Elsewhere on this site you can read about the very first Goodwood Revival Meeting held in 1998 and the Elva entry that re-united Robbie Mackenzie-Low with the ‘works’ Elva-Climax Mk.II ‘KDY 68’. It was a momentous occasion, in particular the amazing and ‘one off’ Dream Grid which had grown men wiping tears from their eyes.
Much has been written since about the two annual Goodwood events, the Festival of Speed and the Revival Meeting, the 1950 – 60’s dress code, the fabulous air displays and the stunning attention given to the smallest of detail. But what about the man who made it happen?
The Earl of March has a passion for everything involved with the Goodwood Estate and of course it’s long association with motor sport, and despite the massive increase in attendance at the two events he has managed to keep them unique and prestigious. However, Charles Settrington had not been an enthusiastic student at Eton and left formal education at the age of 16 to work for film director Stanley Kubrick.
He became responsible for the photographic ‘stills’ and quickly learnt from the Kubrick determination for top quality and obsessive attention to detail, but after a year decided to set up his own photographic business aligned to the world of advertising becoming a much sought after still-life photographer. This bought him into contact with big business budgets and all aspects of product branding. At the age of 40 Charles took the title of the Earl of March and took over the responsibility of running the Goodwood Estate from his father the Duke of Richmond, who had already built up sizable annual revenue from the estate.
Charles still needed to attract further income and the unspoilt and largely redundant motor circuit seemed the answer although some locals and planners were not so anxious to turn back the clock and relatively few people can often make an awful amount of noise! Fortunately there were many more enthusiasts and historians who were delighted at the prospect of a revived Goodwood Circuit and the Goodwood Supporters Association was formed to focus attention on the positive side of a reopened circuit.
The problems were many, but packed meetings were often attended by motor sports hero’s offering support and encouragement ensuring unforgettable evenings. Behind the scenes much happened and while the planners and councillors cogitated the first Festival of Speed was announced and was held in the grounds of Goodwood House. Some twenty-five thousand people turned out for the two day event and rubbed shoulders with stars past present and future, but also watched some wonderful determined driving up the narrow hill by world class drivers in cars most could only dream of ever seeing for real.
Eventually the news came through that permission to re-establish the motor circuit had been given and much time, effort and money poured into the area to prepare for the reopening. The Earl of March had certainly learnt well as his skills for demanding the best quality and his expectations for the smallest of details is now legendary with the two events recognised as the finest worldwide.
Wherever you are, you must promise yourself that you will attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed and/or the Goodwood Revival at least once in your lifetime. Tickets have to be bought in advance and book your accommodation or hotel soon, because everything in the area books up quickly. You will not be disappointed and you will never forget.
GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED:
Remember that tickets must be bought in advance. Contact: www.goodwood.co.uk