Peter Redman was at the very first meeting at the brand-new Goodwood motor circuit in 1948; he was also present at the circuit’s very last meeting in 1966.
And he was also there at most of the public meetings in the 18 years in between – a fact which makes him the ideal compiler of Goodwood Anecdotes.
Newly-published, the book – following on from Goodwood Remembered – is Peter’s second volume on the subject and directly the result of the first.
Goodwood Remembered prompted such a flurry of further reminiscences that a new volume was eventually inevitable.
“I first got interested in motor racing before the war when I was about six,” Peter recalls.
“We lived in Kent at the time. I had an uncle that went to Brooklands to watch the motor racing, and they used to chat about what was going on. My older brother and I decided we would get to Brooklands as well, and then sadly the war came along, Brooklands closed, and that was that.
“Part of the track was built over. As well as being a motor racing circuit, it was also an aircraft factory, and they were concerned about the German bombers raiding it. To fool the enemy, they built buildings on what was the motor track so that the motor racing was not recognisable from the air.
“It didn’t reopen after the war, partly because of that, but also, by the time the war was over, the track was in such a poor state that it would have cost too much to repair.
“It was partly because Brooklands had closed that after the war they were looking for other circuits. There were other airfield sites around the country and they realised that their perimeter around the airfield would make a good motor circuit.”
And a couple of friends persuaded Freddie March, the then Duke of Richmond, who’d been a racing driver before the war, that this was the route to go down.
By the time it opened, Peter, who now lives in Petersfield, was living in Bognor: “We had moved to Bognor because of the war. My grandparents were living in Bognor, and when the war started, my father said ‘We have to get out of London.’”
Peter found himself in exactly the right place when the Goodwood motor circuit opened, and he was delighted to be present on its very first day.
He remembers above all the casualness of it: “We were standing on the corner, and the only thing that separated us from the tracks were a few iron stakes about six foot apart with a piece of rope between them! I remember it was all very experimental to see how the circuit would work for motor racing.”
And work it certainly did, winning a huge place in the hearts of fans and drivers alike. As Peter says, many people still struggle to put their finger on exactly what it was that made it so special. But the point is that it was exceptionally special.
Peter has spoken to drivers Stirling Moss and Roy Salvadori, who both said there was just something about it: “They said pretty much the same thing, that it was very interesting from a driving point of view because it was more difficult than it looked and could catch you out.”
Goodwood Anecdotes includes personal stories from 47 of Peter’s friends and acquaintances. Their unique and often amusing anecdotes, together with more than 200 of their photographs, bring to life those wonderful days spent watching the famous, and not-so-famous, driving fantastic machines of various shapes and sizes.
Contributors include several racing drivers, an engine tuner, a team mechanic, a marshal and an officer of the law. Most of their tales, like the photographs accompanying them, have never previously been published.
The book is available at £24.95 from www.goodwoodremembered.com