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Goodwood's Speed Festival
by Liz Clark
Photography: James Mann

The 100th anniversary of the British motor industry seems to have fuelled a surge of interest in everything linked to the subject.

With crowds of 86,000 spectators, the 1996 Goodwood Festival of Speed held recently became the world's best-attended historic motor sport event, providing a rare opportunity for enthusiasts to see and hear an unequalled range of racing cars dating from the early 1900s to now.

Goodwood Park in southern England was packed with an eclectic collection of classics from all over the world and from every era. From the present came the modern Formula One machines of Williams-Renault, McLaren-Mercedes-Benz, and Ferrari. From the past there were many famous names, including Bugatti, Maserati, BRM and Jaguar.

Shown here is Thrust SSC, which has been designed to break the sound barrier and set the world's first supersonic land speed record. It was planned to leave for its first runs in the desert in the Middle East after the Festival of Speed. Standing next to it is RAF test pilot Andy Green who will drive the vehicle when the record attempt is made later this year.

Spectators were able to rub shoulders with world-famous drivers, including some of the leg-ends of motor sport: Froilan Gonzalez, Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss and John Surtees.

The first Festival of Speed, the brainchild of the Earl of March and Kinrara, the owner of Goodwood House, was held in 1993 and attracted 25,000 spectators.

Races, hill-climbs, demonstration drives and tributes were held throughout the three-day event. But the festival was not solely for cars; there were displays of motorcycles and aircraft also on show.      Copyright ©1999, LLC