were of a different caliber”, says Lord March. “Racing was a completely different sport then and now, but they were very fast. Jacky Stewart and Jim Clark recorded a lap record in an official race in Goodwood in 1965 that had never been broken since. Not even during the races we have held during the Revival for the past 19 years and that says a lot about their performance. ”
Lord March: “When we first wanted to ask our guests to come to the Goodwood Revival in period clothing dating back before 1966, some of us laughed. But in the end people thought this fifties/sixties dresscode was a great idea. “
Lord March: “Like Stanley Kubrick, I strive that wherever you look around at Goodwood, you always have a beautiful image to look at.”
Millions of euros stuck in the mud
In addition to unique car models such as a F1 Ferrari from 1965, new car models are also presented every year during the Revival. This year Caterham introduced his Seven Supersprint. Since 2007, the ‘Freddie March Spirit of Aviation’ is held every year during the Goodwood Revival, a prestigious ‘concours d’elegance’ for historic planes dating from before 1966. “My grandfather not only designed his own aircraft, he also flew with it and served as a pilot for the Royal Air Force during WWII “, says Lord March. “It is my intention to bring all these sports or disciplines together during our events and get them out of their straitjacket. I want them to be accessible to everyone who wants it and that all candidates are welcome.” Even if you are not a classic car enthusiast, the atmosphere is so unique that the event is a true experience for everyone, it is a big funfair. ”
All pictures above are copyright by wowtrendmag
The Raidillon watches exude passion for Grand Prix and race cars with well-readable dials that often remind of the instrument dials of a thoroughbred car dashboard. Each watch model is available in a limited edition of exactly 55 copies (from 0 to 55), a reference to 1955, the year that the national Belgian racing team saw the light and to the 55 cars that can participate in international competitions at Spa-Francorchamps ( FIA World Cup). The number is invariably engraved on the left side of the watch case and as happens with racing cars, there is no number 13. The watches are very distinctive and powered by Swiss-engineered movements.
The brand new The Curve watches 3.950 euro.