Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Festival of Speed

A while ago I was approached by the Italian editor of a very smart publication called Road Book which covers everything from watches to motor cars. He wanted to feature The Festival of Speed in his forthcoming issue, with a little help from myself. Naturally I wanted to create the right impression, so I called Aston Martin, who generously lent me a Rapide - a four door Aston that is so elegant that it looks like and drives like a two door coupe.  

Being anxious to drive the Aston, I was up at the crack of dawn and picked up the editor and photographer who were immediately smitten by the Aston’s stylish lines. Given that I was behind the wheel of the most iconic British car, I felt bound to make a bit of an effort myself, particularly in the company of Italians.  

As it was going to be a very hot day, I decided that I would wear my lightweight unlined patch pocket blue blazer with mid grey worsted trousers, worn a touch shorter to show off my shoes. I chose a pale blue and white fine stripe polo with a shirt collar, and finished off the whole ensemble with a pair of ancient black tassel loafers from Brooks Brothers. The look reminded me of Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief.

By the time we arrived at Goodwood, the car parks were already filling up. Petrol heads in panama hats laden down with picnic hampers and champagne were heading to the paddocks to drool over the spectacular array of racing cars and motorbikes.

In front of Goodwood house was a huge sculpture of a E-Type Jaguar in honour of the 50 years since it was first made.

We made for the press office and collected various badges for access to all the enclosures and paddocks before taking the Italians for a full English at the Porsche Café. I was pouring tea for them when the photographer noticed my Hackett TAG Heuer watch and took a shot of it - I said he should call it ‘Time for Tea’.

We caught up with Lord March, who graciously invited us onto his private terrace where we were able to interview and photograph him in relaxed mode. He was kitted out in a patch pocket tan linen suit (it seems like patch pockets are about to replace the elbow patch), and open neck blue and white striped double cuff shirt and brown brogues.

We spent the rest of the day ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ over seriously expensive motors, had lunch by the side of the track and afternoon tea at the house.

All in all, it was a glorious day at Goodwood, the only downside being that I had to return the Aston in the morning.

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