The hotel was nestled between a trickling stream, surrounded my succulent flowers climbing delicately up the windowsills and archways to the rooftops. Surrounding the hotel were cobblestone streets lined with thatched roofed homes and gardens, brimming with radiant colors and hedged with flint walls leading to the bay. The town was overflowing with pubs, quaint shops and homes enjoying spectacular water views and sunsets.
Inside the hotel the English staff were busy tending to our every needs. The breakfast bar was abundant with fresh fruits, succulent creamy spreads and home made breads. A full service restaurant was one of the Millstreams many highlights. We arrived around 10 am, but check in was not until 2 pm, so we decided to visit the Goodwood Estate and check out Swamp Rat IB, we found the “Old Girl” in perfect shape, even after the grueling voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The Goodwood grounds were quite impressive, and we returned to the hotel to get some much needed sleep, to prepare us for this exciting event. We were quite tired, as we had flown all night from Orlando Florida in the huge jetliner.
Thursday was set up day and we got all our paperwork in order and gave the Swamp Rat a good going over and also got to meet our English assistants, Davie and his wife. Friday morning was the start of the 23rd Annual Event, that included a wide variety of race cars, features and attractions. Some of the highlights included; The Hill Climb, Soapbox Challenge, a stage featuring sleek race cars of all makes and models, The Moving Show, Wacky Race Cars, plus a state of the art Fighter Jet Show, which gave the huge crowd even more entertainment! Also included in our schedule was dinner and a Grand Ball with The Lord March at the Goodwood Estate, followed by live bands, dancers, a tight rope walk, with the rope on fire! The grand-finale of the Ball was; a spectacular fireworks show that lit up the whole countryside of West Sussex!
Friday morning we were scheduled for a couple of long burnouts up the hill, but after the first burnout the two inch blower belt broke and suddenly the engine had no power! We returned to the pits to replace the belt, as fortunately, Tuesday morning while packing for the trip I thought, “What would we do if we broke a blower belt”, so I packed and extra belt. We installed the new belt and SR IB was good to go!
That afternoon we returned to the track for another burnout, but at the end of the first burnout the number five cylinder’s intake valve spring broke, dropping the valve into the cylinder, hitting the piston, damaging the cylinder head and piston. We returned to the pits, pulled a couple of spark plugs and determined that the damage was so extensive it could not be repaired, due to the fact that we had no parts or tools with us.
That evening during a private photo shoot with the Lord March on the Cedar Lawn of the Goodwood Estate, I informed him of the catastrophic failure and the fact that I did not have my tools or spare parts with me. The Lord March offered his condolences and said, ”There is always next year”.