STARS of the motor racing world traded steering wheels for cricket bats yesterday as the Goodwood Revival prepared to roar into action.
The start of the biggest historic race meeting in the world was once again preceded by a different kind of sporting challenge, as drivers arrived in classic cars and period clothes to celebrate the heyday of British motorsport.
Heroes of the track including Le Mans stars Derek Bell and Tom Kristensen joined legendary ex-F1 commentator Murray Walker and TV presenter and racer Tiff Needell for a cricket match in front of Goodwood House, near Chichester.
Today and over the weekend they will join celebrity petrolheads Chris Evans, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and comedian Rowan Atkinson, as well as racing legends Sir Stirling Moss and Sir Jackie Stewart and more than 130,000 spectators.
They will enjoy a range of wheel-to-wheel battles between racing cars from the 1940s to 1960s as Goodwood motor circuit goes back in time.
The event has begun with an afternoon of cricket for the past 12 years and a large crowd gathered to watch the star drivers out of their comfort zone.
‘It’s a shame because I was just about to really go for it,’ said Bell, who is from Pagham, after he was bowled out for nought.
He added: ‘I’ve captained this team for the past four years and it’s all part of this wonderful weekend.
‘To have a cricket match on this beautiful site with the weather like this is just idyllic. It’s a fantastic way to start the festivities.
‘I’ll be racing in a Jaguar E-Type and Ferrari 250 GTO during the Revival and I can’t wait.’
Watching the action on the cricket pitch was the 81-year-old Duke of Richmond, who is the driving force behind the traditional competition.
He said: ‘I used to umpire these matches because cricket is one of my things.’
His son, Lord March, founder of the Revival and Goodwood owner, said: ‘This year we have 14 Spitfires flying together to celebrate the aircraft’s 75th anniversary. It will be a step back into a different world, and every year no-one wants to return to reality.’