Goodwood Motor Circuit in the 80s was a very different place to how it is now.
Much like any childhood memory, the nights were long and life was full of fun with none of the stresses modern life seems to dish out to us. Of course, I was only six years old, so I hardly had any financial commitments, and 30 years on I’m looking at my youth through rose-tinted glasses.
Back then, after school, myself, my father and my two older brothers would head up to Goodwood and drive our small racing cars around the track until it just got too dark to see. That was that – there were no rules and we just used common sense. Remember being allowed to use that?
After 1966, when racing stopped at Goodwood, the circuit continued to be used for testing, In fact, I can remember seeing the Moneytron F1 team testing there in the 80s. So why am I telling you all this? To help paint a picture. During the 80s and early 90s, a garage in West Sussex called Carrera Sport run by Mike Pullen used to hire the circuit on bank holiday weekends and invite its customers and friends along. Now these customers were very successful people earning serious money in London, and much like The Wolf of Wall Street, they wanted to let loose.
Goodwood was a perfect opportunity to really stretch the legs of their new Lamborghini Countach or Porsche 911 Turbo. For about 10 years, these days (also held at Castle Combe) were ‘the’ place to see the latest supercars that adorned your bedroom wall. It’s where I saw my first Ferrari F40, Porsche 959, Lamborghini Diablo, Countach, Miura – you name it, everything turned up.
These guys didn’t hang around either – cars were seemingly a disposable item for them. There would often be a crash or someone would lend their car to someone else then they would break it and there would be a heated argument. But it was a safer alternative to taking part in one of those mythical M25 races.
By early afternoon on a hot bank holiday (they were all hot back then, right?) there would be queue-jumping, people just driving straight out on to the track and even the occasional flash of a boob from an over- excited wife or girlfriend.
By the mid-90s, the events had changed. Money had become a more serious business and Goodwood had started to undergo changes as Lord March looked to turn the ageing track into the spectacular venue and events hub that we are so lucky have today.
For those that went, they will never forget it, and there are hundreds of stories. If you head down to Carrera Sport, Mike still has a wall covered in photos from these hazy days.
Sadly this type of event just wouldn’t happen now and the characters don’t really exist anymore. There really were fewer rules back then.