As told by Randy Betki.
A few years, ok decades, ago wheels were put into motion by others…. to what was to become The Goodwood Gang.
Story is Steve Williams, his wife, and another couple attended the Goodwood Festival of Speed (A hill climbing event) back in the late 90’s. Goodwood is an estate established back in the 1600’s. It is located in England and used as a RAF base during WWII. During WW II the pilots and crew would use the service drive that went around the airfield’s perimeter to race anything that had wheels on it. After the war, 1948, the service drive was turned into a race course. It served as such until the 1966 when speed and safety rules made the decision to close the circuit. The track was still used from time to time for testing. It is the circuit on which Bruce McLaren lost his life while testing one of his experimental racing machines back in 1970.
When they returned to the USA, Steve, who is a brace/prosthetic maker, talked to Dr. Charles Safley (Charlie). Charlie raced an Alfa, owned a Cobra, and was a member of the Shelby American Automobile Club – Motor City Region (SAAC-MCR). Charlie tells Steve he would be interested in attending if they go back.
Next time they (Charlie, Steve, and his brother Jim who works for NASA) go, it is to The Revival, a road racing event using the old race circuit.
When they return Charlie tells Tom Greene about it. Tom was President of SAAC-MCR, and raced a 1966 GT 350 in vintage racing. So he tags along for the next trip.
Tom returns and sees me at the next Shelby Club meeting. Tells me I have to attend the next event. I ask why? Because they race old cars (from the early 1900’s to 1966), and fly warbird airplanes…. all the stuff you love to do. So I attend the next event. As well as another SAAC-MCR member, Stu Cashman. Eventually Charlie talks one of his boating buddies, Troy, into going along.
So that is the short story of how the Goodwood Gang was formed. The Gang has been going over every other year for decades.
In Dec of ’16, Charlie past away due to an aggressive cancer. In his will he requested that part of his ashes be placed at Goodwood’s Lavant Corner where we usually sat for the Revival. Tom picked up the reigns and got The Gang together to take Charlie over to this years Goodwood.
Three months later Tom is at a go karting track, got bumped, long story short, he succumbs to a Dale Earnhardt neck injury. While at his funeral in Tennessee, his widow tells me, “If you are taking Charlie, you are taking Tom!” The Gang divides responsibilities and continues on with a new purpose……
So this past Sept we smuggled a couple of bodies across Canada and England to inter as part of the Goodwood Estate. I did make proper arrangement with the Goodwood Estate to do so. They were very receptive to the request.
Per Charlie’s instructions we topped them off with a half pint, not a full pint. Charlie said, “Beer is too expensive, just use a half pint”.
Now you know the history of The Goodwood Gang