Goodwood Members’ Meeting often braves rain and snow—but not COVID-19

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We’re absolutely gutted,” my contact at Goodwood told me. “As late as yesterday evening, we thought [the 78th Members’ Meeting] could go ahead. We’d put so many contingencies in place to protect the staff and visitors.”

It wasn’t to be. Goodwood announced Tuesday that the Members’ Meeting had been postponed. The accompanying Bonhams auction will proceed; however, viewing of cars will be by appointment only, and the sale itself will, according to the auction house, take place “behind closed doors but with increased absentee, telephone, and online bidding.”

The straw that broke the camel’s back was U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement that emergency services support to large events would be withdrawn. For an event that thrives on what my Goodwood contact described as “full-on racing,” it was just too much of a risk to go ahead without ambulance and fire service backup. Volunteer medics just won’t cut it when you’re racing everything from Edwardian monsters to British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) tin-tops. A few hours later, Goodwood’s decision was overtaken by events. Motorsport UK, the body that authorizes motor racing, withdrew all permits until April 30, 2020, at the earliest.

Goodwood

The “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude could have been created with Goodwood in mind, and the postponement is no doubt a major disappointment. Over the past few years, I’ve attended events at the motor circuit that have been battered by high winds, torrential rain and even driving snow; the 78th Members’ Meeting was notable in that it’s the only time I’ve seen Formula 5000 cars driving on slick tires through a blizzard. Goodwood’s response is usually that the show goes on.

One thing Goodwood was keen to point out was that the Members’ Meeting has been postponed, not canceled. As we speak, their events team is exploring new dates. For more information, visit Goodwood.com.

This story appears in Issue 8 of Hagerty Insider. To get the e-magazine, along with weekly updates on the collector car market, sign up for the newsletter.

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