For one glorious weekend every year, time is stopped at the Goodwood Revival. In a celebration of gentle British eccentricity and history, the Goodwood Estate about 60 miles from London takes on the pace and look of bygone eras. In the air, Spitfires and Lancasters thunder overhead, while on the ground many of the approximately 150,000 spectators that attended are dressed in period clothing. From the 1930s to the Swinging Sixties, magnificent cars and motorcycles arrived and everyone relived those times.
Whole areas are given over to recreations of these long gone but not forgotten times. Garages and workshops are set up just the way they were ‘back in the day.’ BMW dealerships with models from the past are displayed in pristine condition, complete with all the sales and promotional material of the time and mechanics and sales staff dressed to fit the stage in what is a living and breathing museum.
On the historic Goodwood track the action was fast and furious, and had spectators enthralled. For motorcycles the main event of the weekend is the Barry Sheen Memorial Trophy where racing machines from the past are piloted by stars of the present day.
On the grid was Australian legend Troy Corser, the former double WSBK Champion and the man with the honor of being the first to take to the track on the BMW S1000RR. For the weekend he partnered Sebastian Gutsch on a 1937 BMW R5SS. This was BMW’s first ‘over the counter’ racer and was capable of 100 mph (160 km/h) – and as a first, was fitted with adjustable telescopic front forks. The R5SS was only produced in limited numbers and today only a handful of originals remain.
Troy, although now retired from World Superbike racing, is still often seen on the S1000RR in his role as BMW ambassador. He has lost none of the skill developed over his long career. The packed crowd was enthusiastic in their appreciation as he battled against a group of newer and more powerful Nortons. Corser had the rocker covers caressing the tarmac as he pushed the elegant R5SS to the limit. At the end of the two-race feature event Corser and his co-rider Sebastian Gutsch were happy to finish on the podium in third position.
Also on track was the legendary RS54. The post-War racing machine, which featured gear-driven double overhead cams, finished second in the 1956 500cc World Championship. It was ridden by the head of BMW Motorrad’s production plant in Berlin, Hermann Bohrer, who co-rode with the nephew of the great Georg Meier. They finished in a creditable 10th place.
BMW Motorrad, unlike many other marques represented at Goodwood Revival, is a living brand with increasing sales and popularity but also one with a proud history that can been seen and heard at classic events such as Goodwood Revival. Long may it continue.