As you make the trek up the hill provided by the rolling countryside of Surrey, track on the left,
Priceless automobile history pounds the tarmac making petrol heads weak at the knees.
The sun beating down, every inch of shade occupied by weary other halves or marshals.
You start to get a taste (literally if the wind is blowing towards you) of what is to come as the Bowler stage starts to become visible.
Here you can put your money down and get a ride in the latest Bowler EXR, including banked corner and jump, it’s a great thing to watch and they make a fantastic noise too, but keep going and you’ll find what many consider the highlight of the Festival of Speed.
The first thing I noticed was the smell; the last time I got a chance to visit was in 2008
But the smell in the air was instantly recognizable, a mix of petrol, dust and greenery that is just so distinct.
There’s also the pops and bangs of antilag to draw you in.
Secondly, and another big reason for making the journey up to the rally stage, is that it is in a forest,
This means a lot of it is shaded from the often-relentlessness heat, which is so uncommon for England.
I’m not sure how he does it, but Lord March always seems to get the sun out for his little get together in the garden.
Make a beeline for the rather rudimental fencing and get ready to be treated to something I haven’t yet found anywhere else
Classic and current rally cars barreling through a tight and twisty rally stage, usually just inches from where you stand.
The course has been carved out of the limestone that is just under the surface and as such makes it quick and low on grip, the perfect recipe for some great action.
Place yourself near a corner and just watch them fly by, but don’t forget to turn around before your eyes and mouth are filled with dust; it’s something that quickly becomes second nature.
As you make your way round, slowly following the course, trying to get to the next corner before another car comes hurtling through, just to get a glimpse of something incredible.
And there’s nothing more incredible than a rally car flying through the air.
The skill of the drivers too, world level rally drivers come and visit,
As well as your more clubman level drivers just doing it for the fun,
And it was great to see the RAF team bring not one,
But two Defenders out.
And the classic Mini’s making the course look huge compared.
The drivers they sure do take advantage of the track, and how open it is,
If the course is live, there’s always someone waiting to go out.
You’ll also find teams doing some quick repairs or adjustments in the completely open paddocks that make the Festival of Speed so great.
This lets you see some great things, like a family of Celica’s,
A pair Classic Minis,
Or a Renault 5 Turbo, battle damage and all, head down the hill to see the pristine, boring version.
Get right up close and see some great details, like this rotated tacho, so the important part of the rev range is easily visible.
My favorite thing about the rally stage is that you can really tell the drivers are pushing,
No matter what they’re driving, it could be a priceless Group B champion.
Or the current group of WRC monsters, they’re being pushed to the limit, and that is something I never feel when watching the hill climb.
Even the people going for fastest up the hill feel like they’re on a bit of a parade lap compared.
I think that is what truly draws me to the rally stage, like a moth to flame, the true action, what we love most.
A battle of man and machine against the elements.
So I urge you, not only to make it a priority to attend Goodwood Festival of Speed next year,
As it is probably one of the best automotive events of year,
But also to make sure you check out the rally stage if you want to see the vehicles on display being used how they were truly intended.
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