JUST HOW BADWOULD GOODWOOD GET FOR BILL HEMMING
After a brilliant 3 meeting run in the Good Ol’ US of A, where the little Tojeiro and it’s Fiat Transporter Pod didn’t put a foot wrong, a late invite to the Goodwood Revival could not be ignored. (That’s a GOOD}
A rush booking on a ship to arrive in Southhampton by the 25th August would allow a quick nut and bolt check before presenting at the worlds” premier Historic Motoring event. (Don’t take my word for it, just ask the 300,000 people who have been paying hundreds of dollars to attend every year for 20 years.) (also GOOD)
The girls and guys who picked up the Pod from the docks on the 29th August pointed out the Fiats’ clutch was totally clutchless, the automatic entry door would not shut automatically, and that the interior looked like it had been ransacked. (BAD, BAD and BAD)
On arriving in the UK, young Bill rushed over to check the Pod at the clutch repair workshop to find “ransacked” to be an understatement. (very BAD)
A quick inventory check found nearly $10,000 of BAD. Missing tools, TV, Satnav, Generator, bed linen, kitchen gear – even the salt and pepper shakers! The poor misunderstood petty thieves (they were probably molested and gender confused as children and therefore need forgiveness and understanding by us privileged white old folk) even had to stand on the aluminium Tojeiro to reach some items, leaving dents front and rear. (F…..g BAD)
Oh well, after a few gins and tonic, the Toj was loaded in the Pod and motored down to Goodwood on a beautiful sunny Thursday. Tojeiro unloaded in the paddock, scrutineered and paperworked, and a pleasant afternoon spent at the drivers cricket match sipping Pimms and watching the Spitfire fly- over after parking the Pod in the vast camping area. (all GOOD)
Thursday night it started to rain and rain and rain. The camping ground became a giant mud-wrestling ring…and the showers were cold. (not so GOOD)
Friday am and it continued to rain and rain and rain for the Formula Junior practice/qualifying session – the first of the day. Tip toeing around, the little Tojeiro stayed on the track to come in a respectable mid field 19th and within a second of the next 5 cars. (so far, so GOOD)
Meanwhile Bills’ mud bath campsite was joined by ex Tojeiro owner, Anthony Goddard (and wonderful wife Alix) and Adam Ealand, son of ex Roger Ealand who came to lend support and offer wine. (very GOOD)
Saturday morning, the sun came out enough to turn the car park mud into brown silastic. But it did offer a dry race for Formula Junior which was again the first event of the day. On the dummy grid, the lovely Sarah herded all the FJ drivers for obligatory group photo. It all started so well!(showed GOOD potential)
Until the engine overheated on the formation lap. With the steel trapped mind of a finely honed engineer, Bill put this down to the slow pace of the formation lap an thought a bit of speed would improve the cooling. After a good launch which picked up a couple of places, by the first corner the temperature was off the dial and power dropped off. By lap 2, on a good stretch. The engine managed to jump up to 3 cylinders and the Toj limped into retirement. (all of this was not GOOD)
The only benefit to retirement was that we could witness the FJ race on the big screen. Again, the FJ’s put on a brilliant display and the dice for the lead was breathtaking. The car control of the winner, Stuart Roach, as he was forced off the track onto the wet grass was sublime! (GOOD to see!)
After the race, the FJers were free for the rest of the weekend. Sarah was thrilled to watch her daughter have fun in the Austin A40 pedal car event, and we all went off to dribble on some of the Ferraris, Maseratis, Jaguars, ERA’s, Bugattis, etc etc (ran into Bob King who was fettling a friend’s Bugatti, and Mike and Dot Devine who came to tell Bill how pathetic was his effort). We also had time to prepare for the famous Goodwood Saturday night theme ball. (GOODY)
This year the theme was to dress for Salsa. Most wore Cuban outfits, but Bill mistook things and thought calypso dress was the go. In the absence of Bill’s (if it’s got tyres or testicles – keep away from it) wife, Adam offered to be Bill’s Bitch for the night and dressed up with calypso frills. They looked like an advert for the “yes” vote in the upcoming same sex marriage ballot. Worse, in a room full of Castro and Che costumes, they were as conspicuous as a Cuban cigar in the hands of Monica Lewinsky. Nevertheless, a great night, and Bill and Adam walked back to the campsite (and I do mean camp) hand in hand to retire tired but happy. (GOOD for some)
Despite a sensational day of race watching, the best entertainment on Sunday was watching a couple of hundred camper vans slithering totally out of control and getting towed to dry land by 3 huge tractors. Goodwood in the rain is (BAD).
But, even with rain and engine failures, the event visuals, spitfires, cars, racing and friends, GOODWOOD is definitely very, very GOOD.
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