Tag Archives: Simon Hildrew

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The New Fifty

The sharp ones amongst you (that’s everyone who visits this site) who read the Festival of Speed piece  will have noticed a great gap in the words and pictures. No Porsche……….

1948 not only saw the arrival of Lotus and Land Rover, but also the powerhouse now know as Porsche AG came into existence. To celebrate 70 years of “Excellence was Expected”  Porsche pushed out the boat or more appropriately The Carrera at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and what a party there was!

As one might expect the centrepiece was the sculpture or should that be installation in front of Goodwood House, the work of Gerry Judah.

It is one of the signature displays at each Festival of Speed and this year’s effort did not disappoint. The 917 reminded me of a famous shot from the 1970 Le Mans 24, with Mike Hailwood’s Gulf 917 being hoisted by a crane from the track after ‘Mike the Bike’ lost control in the wet and crashed out of the race and the JW Automotive team………..no way to treat a 917.

 

Down to earth is how you would describe the 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster, that started the journey that we saluted some 70 years on. Porsche shows great respect for its heritage, not all automobile manufacturers are so clever.

I am not convinced that the term Mission Statement was popular back in 1948 but here we have the original thoughts from Ferry Porsche, pretty much sums up the company ever since.

Another giant step for Porsche was the introduction of the 911 and the oldest example that Porsche owns, 57th off the production line in 1964, was also on the Hill.

One Porsche that never saw the light of day was the LMP 2000 that was destined to succeed the 911 GT1 98 as Porsche’s challenger for further honours at Le Mans.

It ran but a few tests before the whole project was cancelled by the Board in favour of spending the budget developing the Cayenne. This was the first that LMP 2000 had ever appeared in public.

There were many familiar faces in the phalanx of Porsches on display. The 2003 911 GT3 RS that had beaten the top class cars to score an outright win at the 2003 Spa 24 Hours (how very Retro-Porsche!) was a welcome sight.

By any standards the Porsche at 70 event within an event at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed was rip-roaring success, here’s to another 70 years. In the meantime enjoy the sensations captured by Simon Hildrew.

John Brooks, September 2018

 

Over The Hill and Far Away

One of the disadvantages of being a one-man band is that things pile up in front of you and there is every chance of losing sight of what should be a priority.

Take the Festival of Speed for example, I received a mountain of great photos from our resident lens-meister, Simon Hildrew. These arrived in the middle of a deadline or three, all urgent, well aren’t they all?

I will deal with them later, says I. Bollocks you will, say others and, of course they were right. One urgent edit/picture request follows another as the struggle to keep afloat obscures other priorities.

So relaxing in a modest villa here in Menorca, I realised after a prompt from a very patient Simon that I had taken my eye off the ball and forgotten to post up the gallery and story that I had prepared from the Festival of Speed. Mea Culpa.

The time for a detailed analysis has clearly passed, the gallery is what matters but it is worth flagging up a few highlights. A brace of 70th birthdays for Lotus and Land Rover, quintessentially British but both foreign owned, a metaphor for our times.

Volswagen’s amazing record earlier in the year at Pikes Peak was celebrated by Romain Dumas as he took top spot on the Hill in the Volkswagen I. D. R. Pikes Peak. He certainly gave the crowds something to cheer with his enthusiastic performance.

Off-roading and kickin’ up a little dust was obviously the new black, Valtteri Bottas joined the gang in his 2016 F1 Mercedes……

Steve McQueen’s performance in “Bullitt”  has passed into cinematic legend particular the famous standard-setting car chase sequence. Recently one of the two Mustangs that were used in the film surfaced after many years. At Goodwood it made its first appearance outside the US…………iconic or what?

The lawn in front of the Stables gave us its usual cornucopia of goodies, my personal favourite was this exquisite 1954 Jaguar XK140 with styling by Pinin Farina.

As with every motoring event of any stature these days there was an auction, at Goodwood it was Bonhams, always special. Indeed a new record was set by legendary Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato ‘2 VEV’,  raising just over £10 million.

 

The Festival of Speed was also celebrating; 25 years of motoring excellence since the first show back in 1993. In the midst of all the excitement and reminiscing  there were a few clouds on the horizon as some of the manufacturers normally present were missing. The FoS organisers will have to work doubly hard to keep up the level of their show in this time of budget cuts. If anyone can manage that challenging task it will be them as the evidence of a quarter of a century can attest.

In the meantime let’s enjoy another stupendous wall of imagery from Simon Hildrew.

John Brooks, September 2018

A Last Lap at The Revival

The nights are drawing in, winter is on the way, a hard one after this year’s tropical summer say the usual prophets of doom. Well in that case we will need all the warmth of our memories to get us through to 2019 and Spring.

The Goodwood Revival is one of the signs that this part of the journey through the year is heading to the close. The 2018 edition was of the highest standard, both on and off the track, so much to see and experience.

The tribute to Rob Walker and his team, Rob Walker Racing, was a particular treat. The Goodwood Revival is an ideal platform for such expressions of respect, the audience has a strong element who will understand the significance of the cars they are seeing and will appreciate the efforts expended in assembling such a collection. Incidentally I came across this news the other day. “The Rob Walker Centenary Festival, organised by the Dorking Town Partnership, takes place on Sunday 21st October, 10am-4pm, with a parade of historic Rob Walker racing cars around the town.”  More information can be found HERE

 

Another salute at the Revival was to one of motorsport’s greats, Dan Gurney, who passed away in January. The 1967 Belgian Grand Prix winning Eagle-Westlake that Gurney drove was given an outing by Sir Jackie Stewart and Derek Bell, the former seen here chewing the fat with Jo Ramirez.

The Eagle-Westlake is surely the leading contender for the most handsome F1 car ever built, perhaps a little too advanced for its time, still stunning though.

While the cars are the stars the drivers do not feel completely in the shade, they are part of the show too. Here we have no fewer than 15 Le Mans victories lined up in this quartet. Andre Lotterer is still attempting to add to his hat-trick of wins, while Emanuele Pirro and Derek Bell will have to settle for five apiece. Odd man out Nic Minassian managed second in 2008 when his dominant Peugeot should have won comfortably.  He was a victim of monsoon rains and the performance of a lifetime from Audi’s Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello and Allan McNish.

The ability of the public to interact with these stars of the track is one of the enduring attractions at Goodwood. Whether they would want to so in the case of this dodgy trio comprising of Steve Soper, Martin Donnelly and Dario Franchitti remains open to question.

There were the usual thespian antics on hand at the Revival, a modern day end of the pier show, well it takes all sorts.

 

RAF Westhampnett was on the front line during the Second World War and after the end of hostilities became the Goodwood circuit. So it is absolutely appropriate that the service to Britain that the men and women gave in that perilous time is honoured.

Away from the track and paddock there are many attractions and diversions, it would take more than three days of the event to sample them all.

 

It is a cliche, but rooted in truth as many cliches are, the Goodwood Revival is a must-do celebration of post-war motoring and motorsport. Looking forward to September 2019 let’s be inspired by this fabulous gallery from Simon Hildrew. Every picture tells a story.

John Brooks, September 2018

Horse Power at The Revival

Love it or loathe it the Prancing Horse of Ferrari casts a spell over all of  us motoring speed freaks. The Goodwood Revival is no exception to this rule, featuring some of the most desirable (and expensive!) cars to have been born in the stables of Maranello.

The “Breadvan” out on a delivery as the sun sets…………for many this is automotive heaven………and who could dispute that assertion? Five-time Le Mans’ winner, Emanuele Pirro, and Niklas Halusa  drove this unique creation to victory in the Kinrara Trophy race

A personal favourite? The 330 GTO………before my time but still breath taking.

Forget the stratospheric value of such cars and just admire their beauty while appreciating their performance, soon enough they will be too valuable to race in this fashion. All things must pass………in the meantime enjoy the fabulous collection of images from Simon Hildrew.

John Brooks, September 2018

 

Tin-Tops at the Revival

The Revival is without doubt one of the highlights of the historic motoring year. The quality of the cars and stars of the event are unique.

One of the most popular forms of racing with the bulging crowds at Goodwood are the various saloon races. Tin-tops have always been close to the hearts of the British motor sport public, just look at the success of the current BTCC.

Whether it is the powerful ‘Yank Tanks’ or the plucky Brits Minis, there is something for everyone to cheer. Like their modern descendants there are thrills and spills along the way. Fortunately everyone walked away although a few cars had more than a few dents that will ‘polish out’. Simon Hildrew was on hand to record this delight. So, in the first of several posts here is the story in pictures……….pure tin-top gold.

John Brooks, September 2018

Lenscraft

Simon Hildrew’s photography has graced these pages for a little over six years. He attended the Concours of Elegance last weekend at Hampton Court Palace. As usual he has produced the real deal, another top class selection to illustrate a fantastic event. Goodwood Revival is up next for him, can’t wait.

John Brooks, September 2018

Bringing Up The Half Century

Thruxton celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend. The super fast Hampshire race track has been a popular motor sport venue since becoming the BARC’s home after the closure of Goodwood in 1966.

Originally used for racing in the ’50s, a new track was opened in 1968. Like many other race circuits in the UK it was the site of a military airfield during World War Two. It was operated as a fighter base with the United States Army Air Force taking over from the RAF in 1944 in the run up to D-Day.

Since 1968 it has become a favourite venue for motor sport fans of two or four wheels persuasion. I recall many great days’ racing on the traditional Easter Monday Formula Two meeting. It was a fine way to welcome in a new season and to see the next generation of Formula One stars in the making.

In recent years there has a major investment program with the opening of the Thruxton Hospitality Centre.

The racing was its customary close, competitive self, with the inner hooligan of the Mini fraternity never far from the surface.

And what would a Formula Ford race be without a bit of rough and tumble?

Motorsport’s answer to Morecambe and Wise, Nigel Mansell and Murray Walker, were guests of honour, deservedly so.

The sun shone and another excellent weekend of racing and things generally automotive were enjoyed by an appreciative audience. Here’s a salute to the next 50 years!

As part of the tribute from those of us at DDC Towers we bring you another fabulous collection of imagery courtesy of the man of the moment. Simon Hildrew.

John Brooks June 2018

The Garden of England

Brands Hatch has always been one of my favourite tracks and there no better time to visit than in late spring/early summer.

2018 was no exception to this rule. A trip round the M25 a few weeks back was the answer, to enjoy the delights of the The Masters Historic Festival.

It would be difficult to say what the top event was as all the races and grids had something to savour. All the sizes, all the colours, be it Historic Formula 2.

Or Pre-66 Touring Cars.

Things got a little out of hand occasionally but fortunately only pride was damaged. Brands Hatch has always been ready to punish any small transgression.

My personal favourite was, not surprisingly, the Masters Endurance Legends. Old friends were on hand, like Paul Daniels, even if he had a shortened weekend with transmission woes.

The field was small, but perfectly formed, with not one but two Peugeot 908 in the pack.

Martin Short and Nigel Greensall put on a show for the decent-sized crowd in the Dallara SP1 and Riley & Scott MKlll. Screaming Judd and bellowing Oldsmobile playing a fine song for those present.

All things considered it was a great weekend, a proper festival of motor sport, even the weather played ball. So sit back and enjoy the slick camera work of Simon Hildrew………..

John Brooks June 2018

A Slice of History

The Donington Historic Festival in a few short years has become one of the highlights of the classic motor sport calendar. The eighth edition held a few weeks back reinforced this reputation.

Unusually for the May Bank Holiday here in the UK, the weather decided to play ball, indeed record temperatures were the order of the day rather than umbrellas.

 

A quarter of a century has passed since Ayrton Senna produced magic on the opening lap of the European Grand Prix at this very track. As a salute to this historic moment there were several displays of Grand Prix racers.

Formula 5000 was also popular with the big crowd, as were the new catering and ‘restroom’ facilities. We were fortunate enough to have our own pole position man, Simon Hildrew, firing on all cylinders, marvel at his work………..

John Brooks, May 2018

Classical Times

The Silverstone Classic is the largest historic motoring festival on the planet………..every aspect of the car is covered somewhere in Silverstone’s flat fields. Motor racing, car clubs, automobilia, anniversaries, music, food, and, most importantly, people are the elements that combine to make the Classic a celebration of one of the most liberating elements of 20th Century life.

If there has been one issue that I have had with this festival in recent years it is the annual clash with the Spa 24 Hours. For 2018 they are on consecutive weekends, so I get to go to both ‘must-dos’. Woo Hoo!

There will be a new attraction in this year’s line up with Group C making way for its younger sibling Masters Endurance Legends featuring sportscars and GTs from the 1995 to 2012 period. The theme for this race will be a salute to the Daytona 24 Hours, with special appearances from former participants.

The Silverstone Classic is one of the great motoring events on the calendar so pop along if you can, there will be something to for you to treasure. Details can be found HERE

In the meantime I can recommend viewing Simon Hildrew’s excellent gallery from the 2017 event………..I anticipate more magic from him this year.

John Brooks May 2018