C L James Photography

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Goodwood Festival of Speed
12-15 July 2018

We were in the middle of some of the warmest weather I had ever known and the time had come to set off for what was to hold the bastion of my favourite motorsport event of the year. The one weekend of the year that the Duke of Richmond and Gordon opens his front lawn for the pinnacle of UK motorsport garden parties. The Defender was packed and we headed off on the four hour journey with all the windows down, the joys of having no air conditioning.

We had decided to camp at Goodwood this year and as we arrived the festival atmosphere was already in full flow and the Thursday gates hadn't even opened yet. From this moment we knew that this Silver Jubilee Festival was going to be one to remember and a highlight of the motorsport calendar.

Yet again the Duke of Richmond did not disappoint, the cars were spectacular, the atmosphere buzzing and the central feature was simply explosive. It was another year of celebrations and anniversaries, with the 70 years of Porsche, the previously mentioned Silver Jubilee of the festival but my favourite and the one that clutches to my heart... 70 years of Land Rover. Any of you who know me will know the place that Land Rover holds in my heart and how happy I was when I finally purchased my beloved Defender 90. From that you will imagine that on the Thursday of my favourite motorsport event I returned to my childhood at Christmas. What could be better than a beautiful day and a convoy of the most beautiful Defenders and Land Rovers old and new heading up the Hill Climb. Granted none of them competed for the Timed Shootout but to me it was a sight I will never forget. 

This year we decided to experience more of the actual festival and not just the hill climb, so we headed for the Jaguar Land Rover stand and waited patiently in the queue for the Off Road Experience. Having done this before I knew what I was in for but wanted to experience it in a new Land Rover. We reached the front of the line and up pulled a car I do not look favourably upon, the new Discovery. We jumped in and off we went. I have to admit that the inside is much nicer than the out, a matter I discussed in great detail with our driver. I felt so much out of place as the car had something called computers which apparently sorts out all of the electronic diffs. Im happy with my old school options thanks.

Leaving JLR behind, a difficult thing for me to do, we headed to the FOS Future Lab. This place is a complete different world. I found myself surrounded not by people but robots and strange objects, from an electronic dog to a robotic barman trying to throw drinks at me but then I saw the future, forget Peter Kay and his garlic bread. For a moment I could not believe my eyes, I expressed my astonishment to my friend, this was something I thought only appeared in sic-fi movies. Yes, before me stood a real life jet pack and a man who was about to fly the hill climb on it, now this was something I needed to see. Your heart skips a beat as firstly you hear the noise, you presume that the RAF are doing a fly past then all of a sudden you turn to see a guy flying towards you. It is just breathtaking. 

On the Friday Afternoon my phone went off. It was only a message from my tog friend Brian Lloyd (www.brianlloydphotography.co.uk) saying that him and my C&C friend Norman Shum of Cars & Coffee Liverpool fame, were round the corner. Simon and I met up with them and we had a nice wonder around the trade stalls and paddocks. Norm is a massive Porsche fan so it was no surprise when the Porsche Leged that is Magnus Walker turned round and went 'Liverpool is Here!'. Chatting to such legends and seeing the hundreds of others around the paddock is jaw dropping at times.

You cannot be mistaken though that FOS is about cars and this was no more obvious as the point when we trekked back over the bridge to visit the Michelin Supercar Paddock and the First Glance Paddock. Obviously it was nice to see the V8 Works Defender under the shelter but I wouldn't be a petrol head if I didn't say that the one car which stood out from the crowd was the Bullitt Mustang. In its current state and the story behind it, it is a legendary car and deserved the space on the First Glance Paddock.

Obviously I cannot cover my whole weekend here but the pictures should do a good job of that. I do have to say though that the biggest buzz and atmosphere came from walking round the paddocks, in between cars old and new. Whether it be Duncan Pittaway's Fiat S76 Beast of Turin or Mad Mike Whiddett's RX7 there is something for everyone. To then see them take on the 1.16 mile hill climb in cars dating back to the early 1900s is astonishing and is the simple reason I return to FOS year after year. The mix of like minded petrol heads, the smell of fuel and obviously burning rubber make this a memorable event all round.

I hope that you have enjoyed my coverage of Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018, the full album is available below. Roll on 2019!