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Homepage. This page: Photograph of the startline prior to a race start in the 1950s.
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Goodwood, 1950s.

The clock shows 1.26pm, and mechanics make final adjustments to the cars within their care, as drivers prepare for the ensuing circuit action. Although not required (for a change), a pencilled note on the reverse of this old snap - printed on Agfa Brovina paper - confirms that we're looking at the Goodwood motor racing circuit in West Sussex, at an un-specified date in the early 1950s. If you've ever wondered what Goodwood really looked like in that era, this photograph taken from a lofty vantage point, gives plenty of clues. While the Goodwood Revival is a splendid affair (we've been on ten occasions to date, most recently in 2015 with my old lorry), the increasing scale and razzamatazz of the recent Revival celebrations are somewhat removed from the agreeably-modest, enthusiast-led gatherings that took place at the circuit, held from 1948 onwards.
I have every confidence that at some point, a visitor to this page will be able to identify the cars and the meeting shown in this original old photo. To the far right of shot, an eager spectator is shown clutching his folded copy of the race programme - had the cover been visible, I might have been able to find a match for it within my own collection of race programmes. The starting grid - which has a few gaps in it - contains mainly front-engined cars, with just a lone rear-engined machine (it's engine cover raised) joining in with proceedings towards the quickest end of the grid.
(Please click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.)
Goodwood race startline
In the foreground, (mainly) gents huddle closely against the wooden fence, lapping up the atmosphere and inhaling the heady aroma of Castrol R as the drivers warm their engines. On the far side, are advertising banners for Lucas, Carburol, Redex, The Autocar magazine, and another (which I can't quite make out) notifying that it was their asphalt products that were used to re-surface the Goodwood track. To the left of shot is the small wooden structure on top of which the starter would wave his flag.
Behind the race control building is the paddock area, with all manner of support vehicles, caravans, and road cars neatly arranged, backed on to the grassy infield - once used by RAF fighters during WW2, when the site was known as RAF Westhampnett, and what became the Goodwood circuit was used simply as a perimeter track for the airfield.
Return to Page 21 in the motoring image archive, or visit the main index of vintage & classic photographs here.

More pages relating to Goodwood, and motor racing.

Use of the site search at the foot of the page, will bring up many pages that refer to Goodwood in some way or other. The August 1953 issue of Boy's Own, for example, features that year's Nine Hours race on its cover and within its pages. The Goodwood Collectables page features a few items of ephemera that also relate to this most stylish of motor racing venues. Further pages relating to historic motor racing in general, including Goodwood, may also be found listed here, while a selection of early race programmes may be found on this page.

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Old Classic Car (C) R. Jones 2020. Content not to be reproduced elsewhere.
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