This country’s greatest-ever Olympian Sir Chris Hoy found out all about the ups and downs of motorsport as he got behind the wheel at the Goodwood Revival.
The six-time gold medal-winning cyclist is used to successfully propelling himself around velodromes.
But yesterday he was reliant on the mechanical power of a 1964 Austin Mini Cooper S in practice for the St Mary’s Trophy race – and it didn’t go well.
Sir Chris, who has now retired from two-wheeled action and is pursuing car racing as a new hobby, said: ‘The engine went on the first lap and I didn’t even get to post a time.
‘It means I’ll be starting from the back row, but that’s motorsport.
‘I’m two rows behind Rowan Atkinson (in a 1965 Ford-Lotus Cortina), so I just hope I can move forward in the race.’
If he was disappointed about his Revival debut, he certainly didn’t show it as he signed autographs and posed for pictures.
Another famous face taking to the track was TV chef James Martin, who was also piloting an Austin Mini Cooper S against competition including ex-F1 stars Mark Blundell and Derek Daly, touring car aces John Cleland and Anthony Reid and Le Mans winners Tom Kristensen, Derek Bell and Jochen Mass.
Ferrari star Jean Alesi flew in to drive a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO and the modern grand prix scene was represented by Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner and design chief Adrian Newey.
They are normally on the pit wall watching their drivers perform in grands prix, but at the Revival both are in the hot seat – Horner in a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT and Newey in his own 1965 Ford GT40.
Sir Stirling Moss watched on as drivers and bike riders had to negotiate a circuit made greasy by spells of rain.
There were some offs, but as the racing line dried so the times came down.
Tens of thousands of spectators, the majority in period dress, lapped up the Revival’s annual time travel back to Goodwood’s racing heyday of the 1950s and 1960s.
Dad’s Army were on parade, land girls mixed with RAF officers and glamorous Audrey Hepburn lookalikes walked arm-in-arm with country gents in tweed and trilbies.
Period music got people dancing, children enjoyed a traditional funfair and there was even a Tesco supermarket from the 1960s where brands from yesteryear, complete with authentic packaging, could be bought.
Attendance for the sold-out three-day event near Chichester is expected to match last year’s figure of 146,000 and enthusiasts have travelled from all over the world to enjoy the unique Revival atmosphere.
The racing programme began last night with cars in the Freddie March Memorial Trophy racing into the dusk with headlights ablaze.
Today Sir Jackie Stewart, Martin Brundle and DJ Chris Evans are set to join the party as the action continues.
Highlight of the weekend is expected to be tomorrow’s two-driver one-hour RAC TT Celebration featuring closed-cockpit GT cars such as Ferraris, Aston Martins and Jaguars worth more than £150m.
There is also plenty to see in the air, with daily Battle of Britain Memorial Flight displays featuring Spitfires and Hurricanes and a rare Canberra.
Plus tomorrow there will be a special commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the wartime Dambusters raid with an evocative flypast by a Lancaster bomber.
The Revival is being streamed live this year at goodwood.co.uk.
n Don’t miss our coverage of the festival at portsmouth.co.uk, in The News on Monday and on Twitter using the hashtag