Why DirtFish just had to be at Goodwood

Rob Hansford recalls an unforgettable weekend where DirtFish had a large footprint


Glorious Goodwood. It’s called it for a very good reason.

Unless you’ve been, it is so easy to underestimate how big a show the Festival of Speed really is. It’s not just about the infamous and majestic Goodwood House and the iconic hillclimb. Oh no.

There’s so much more, and this year DirtFish got to be a part of it.

The days might be long, but it doesn’t matter. Everywhere you turn there’s something different and exciting.

There’s no way you can get round everything in a day. I was there for all four days, and still failed to make my way down to the supercar paddock or spend much time in the in-field. The size of the place really is colossal.


Of course, to a lot of people the main event at Goodwood is the hillclimb.

The 1.16-mile dash up the hill generates awe-inspiring and unforgettable memories. Historically it has catered mainly for Formula 1, sportscars, supercars and motorbikes, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t things for a rally fan to see.

Nestled away just behind Goodwood House was the Cathedral paddock. Unassuming when you wander upon it, but walk through the trees and you arrive at a small slice of rallying heaven.

Nasser Al-Attiyah’s Dakar winning Toyota Hilux, Sébastien Loeb’s Citroën Xsara WRC, not to mention the variety of Subaru Imprezas from World Rally Championship years gone by – there’s iconic cars everywhere you turn.

But the star of the show down there was the Audi Quattro E2, owned by our very own Steve Rimmer.


I’ve seen it in pictures, I’ve seen it in video footage, but there’s nothing like seeing it in the flesh. It was an absolute beauty.

It screamed aggression and glistened in the sun in immaculate condition. How can anyone not love it? If you don’t I’d have to argue that you aren’t a rally fan. It’s beautiful.

But the cars weren’t just sat in the paddock on show to the world.

I was down in that paddock on Saturday morning at 7.45am. The sun was shining, the crowds were slowly creeping in, but all was quiet. That was until all of these wondrous machines fired up their engines.

In an instant I was deafened, but did I care? Not one bit.

When the opportunity came about for DirtFish to be involved with Goodwood for this year, it was too good to let it slip by

From where I was stood, it was simply magical, although I’m not entirely sure our videographer, Eliot Barnard, would entirely agree.

Unfortunately for him, he’d been sat behind the Quattro grabbing some equipment when the cars fired up, and he was forced to quickly jump up for some fresh air after the Quattro’s tailpipe covered him in fumes…

Shortly after, the cars soon took to the famous hill, showcasing some of the WRC’s greatest eras.

It is easy to forget just how iconic and fabulous so many of these cars are, but perhaps more impressive was what was happening at the very top of the hill on the rally stage.

The primary purpose of the Festival of Speed might be to showcase the world’s greatest cars, but when drivers entered the Duke of Richmond’s forest it all seemingly went out the window.


It was like any other rally stage, with the majority of drivers pushing their cars to the limit, and in some cases too far.

To put it into context, the red flag was out several times a day, allowing marshals the chance to recover damaged cars from the forest, but the biggest incident happened on the event’s second day when Travis Pastrana entered the stage in his Subaru WRX STI, but failed to make it out the other side, having rolled his car halfway round the 1.5-mile test.

If that doesn’t demonstrate the fact drivers were pushing hard, I don’t know what will.

However, it wasn’t all just about the events on stage on the crest of Goodwood House’s hill. DirtFish also had a significant presence with a studio from which David Evans and Colin Clark presented our Safari Rally Kenya coverage.

When the opportunity came about for DirtFish to be involved with Goodwood for this year, it was too good to let it slip by.

DirtFish is a global brand, and Goodwood was the perfect place to help build on that. It allowed us to properly introduce ourselves to a UK audience in person, with boots on the ground.

You can’t beat that, and although David and Colin couldn’t be in Kenya, the studio was the perfect base to showcase it from Goodwood. And to be fair, there were times where it felt like we were there anyway.

Dust and fesh-fesh was a major talking point in Kenya, but the dust coming off Goodwood’s rally stage was also incredible. Every time a car flew through the finish line, a wave of dust would blow in the direction of the DirtFish studio – covering us all in the fine sand.


Just like the Cathedral paddock, the service area situated just above the rally stage was full of magical memories.

There was plenty of Colin McRae’s machinery on show, from his 2001 Ford Focus RS WRC, to the Subaru Legacy RS, and what made it all the more special was that Max McRae got to drive them both.

Speaking to him on Sunday, it was clear just how special a moment it was for him to get behind the wheel of such iconic cars driven by his uncle. And that’s what Goodwood is all about.

It’s not just about creating memories for the fans, but also for drivers, owners and team members past and present.


For me though, the start of the show was Al-Attiyah’s Hilux. Not only was it going up the hill, but it also took to the stage, and by Saturday evening he had the fastest time – although that changed come Sunday afternoon.

That machine is an absolute beast. We were fortunate to be able to have a proper look around it, and Colin took the opportunity to dive into the passenger’s seat usually occupied by Mathieu Baumel.

And it was only then that we truly discovered just how cramped it is in the cockpit, and how remarkable it is that they can even spend hours upon hours inside. Cramped is too kind for that environment.

There haven’t been many Festival of Speeds that I’ve missed since 2006, but every year is just as special.


Yes, the weekend format is generally the same, but that doesn’t matter. What changes is the machinery and the people behind the machines, who are very happy to engage with you over the course of the weekend I might add.

It’s about learning, reminiscing and discovering. There’s nowhere else in the world where you can experience the same thing as Goodwood. That’s what makes it so special, and why it was so important for DirtFish to be there this year.

And it’s also why I can’t wait to do it all again in 12 months’ time.

Words:Rob Hansford