Many NASCAR fans like to reminisce about the “good old days”. Often, they are referring to the heyday of Winston Cup Racing and the time when NASCAR was growing in popularity. But how about those days even earlier – what we now refer to as “vintage racing”, when many racing events happened on the roads of large, private estates? Racing fans can experience vintage racing – many for the first time – at events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
This world-renowned event, occurring annually in West Sussex, England will be attended by none other than our museum’s founder and JKS Incorporated president, Will Spencer. Will and his long-time racing partner, Ed Berrier, will be making their third trip to the Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer. Crowds as large as 150,000 are anticipated.
History of Goodwood
It all started with a private hillclimb in the summer of 1936, hosted by Freddie March, the 9th Duke of Richmond. The duke hosted the hillclimb for the Lancia Car Club on the grounds of the Goodwood House. Many years later, the duke’s grandson, the present Earl of March hosted his own hillclimb and brought Goodwood back into the racing circuit.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed was first introduced in 1993 by Lord March on the grounds of the Goodwood Estate, a location rich in British motor racing history. Each year, motorists from all over the world bring their own racing vehicles, from F1 Machines to NASCAR racecars to motorbikes, to participate in front of huge crowds in the numerous events held during the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Will’s Involvement in the Festival of Speed
The flagship event of the Goodwood festival is the Goodwood Hillclimb, which Will and Ed have participated in for the past two years. This time trial event is held on a strip of Lord March’s tarmac driveway that runs a length of just over a mile, uphill. For years, this 9-turn racing surface has been declared one of the most difficult for drivers to deal with. Drivers don’t see the course before the race begins – so they are left to wonder if the surface of the driveway is wet, dry, or muddy. These unknowns make driving an expensive race car quite an adventure!
In their first year attending the vintage racing event, Will and Ed both had NASCAR racecars that came from JKS Incorporated, Will’s company. The cars were built in-house from the ground up. The next year, they took the same approach.
After an eighth-place finish in the Hillclimb, last year, Ed hopes to beat his time of 53.81 seconds at this year’s event. Will also hopes to improve his time. But if they don’t, no worries. The experience alone of speeding through a driveway-turned-raceway on the historic Goodwood Estate makes the trip worthwhile. The Festival of Speed has been called the “largest motoring garden party in the world”- and it brings together a unique collection of vintage cars, custom racecars and racing celebrities to create sold-out, internationally celebrated racing event. And Will and Ed always love a good party!
Want to see a video of Ed racing in 2015? Check it out below!