The CSCC Special Saloons
+ Modsports series
Besides the CSCC series events to report in 2018 was a opportunity for some of our cars to give 2 demonstration laps as part of the Retro Rides Weekender event at the famous Goodwood circuit on May 19th .
This was an interesting event for all concerned as it was the first time RR had gone there and it was my first time at Goodwood and any RR event. The RR formula is a new one bringing modified cars together networking through social media and has made it name doing so at places like the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb venue.
The pleasantly surprising thing was how many of the spectators and indeed drivers of the many interesting road cars that made up the displays were under the age of 30 . 'Young Hipsters' im reliably informed is the term and the standard of cars present were a credit to these young folk many of whom were younger than their cars. The variety was amazing from VWs with controlled amounts of trendy rust ,to slammed Americana ,hot rods ,street dragsters ,hydraulic-suspension cruisers ,race car replicas ,Imps with crazy cambered wheels. We had everything from Dick Dastardly's car to a Citroen 2CV joining the demo laps.
At just £15 a ticket this was a very down to earth event and made the fabulous Goodwood circuit and facilities accessible compared to its usual more exclusive events. An invitation from RetroRides organiser David Murphy had asked for a selection of special saloons to do 2 demo laps plus a few static cars to add to the mix. This was a great opportunity for the CSCC boys to connect with a younger audience than those usually attending race meets and in new territory. The cars were very well received both in the paddock and once on track every vantage point was full for the first demo just after 12 ,about the same time the royal wedding was catching alot of the nations attention elsewhere.
Sadly about 5 cars hoped for had been forced to pull out in the days leading up the saturday to the disappointment of their owners ,such is the rare opportunity to drive round the famous circuit. Leading the cars pesent though was very much the brace of ex-Gerry Marshall driven Marsh Plant Aston Martin V8s ,brought over from Ireland by owner David Beatty. Seeing one is a treat but both together was an opportunity not to be missed as they rumbled steadily round ,rather majestically and were the events highlight i reckon. The 2 almost look identical but the Evo car ( the reworked 'Silver Dream Racer' ) raced by Marshall 1989-91 and lastly in 1999 has the high rear wing. The 'EVO 2' car raced by Marshall 1992-98 has a lower boot spoiler/wing. These 2 accounting for 26 wins for the legendary racer and are a credit to their new owner.
Three cars that were really 'going for it ' and putting on a great show were Ian Stapleton ( Alfa GTV ) which was probably the fastest car out there ,Steven Moss ( the Green E Anglia ) and Steve + Daniel Minton in the family Escort mark 2 . The trio had parked together and drew an audience for most of the day. Moss stayed on until the sunday lunchtime for day 2 ( the display day ) doing great PR work with the admiring crowd and allowing kids to sit in the cockpit for photos. Lets face it this level of informality between race cars and race fans doesnt happen at the top end of the sport which is why I prefer club-level racing to F1 anyday.
Joining the 5 afforementioned was another CSCC man Ian Connell in his BTCC-replica Sierra ,Neville Powell in David Hall's droopsnoot Firenza 'TPB 262M' ,one of the original 20 that raced at Thruxton in May 1974 in the Vauxhall Spring Cup race. Ian Jessop was joining in with his lovely Zakspeed Escort mk2 replica and got sideways at times in the Duratec-powered machine.
Keeping these company in the paddock were 4 static cars : Terry Nicholls brought his lovely Supra turbo which is still for sale I believe ,Terry an actual Goodwood veteran having raced there from 1962 to 1966. Jon Mann brought the wonderful Vauxhall Calibra Thundersaloon ,the 1st of the 2 built by Uniclip for 1993 ( Ric Wood has chassis no.2 ) . Now in STP livery Mann hopes to compete again with the car later in the season. Gary and son Leigh Marsh brought a brace of interesting Escorts too . The 'Purple Pig' wide-arched mark 1 with Rover V8 ,effectively a barn find that was saved and raced in period by Geoff Lynn ,Martin Sledmore and Steve Astell. In contrast the spotless RS silhouette has been restored ( less engine ) and was once the fastest saloon to lap Brands when Matthew Mortlock took it over from Robin Hooker late 1991.
By demo number 2 after 4 the crowds had thinned after what had been a baking hot day and a really enjoyable ,laid back occasion. It felt more like a festival and if there were fewer cars on track at once to view it didnt seem to matter.
With one eye ( or should that be ear ) on noise levels Goodwood had dropped the number of cars on track at any one time to 3 which made it a squeeze for the special saloons in the last seassion before the 5 oclock curfew. The circuit has a remarkable level of transparency on this and posts it db readings daily on its website ! One might think the special saloon race cars would be the noisiest things out ontrack but in fact the loudest of them was way down in 15th on the day to the road/track cars !
The CSCC boys all commented on how they had enjoyed the exercise without the pressures of raceday. "I really enjoyed some good track time that perhaps the lower numbers gave us and also the opportunity to take some people round the circuit to get an idea what a Thunder saloon was like. The weather was an added bonus too." remarked Ian Stapleton afterwards.
Overall a most enjoyable weekend and let's hope RR can return and build on this first event at Goodwood . All good publicity for the CSCC Special saloons + Modsports as the series continues to gain recognition.