The eyes glance nervously towards the racing organiser, the right foot hovers uneasily over the accelerator pedal, the left foot eagerly awaits the power to be released from the engine to the front wheels. Finally the starting flag drops and only the smell of burning rubber, clutches, petrol and oil remain behind.
Yes, motor sport can be dangerous but when the 28 racing cars from the 60s dart forward from their starting positions at the drop of the black-and-white chequered flag and make their way towards the first bend, the danger factor is set aside, by both the drivers and the spectators, because they are in Goodwood in south England, somewhere between the seaside resort of Brighton and the port of Southampton. This is a sacred place for every fan of classic motor sports because at the Goodwood Revival, against an unbelievable backdrop, "real" races are still held without modern tools and resources such as ABS, DSC and DTC. And in the middle of it all: the red Austin Mini Cooper S Competition with the white-and- black patterning, just as it was presented in Unfiltered, Part 1.
Along the 2.4 mile (3.8 km) Goodwood Circuit, in the park of the Earl of March, this Mini must now show, over two stages, that it has what it takes to win the St. Mary's Trophy, because the Classic Mini racing touring car was built precisely for this event. Built for a racing circuit from a time when run-off areas and safety fences were still unheard of, for an event at which, after passing through the entrance gate, one is immersed in a different world for a weekend on which everything is in the style of the 40s, 50s and 60s.
At this event it really does seem like the clock has been turned back. On the race course the competition is literally door to door, wheel to wheel and completely "unfiltered". The owners of the tiny English motorcars also noticed this because in the battle for the positions, at least in the first stage, the 1964 Classic Mini had to pull in to the pit lane with a technical defect after 13 of 16 laps.
But motor sport is also a team sport and this team won't let anything get them down. Things were unscrewed and screwed back on again, checks carried out, measurements taken and repairs performed because following this setback, there was only one goal for the second stage: to provide the driver with a well-prepared vehicle again. And the team succeeded in doing just that!
And sometimes perseverance in motor sports is even rewarded by the "racing god" because when the clouds of burning rubber, clutches, petrol and oil disappeared after the start of the second stage of the St. Mary's Trophy, it was clear that the Classic Mini with the No. 9 starting position joined in precisely where there was a thrilling battle for positions, in the front mid-field.
Eyes glance repeatedly at the tower where the placements are posted. Again the red racing box with the two striking stripes flies past the start/finish line. 25 minutes can seem like forever. The team at the pit wall are cheering. The excitement is mounting and reaching fever-pitch. Lap after lap the Classic Mini tries to push itself forward but the competition is fierce. Nobody is handed anything on a plate here. After 16 laps the race organiser finally puts the drivers, the teams and spectators out of their misery by waving the chequered flag. It's all over. The excitement disperses, applause erupts through the rows of spectators and on the tower a number 10 illuminates behind the number 9 start position.
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No, it certainly wasn't a victory, but for a brand spanking new racing car from the good old days, still lacking some experience but winning favour with many, this was a superb result. And the placement calls for a repeat next year. The Goodwood Revival is a rather special event because in the park of the Earl of March "unfiltered" first-class motor racing is provided and the MINI is right in the middle of it all!
"Unfiltered: Part 2" - Axel Griesinger, MINI Clubs International Office.