Goodwood Sprint - May 19, 2007  
by Tony Beesley  

Squeezing into the JEDI in Goodwood Paddock On the Grid - Heart at Max RPM!







I now need a sticker for my Jedi saying " I SURVIVED GOODWOOD" !

When I mentioned that I had entered a sprint at Goodwood everyone - and I mean everyone made some worrying comment like, "Have you been there before - No - really?", "Mmmm - oh its sooooo bloody quick there", "Its best to do a track day there first", "Have you got the right gearing?", "I wont go - its just too fast", “Even Stirling crashed there", “I always have problems getting through their stringent Noise Check", "Its an awful journey to get there from the North of London", etc., etc. They really put the frighteners on me but I had heard so much about the place I just had to 'tick it off my list’, and anyway, I didn't have to drive on the limit - did I !!!

Leaving at 5.0am from just South of Chelmsford we had an easy and pleasant run doing the 100 miles and arrived at the circuit bang on 7.00am giving me plenty of time to get myself set up. So first negative squashed.

It was the first time I had ever been to Goodwood and what a lovely place it is too with manicured lawns, randomly placed bronze statues of our motoring legends, superbly renovated pit lane complex and Race Control buildings, excellent viewing areas and my own paddock garage. There were a number of classic vehicles dotted around the paddock including a white MGA in Police livery and an amazing ex-USAF chuck wagon open for business. All very professional and very civilised..

Scrutineering was also very relaxed as they came to you in your garage, but the first 'worry' to raise its head was the Noise Check where the Jedi failed at 108 decibels - 3 over their limit. I thought it would be close but as the Jedi uses a motorbike 'carbon can' I just happened to have in my pocket (!) an additional 'MOT' baffle which you shove up the hole and it then passed OK.

As a novice to Goodwood I had to attend a separate driver's briefing and then just the novices had to do a convoy run, but we weren't allowed to run our 'noisy' single seaters before 9.00am and were asked to use our tow cars or share a ride with someone else. I decided to take my EVO 'tow car' round so had to wake wifey Sandra up who had been on a girl's night out the night before and had only had 2 hours sleep. LOL
Alan Cleveland came with me. He was driving his 1100 Megapin for only the third time ever - and at Goodwood !!!! We did just one slow lap in the convoy and being a good three foot higher than we are in the single seaters it wasn't really very beneficial.

BUT, how on earth can you remember 2.3 miles-worth of circuit accurately enough to drive at the speeds we do, especially at my age !
I even took the circuit map with me in the cockpit to try to remember it while we queued up in the paddock for the two lap practice, but in reality it isn't 'as map' with much of the track unsited. So you would really need to know it well before you take any of it too quickly. I know that is an obvious comment, but at most other places I can actually see where the track goes - but not here, and not at such high speeds..

The start procedure is great. They line four of you abreast on the start line and then fire you off in quick succession. Your firing order is decided by your previous best time or particular class to stop any possible balking.
Needless to say I drove like a complete nancy and went round like a threepenny bit (Wots one of those some may ask!). The 'Self Preservation Switch' was well and truly turned 'ON' and I kept chickening out and lifting off. The engine also did not like that baffle shoved up its watsit but luckily I cant have fitted it properly as it had spat itself out before 1st timed runs (!)

The regulars in single seaters were saying that a quick time around this circuit is in the 80+ secs and when my 1st time came up at over 96 secs I really felt like a true novice. So I had two more runs to redeem myself and with the Jedi pulling 12k rpm /146mph in two places on the circuit it really concentrated the mind to say the least ! It was wonderful !
As all the single seaters were grouped together there was a lot of great banter during the day plus of course the usual winding up. "Well, I go flat from the start all the way round to St .Mary's". Yeah, like hell .. "You want to look for the tall trees on the bank and aim for the marshal's post". As if !! "Leave your braking at the end of the Lavant Straight till the 100 board". At 146 mph down that straight sitting up exposed to the elements I could just about see where I was going as my helmet was shaking so much - so what 100 board!

Alan Cleveland in his Megapin had Neville Theobold along with him for the day and he was constantly egging him on. So much so Alan took an excursion into the gravel but kept his foot in to keep going and complete the lap saying that the car was a bit slower on the last bit because of all the ballast he had scooped up on the way round !

At the end of the day I was so chuffed to find that I had got down to an 89 sec run, was the fastest of all the 1000cc cars, clinched 2nd place behind David Watson's 1500 Hyabusa machine and 7th overall. My run gave me a 97 mph average speed from a standing start. FTD was a 2 litre Toms Toyota single seater with an 84 sec/105mph average.

Getting mentally 'tuned' ready for the off in the Collecting AreaOne thing that Goodwood did for me was to give me one of my most adrenalin packed days ever. It was almost as good as sex, so much so that I want more!
It made me make my mind up about something that had been rattling around my head for a few months about retiring at the end of this season. I had placed a £1k deposit with
Mitsubishi for the new EVO Ten due out next year and was toying with the idea of slowing down (a bit) by selling the Jedi and just doing a few sprints in the EVO.
Well you can forget all that. An EVO would not give anywhere near the same adrenalin rush as the Jedi so I decided there and then that I will not retire, and would cash in the EVO X deposit and use it to buy some more doses of that wonderful Jedi drug ...

In the meantime I guess sex will just have to do !