The headline is more like WHO is driving WHAT? An annual gathering of vintage cars and motorcycles and this exactly what you get. A who’s who of champions getting behind the wheel or bars of whatever they choose all in the name of fun, and racing one another at the Goodwood track in the UK. Three time F1 world champion who raced his early career at Goodwood, Jackie Stewart behind the wheel of a Lotus 25 and 33 in the Jim Clark Tribute. Freddie Sheene, son of the late Barry Sheene, racing a Norton along side the likes Tony Smith (former MotoGP competitor), Michael Rutter (MotoGP, world and british superbike). What about Stuart Graham in a Ford Galaxie (The only post-war winner of TTs on two & four wheels) and in the stands watching is Nick Mason (Pink Floyd drummer and renowned car collector). Most notably however, from my perspective, Maria Costello (First female in history to stand on the podium at the Isle of Man motorcycle races) competing with Freddie on a Manx Norton in the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy. This is just a fraction of particpants and as I reviewed the names I could only wonder – Why wasn’t I there? The event was held September 13 to 15, 2013. It is only considered one of the best-known classic motor sports events in the world yet I had no idea. Every day I learn something new and the good news is that it is now on my radar of ‘must sees’.
If you go, you have to dress the time and don the attire of the 40s’ to 60s’ and pay homage to the racing cars and motorcycles of the era.
The Bauhaus-style garages provide an attractive showcase for the exhibits in their historical context. Backdrops such as a reconstructed paddock for three BMW 1800TI/SA touring cars and a scene from “The Yellow Rolls-Royce” – a British movie from 1964 in which Ingrid Bergman and Jeanne Moreau share top billing with the title car – transport visitors back into the automotive past.
A selection of extraordinary BMW motorcycles shared the track with vintage bikes for the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy – two Kaczor BMWs, a BMW RS 54 and a BMW RS 500 factory racing machine. In the 1960s, racer and later BMW engineer Ferdinand Kaczor built a 500cc racing boxer machine, whose 50 hp made it roughly twice as powerful as its standard production sibling. And thanks to a self-constructed and extremely lightweight double-cradle frame, it weighed under 150 kilograms. Kaczor rode the bike to a new lap record of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit in 1969.
The two Kaczor BMWs are piloted by Mike Farrell and Sebastian Gutsch and the winners of last year’s FIM Superstock 1000 title Sylvain Barrier and Lothar Singer.
In 1954 the BMW RS 54, manned by Wolfgang Meier and Claus Clausen, was the first racing machine for solo and sidecar competition to go on general sale. Its legendary flat-twin boxer engine with vertical shaft drive powered BMW machines to 19 riders’ and 20 manufacturers’ titles in the sidecar world championship in the years up to 1974. The BMW RS 500 of 1956, meanwhile, was a factory version of the RS 54, which Walter Zeller rode to second place in the solo world championship the same year.