Words and Photography: Jonny Smith
After a long, long, long delay of no shows, events or gatherings, it was nice having something good to look forward to. With current everyday life, quite the bore and dragging on, knowing Players Classic was going ahead and setting up for the 8th time at Goodwood Motor Circuit, I'm sure you can agree it sparked joy into the future and a sense that everything will be okay.
We love this event.
The scale, quality and quantity of cars always impresses us. Personally I love the weekend, the option to shoot track photography on the Saturday, followed by a long Sunday shooting the show and shine, it gives the show something for all to enjoy.
SATURDAY - TRACK TIME
Faster, faster, faster.
Prepped with my camera, some snacks and a bottle of water, I headed off early doors to wander around the 2.3 mile historic circuit. Goodwood Motor Circuit is a fantastic track. Insanely fast, long flowing bends and some rather small run off areas its surely a track that shows the brave. I've seen a few cars take to the barriers over the years of coming here. Seeing Nick Mason (drummer of Pink Floyd) bonk the nose of his McLaren F1 race car on the entry to St Mary's and who can forget Brian AirLift who managed to flip Carl's Audi at the final chicane, it's not an easy one.
Below is a full slideshow of the Saturday.
I headed towards the main straight to start off, getting myself to grips with panning shots again. Remembering a few tips I'd learnt from inspiring photographers and just getting into the swing of it. There's nothing more iconic than the clock tower and the pit wall here at Goodwood!
In between each session, I would move slowly forward around the track. I'm not sure if most people know you can wander all the way around the track, it's a great idea honestly. We all know everyone drives as hard as they can to show off through the final chicane and down the main straight. Here you get to see how fast they go around the rest of the lap!
Ever since the first year here at Goodwood in 2013, with Fredric Aasbø in his GT86 and Mad Mike and the stupidly crazy RX7, drifting has always had a part in the show over the years. Honestly, nothing has ever come close to that first year, but Baggsy still puts on a great solo display! Not that I saw it because I was still at Lavant Corner on the back straight...
After lunch, my good friend Sam Ratcliffe had said he'd take me out as a passenger for a session. I grabbed my helmet, hopped in and away we went.
Sam is a ridiculous good driver, and someone who really knows this track well. In the past he'd lapped it in his heavily modified BMW E46 M3 which was quite the track spec and this year it was the first time in his newly acquired M2. A simpler build compared but he is lapping near as fast as the M3 when it was in it's top trim and on slicks. The M2 feels so civilised even when you're entering St Mary's at 120mph with a very slight lift off the throttle to breeze through it at near 100mph.
With the day coming to a close it was time to head back over to the Rollhard Trade Stand. As with many shows, people hang out at the end, for a quick goodbye that ends up taking forever.
Adam Ivell of 6two1 and a few others stopped near us and the Driftworks stand, long needed catch ups were had and a sea of red cars filled the area.
SUNDAY - SHOW AND SHINE
This is where the magic happens.
Each year Players Classic seems to attract the most diverse crowd of enthusiasts from all around the country, and usually from Mainland Europe, but with the restrictions this year that wasn't the case.
There is seriously something for everyone to enjoy, but more importantly, a place where we can all put our differences aside and really appreciate how each different style is, and even come away with different ideas from one another.
This year for the trade stand I invited Scott Irving, traveling all the way down from Scotland in his Volvo is one thing to celebrate, but also you knowing us, we do love a Volvo.
Scott has bagged his beautifully red 850R. Sitting it on the forged magnesium BBS GT2s, it gives off a nostalgic BTCC vibe and fitting the 993 Turbo 4 pot Brembo's fronts and S60R 4 pot Brembo's rears it finalises the look off well. Knowing Scott's love of driving this car all over the UK to shows, I'm sure we'll see his wee face again soon.
Across from us we had the Driftworks stand. Phil's RWB will forever be a timeless classic, from roaming the streets of Tokyo, to now the grounds of Goodwood, it's living a good life.
It didn't take long for Liberty Walk to get a kit out for the new Supra. A car that originally split opinions, however now we've seen what can be done, they're going to be popping up everywhere.
The Goodwood paddock is one that holds a lot of history. From the first race meeting in 1948, holding 3 "9 Hours of Goodwood" and for a while being the track for the RAC Tourist Trophy, it has had many famous racing drivers walk around the grounds. From the like of Stirling Moss and Graham Hill and overseas drivers of Roger Penske, Carroll Shelby and Bruce McLaren, who sadly also lost his life on track at a test event, it has some stories to tell. 1966 would be the final year Goodwood would hold it's last official race as the owners would not add chicanes to the straights with the ever increasing speeds cars were gaining.
Players fill each paddock bay for both the Saturday and Sunday. It's always a thought to what other cars during the racing years sat in these bays being prepped and worked on ready for a race.
Max's notchback will always be an air-cooled favourite from the first day it showed at UD 2020 just before the Covid mess.
Keeping on an air-cooled vibe, this Beetle was beautiful. Not seeing it before, in real life, or on the internet, it was pleasant to come across it at a show and appreciate it in the flesh.
After featuring Dale's Jaguar on the site it was great to finally see (and hear) Tommy's Volvo, like the Jaguar the level of the Volvo's is insane and living upto Tommy's reputation a little more asbo. We hope to catch up again with the car soon.
It was great to see Andy and his Audi 100 again. We last saw each other at UD 2020, so it has been a while. Many of you would know Andy for his business "Not Just Campers". He himself put an RS4 V8 in a T5 Transporter. But as the business name states, he doesn't only build Transporters, as you can see here.
There was a fine selection of old Japanese metal. This is a style that has really taken a rise in popularity along with the ever increasing prices.
Cameron brought along his Toyota MKii MX41 which he recently imported from Japan. With small little touches he's added himself, Cameron has started to make it his own. One main thing you would have noticed if you looked on the rear seats was the pair of SSR MK2's he has hand engraved the lips on. With countless hours per wheels. Once all are finished, tyre sizes sorted and fitted to the car, Cameron is going to have one cool car.
Pete's Crown Royal
Fyse's C130 Laurel.
Sometimes it's the small touches that mean the most. How it's already been two years since Matt's passing is slightly frightening.
A small amount of rain decided to fall, good job the land yachts were about.
Fitment has always been a hot topic over the years, which is best and such. One thing we can agree on, it comes in all different shapes and types.
Ben's beautiful BMW. Keeping that original colour and not sending it off a respray keeps a sense of character to the build.
One really great thing to come from this show was the opportunity to see friends you hadn't seen for a good two years! It was a real pleasure to see the ILB Drivers Club guys again, Adam brought along his very clean E28 all the way over from Northern Ireland, a long trek but always worth it. I'm looking forward to travel becoming slightly more normal so I can head over there and hang out like the good days.
Even more Japanese stuff.
The special and extra bit to the Show and Shine on the Sunday is cars get parked on the track instead of the outer paddock.
It does add an extra level of walking, but from my Saturday excursions around the track, it's fine by me.
R36 Passats fall into a good category of fast wagons!
Something a little different from the usual Civics.
Back from the early days when we started in 2010 the 106 was a popular car to fiddle and mess with and it's awesome to see this phase one getting the same love and attention.
No Imp-perfections here.
Somehow I nearly missed Tommy's Jetta. Glad I didn't. Was great to see this out and about. A long but thorough build has rewarded Tommy with one beautiful car.
Another nice part of Sunday is some of the cars hammering around on the Saturday stick around for the Sunday and you get a chance to see them up close and personal. Ryan's E30 really took a beating from him but that's what this E30 was built to do!
Joe! I found your car this show...
If you ever go to a show and what to see a particular car, do it earlier in the day, and not wait till the end of the show. I hoped the crowds would dispurse at some point so I could get a good mini set of Phil from Driftworks recently finished Lamborghini Murciélago GT1. But no they didn't. Sure I'll get another chance to see this beast.
Again, speaking of Driftworks, you can try and hide the ugly duckling of the 110 chassis from the show, but I will find it. There's something about this model that makes me like it the most... Probably the BN Sports kit
One of my personal highlights of the weekend was getting to see a very good friend of ours, Joey. It feels like forever since we were all laughing away in an Xbox party, messing about on GTAV or traveling across Europe to our not forgotten Belgium Chapter. People really is the core to everything for us and if Covid has taught us one thing, it's not to be taken advantage of.
Joey is one of the old school guys when it comes to E36s, I'm not sure on how long he's had them, I want to say a good 15 years. Players was a time for him to show some of his new additions. I feel they're an if you know, you know kind of deal.
As always, Jay and the Player's crew put on an excellent weekend. If it wasn't for them I don't know where a lot of shows would be these days. With the sad news that North Weald will be no more, we'll have to wait until next June to come back to Goodwood and have another spectacular weekend, that is, unless they host a coffee morning...
I'll leave you all with my full gallery of Sunday show photos below.