QLD | 7,865Kms
Two wheel stars descend on Goodwood
JUST Bikes 03/08/2012
This year’s 20th running of the Goodwood Festival of Speed was the biggest in the event’s history. 185,000 spectators attended, and as in past years, motorcycle fans were well catered for.
Special guest riders this year included Wayne Gardner, John Surtees and Kenny Roberts. They were joined by Aaron Slight, Troy Corser, seven-time GP winner Henk van Kessel, and a bunch of past and present British talent in the form of Neil Hodgson, Cal Crutchlow, James Ellison, Shane Byrne, Guy Martin, Steve Parrish, James Toseland, Tommy Hill and more.
Of course, the bikes are just as big a draw as the riders. This year, there was a vast array of classic and modern machinery on show. Some of the highlights amongst the two wheel offerings this year were the Moto Guzzi V8, ridden by UK racing and museum legend Sammy Miller, the ‘JV Special’ - better known as the first Triton, Sete Gibernau’s MotoGP Ducati, and Barry Sheene’s race Suzuki.
Other delights included the rare ‘Moto Villa V4’, 1928 Scott Flying Squirrel, Harley-Davidson 350RR and Freddie Spencer’s Honda NS500 as part of a special hillclimb event for two-stroke racers. Another highlight for two-stroke fans was the iconic YZR750 ridden by ‘King Kenny’ at the end of the two-stroke era in the early 1980s. Kenny’s demo laps up the hill at Goodwood reportedly marked the first time he had ridden the machine in 30 years.
Speaking of champions, Carl Fogarty’s 1999 World Superbike Championship-winning Ducati 996 was also in action, along with a swag of modern race bikes from British Superbike, TT, World Superbike and Grand Prix competition. Other significant race bikes on display and in action included Mick Grant’s 1975 Senior TT-winning Kawasaki and the BMW Dieter Busch outfit ridden by Colin Seeley and Hugo Wilson.
Following his retirement from World Superbike, Troy Corser took a classic BMW R90/S Daytona up the Goodwood Hill – when he wasn’t signing autographs or spending time talking bikes to the thousands of fans in attendance - while Aaron Slight almost made his former Castrol Honda Superbike disappear in a cloud of tyre smoke when he lit up the rear for the fans!
An additional Aussie flavour was provided by the Horners and their Irving Vincents. The team made their Goodwood debut last year, and for the return invite, they took over three bikes: the 1300 and 1600 solos; as well as the sidecar outfit. JUST BIKES had a chance to chat to Ken Horner ahead of the Irving Vincent’s return to Goodwood, and both he and the team were really looking forward to returning to the event they rate as the best in the World. Following their appearance at the Festival of Speed, the Irving Vincents were also going to attend the Festival of 1,000 Bikes, which was being held at Mallory Park the weekend after Goodwood.
Those wanting to see some more modern machinery were catered for at ‘GAS’ - the Goodwood Action Sports arena. GAS was a new addition to the Festival last year, and was such a success that it returned in force for 2012. Trials and freestyle motocross demonstrations were the order of the day at GAS, with the trials boys led by 12-time champion Dougie Lampkin providing plenty of entertainment.
This time around, the GAS course five huge freestyle ramps, a reworked trials course, and BMX push bike sections. The GAS athletes – hand-picked from the ranks of the biggest action sports stars on the planet – responded to their all-new beefed-up playground by putting on a series of shows that left the Festival visitors open-mouthed at their skills, commitment, courage and cojones as strong winds, and at times heavy rain, combined to push them to the limit.
Top-flight freestyle riders, including Japan’s Red Bull X-Fighters regular Eigo Sato, Czech former world champion Libor Podmol and 14-year-old German sensation Luc Ackermann, all wowed the crowd with their gravity-defying displays. Closer to the ground, Dougie Lampkin led Britain’s top motorcycle trials riders while his fellow GAS Ambassador Martyn Ashton and the Animal Bike Tour team demonstrated their MTB trials skills. Popular UK comedian and noted bike enthusiast Ross Noble had a crack at the GAS arena, too, as did double F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and other racers and celebrities.
“For 2012 GAS was even bigger and better and the athletes rose to the occasion to put on some sensational shows despite at times very challenging weather to underline that action sports are a worthy addition to the Festival of Speed,” said Lord March, founder of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Dougie Lampkin was equally enthusiastic about the GAS Arena at Goodwood.
“GAS has been even bigger and better this year,” he said. “We’ve been hampered with the weather a bit which meant the freestylers couldn’t hit the biggest ramp but the high jump for the BMX dirt jumpers was amazing and I’m really pleased to have been involved again here at Goodwood. Onwards and upwards and back again next year.”
The enjoyment experienced by the riders was palpable, and the crowd numbers don’t lie – Goodwood 2012 was another winner! For those awaiting their next fix of motor sport at Goodwood, the annual Goodwood Revival is on September 14 -16, with a bunch of exciting plans in place. Tickets and further information for the 2012 Goodwood Revival can be found on the Goodwood website - www.goodwood.com/motor sport/
Dates for the big, 20th anniversary 2013 Festival of Speed will be announced later this year.
images: copyright Marcus Dodridge and Adam Beresford, courtesy of Goodwood Festival