I first watched a race with Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams driving at Goodwood Revival in 2003 where, my view point was the Chicane during the St Mary's Trophy. It was the first year I had actually managed to watch a race whereas the previous years, I had been actively photographing throughout the weekend without pause for a moments racing. However, standing at the chicane (with camera in hand), I relished in the drifting of the what I can remember, was a Ford Galaxie 500 or perhaps a Jaguar Mk1? - I realised that not only was this race a thrill to watch, I could see from the drivers faces - being so close at the Chicane view point - that it was indeed a thrill for the drivers too.
Barry tells me as we wait patiently in his Mini Cooper S at the bottom of the hill at Goodwood House that racing at Goodwood is always challenging however well he knows the circuit, "We do the practice session the day before the race and of course on the day of the race, which is in the afternoon, the track has had pre-war vehicles race, dump oil everywhere as well as the other races in between, so by the time the St Mary's Trophy starts, the track is rather slippy".
I comment, "Yes - full of serendipities", to which our laughter soon turns to watching two chariots being pulled by horses make their way up the hill on this Goodwood press day.
We decide we may be 'some' time waiting for that sort of horsepower going up the hill and talk about what it is like to 'go racing'. Driving cars such as Minis and MG Midgets we decide are a super way to get your first year of racing organised, get your signatures and learn the circuits, with the added benefit of the cars not being too expensive to maintain and fix.
The St Mary's Trophy at Goodwood Revival usually contains such a variety of cars like Alfa Romeo Giuliettas, Austin A35s, Ford Zephyrs, Jaguar MkI's, MG Magnettes, Morris Minors and Standard 10s all with small engines which make for super 'play' on the track.
The drivers on the Saturday being the guest drivers and the Sunday the owners, where some of them really don't do that much racing throughout the year, are keen to receive a podium whatever the outcome! This race might indeed be the cheapest of the cars racing at Goodwood, but they seem to be the cars that play the most!
I asked him if he ever raced the car in rallies... - but before I could complete my sentence which was to be.... 'recently, such as historic rallies' - Barrie enthusiastically showed me the history of this Mini and of course the history of Barrie's extensive rally and racing career:
'Whizzo' Williams, whose nickname comes from an Autosport article back in 1964 (when Barrie won the International Welsh Rally), wrote "Who is this Welsh whizz-kid?" (actually, he is from Herefordshire) and the name has stuck ever since, he had a couple of years in Formula 3 around 1967 and 1968, racing against people like Derek Bell, Ronnie Peterson and Frank Williams.
But our attention turns to this Mini Cooper that was the first Mini to win the 1964 Welsh International Rally outright - he was due to do the rally first in 1963 but it had snowed so badly they couldn't get to the start, so his debut was 1964 and he won it.
Barrie and his Mini then competed in the Swedish Rally. He was the first driver to complete a Scandinavian winter rally and came first in class for the Geneva 1964 International Rally and second in class Manx International Rally. He also competed in circuit of Ireland during the RAC rally as part of the manufacturer's team. He has raced in many club autocross and auto tests and hill climbs. This Mini is still a competitive race car, owned from new in 1963 with only a couple of temporary guardians in its time.
With the coming 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, a car 'Whizzo' Williams is quite familiar with, I learn that 'familiar' is an understatement: In the late 1970s, he came first in class of the RSR 1000km at both Brands Hatch and Silverstone. First in class of the BF Goodrich Championship 2 years running and second overall 2 years running in the 1980's and he, along with his co-drivers: Geoff Lister and Lord Beaverbrook came first in the 911 Turbo at the 4hour race at Paul Ricard in the late '90's. I rather think Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams might know a thing or two about racing a Porsche 911.
Go and say hello to Barrie 'Whizzo' Williams at Goodwood Revival in September once you have watched him race, I am sure you will, like me, be struck in awe at how he uses his engineering skills, squeezing the most out of the car and yet, brings it home with a smile on his face.
I too will be at Goodwood Revival this year and on Ladies day, I invite you to meet me in the Richmond Enclosure with a personal VIP ticket and a glass of champagne. For information about how you can receive your personal VIP entry to Goodwood Revival please see: http://unbound.co.uk/books/girl-racers