"The Festival of Speed is far more than just a hillclimb: it can justifiably claim to be the world’s biggest and most diverse celebration of the history of motor sport. It is the only occasion where you will see in action the greatest competition cars and star drivers from all eras: everything from 19th century steam carriages to current Formula One; fabulous racing motorcycles; classic rally cars to 3000bhp dragsters; plus motor sport legends like Moss, Surtees, Brabham and Andretti rubbing shoulders with today's hottest properties such as Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Petter Solberg and Colin McRae.
Motor racing first came to Goodwood in 1936 when the 9th Duke of Richmond held a private hillclimb through the park. Five years earlier he had won the Brooklands Double 12, and then in 1948 he opened the Goodwood Motor Circuit. These early events inspired his grandson, the present Earl of March, to bring motor sport back to Goodwood. This resulted in the first Festival of Speed, held in 1993 in the picturesque parkland surrounding Goodwood House.
Since the inaugural meeting, the Festival has become established as a key event in the motor sport social calendar. But it is not all about action on the hill. A 2.5-kilometre loose-surface rally stage – cut into the wooded area close to the hillclimb finish line – has around 30 cars from the history of rallying providing a thrilling demonstration of sideways driving throughout all three days of the event. Unrestricted access to the paddocks means that spectators and autograph hunters can get closer to the cars and drivers than at almost any other meeting. Away from the bustle of competition, you can relax with a picnic on the lawns of the House among some of the most beautiful and innovative automotive creations, which are judged in the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ design competition. You can explore the exciting displays of our many exhibitors, or seek an adrenaline rush from the Festival's interactive entertainment, including driving simulators and 4x4 driving. Children will delight in the special amusements to be found at the Junior Festival of Speed.
The Festival is motor racing's equivalent of Ascot or Wimbledon: an extravaganza of sound and colour that has been described as 'the garden party of the Gods'. In combination with the rich period theatre of the Goodwood Revival, the Festival of Speed ensures that Goodwood is unrivalled throughout the world.
Motorcycles make up a key part of the Festival of Speed, and over the years a mouth-watering collection of great machines and riders have gathered at Goodwood in celebration of motorcycling history.
Around 40 important machines gather at the Festival each year, with entry by invitation only from Lord March. The field is selected thematically, with the motorcycles chosen specifically to reflect the event's major themes, and many are ridden by famous names. Carl Fogarty, the late, great Barry Sheene, Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Giacomo Agostini, Luigi Taveri, John Surtees, Jim Redman, John Reynolds, Troy Baylis, Troy Corser, Randy Mamola, Paul Smart, Mick Grant and Marco Lucchinelli have all competed at Goodwood in recent years.
Most importantly, the machines you see ridden up the hill are, almost without exception, the actual warriors, many of them works machines which won the honours in their day. Nowhere else will you see a collection like it. From pre-war Kompressors to post war Italian exotics; from the Great British specials to the two- and four-stroke kings from the Japanese; a broad spectrum of ultimate motorcycle racing history is illustrated."