1. My dwindling sanity, in middle age, or
2. The gravitational pull and incredible allure of "the world’s most popular historic motor race meeting" – Goodwood Revival – that I'm even slightly prepared to entertain packing up a boot full (including full vintage vibe threads naturally), braving finding somewhere (nice and pricy) to stay within a 30-mile radius of the stella event and driving 500+ miles with a three-year-old, around the M25, on a Friday afternoon, in early rush hour.
But the fact remains, myself, wife & Road Art Director, Bonnie and the Road Magazine child testing department took off on Thursday last week to circumnavigate the capital, delve deep into the dark woods of Sussex to stop overnight and awake refreshed at 0415 ("is it fairground time?") and don our period finery some hours later, to attend what is fairly billed as "the biggest and best historic motor racing party of the year" and "the only event of its kind to be staged entirely in the nostalgic time capsule of the 1940s, 50s and 60s that relives the glory days of Goodwood Motor Circuit."
Yup, last weekend was Mission Revival time!
Use the inherent core DNA ability of the Road Magazine child testing department to get up insanely early (tick) to beat the crowds and get in and parked early on Saturday (tick), for a full day of retro revelry (tick, see on).
More specifically... the plan was to brilliantly balance: 1. My desire to get as close as possible to the world's greatest retro race cars and pour over the door-to-door action on the historic circuit & in the iconic white-washed pit lane. 2. My wife's desire to check out the hot men in uniform, pound the trade stands, swap female fashion tips and revel in cool American muscle (cars and blokes) and 3. Road Magazine child testing department's desire to "let's play" on the "new-one fairground" (no mention of cars, despite my unwavering best efforts!).
Easy, I thought – hazily picturing a mutually satisfying picnic hamper and champagne session on the retro rug, trackside, over-looking the terrific track action on the out-field, around Lavant, with a glorious arrival by vintage Tractor, to break up the day.
Revival = simples. Blissful. Fine, good old fashioned family fun.
Cue this weather forecast (left)... which actually turned out to be jolly and optimistic... seriously so in fact (and I am from the Lake District, so I know rain). Think power shower, on mist mode and you are close.
Never mind: Dunkirk spirit and all that... it's only a bit of, er light rain. Heavy shower. Downpour that'll be over shortly. Set in solid for an hour or so. Drowning us all like rats. All day. Darned nuisance. Fiddlesticks. Or something like that.
Cue plan B: Minimising the deeply unfashionista drowned rat look for the wife (who actually had the genius to wear both a hat and dark nylon vintage frock, looking gorgeous and unflappable in the process), keep the Road Magazine child testing department dry and uncranky (mission, given her ability to move fast, poor umbrella control and speedy fuse) and vainly attempt to keep dry...ish, whilst making the most of it, despite the truly biblical weather.
Could it be done?
Goodwood Revival may well be at its best as a fair weather event. But, as they do everything oh-so-jolly well, there's still a ton to do when it rains like Noah's about to make an appearance in the inaugural Kinara Trophy, and win. Easily. In the wooden arc, arms crossed up on opposite lock over the finish line.
First (critically dry) stop?
The now rammed, but still uttrely superb undercover of the Earls Court Motor Show – offering up a heady mix of 50s, 60s and 70s gems, including as a cenrepiece this year, those of tractor maker, Ferruccio Lamborghini in a stunning 'Raging Bulls' display, which all of us found most enjoyable to shuffle slowly around... the orange Miura and lipstick red Countach being our favourites inside, with the hilarious and quick-as-a-flash comedy banter of the Unigate 'Farmer's Wife' leading the way outside. "Get a picture and spot the family resemblance." etc. (see lead picture). Free bottle of (lush) Goodwood dairy milk to soften the (wind) blow and keep spirits and calcium levels high!
And so we float (almost literally) over to what would have been the Road Magazine child testing department's paddock piece de resistance in the usual Goodwood sunshine; the Wall's beach area – complete with retro deck chairs, and of course "Mr Whippy."
This ancient, semi-iced child pacification device could be consumed gleefully, whilst we got the chance to utilise our precious Paddock passes and drool not over ice cream, but the finest vintage racers imaginable: The 1960 DB4 GT festooned in winner's laurels, all-white E-Type racer and plethora of Ferrari 250 GT's being this year's highlights for me and 60s Corvette Sting Ray and AC Cobra for design queen and muscle fanatic Bonnie. Road Magazine child testing department remains unbiased on selection, picking the one nearest her at the time of the question 'which one do you like?' being thrown.
Paddock drooling is however of little consequence to the Road Magazine child testing department when Mr Whippy is over, the gloriously un-silenced engines fire up one after the other and the monsoon steps it up another gear (how is that even possible. We are down south, right?).
We are by now literally soaked to the skin, but it matters not.
Goodwood revival has the answer... escape the in-field crowds and head to the relatively newly conceived 'Over The Road' area "opening the door to a whole world of jollity," which is surely just the tonic, even if an incredibly brave claim indeed in these conditions...
But so it transpired to be.
The Road Magazine child testing department loved it: Capital L.
On and off the bum-soaking fairground rides, in and out of the exhibitor stalls and tents, pop wide-eyed into the Butlins tent for a spy at the big girls' roller skating fun, re-fuel with a hot dog, hook a duck and win a new cuddly toy, wobble, shake and dance at the superb hall of mirrors... the list of great fun stuff to do here with your family was endless. Worth the ticket price alone?
Certainly, with a brilliant array of classic cars on display and for sale for me to fantasise about and more right-on retro fashion, hipster designer and beautiful boutique stalls for the wife, Revival's 'Over the Road' tuned out to be a revelation for all the Road Magazine family, if not indeed the day's saviour!
It had been, I am ashamed to admit, seven years since I last personally attended Goodwood Revival – at that time, unmarried and without the Road Magazine child testing department.
I had one of the times of my bachelor life – certainly the best UK car show I've ever attended in two decades of motor journalism and richly deserving of its 'do before you die' tag. I swept that day photographing stunning models and oh-so-cool stuff, drooling and dreaming about racing these rear-driven beasts around this heritage-rich, high-speed circuit, interviewing celebrities, meeting great people and sipping G&Ts and fizz from dawn until dark, all smiles. And it was wall-to-wall sunshine: A perfect revival if you will.
Topping that was always going to be tough. And the experience "en famile" was always going to be a different one, especially with the uncharacteristic, end-of-days weather system set-in...
But, do you know what?
Despite the inevitable parental challenges – solely brought about by the atrocious weather (have I mentioned that it rained somewhat?) – and the fact our clothes soaked up more water than we soaked up circuit action... I'll remember this one more, a whole lot more in fact... for having the privilege of sharing it with my gorgeous Goodwood girls and having some of those untouchable magic moments. Ones you can only get as a parent.
Goodwood Revival, in the rain, with a three-year-old... fun?
You bet your life it was.
Already booked in for next year, but maybe packing some period frogmen costumes.