CHICHESTER, United Kingdom—The 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed took place this past weekend, and I had grand plans for how I would cover the gathering. A tight schedule meant I would only be able to attend the multi-day event on Saturday, so I would wake up early, get to Goodwood, run around, meet racers, and get awesome anecdotes about their cars. So Saturday morning, our international bureau chief, Angus MacKenzie, and I woke up not long after dawn and started a one-hour drive toward Goodwood Festival of Speed in a brand-new Mercedes-Benz C220d coupe.
Several miles from the event, we ended up in a long line of standstill traffic, caused by a head-on collision between a car and motorcycle that forced police to close the road; it took us almost an hour to move 2 miles. Luckily our host, Mercedes-AMG, had a fleet of SUVs parked nearby that we could swap into and use to bypass traffic by off-roading across a local farmer’s land. Unfortunately for us, more than 1,000 long-distance runners were doing a 52-mile race that used a sliver of the gravel road that let us toward the off-road trails, so we had to wait for the runners to pass before we could slowly trundle through the surrounding forests.
We ended up getting to Goodwood not long before noon, which is when it started to rain. The soft grass around the earl of March’s estate immediately turned to thick, slippery mud, making it damn near impossible to move between locations. When cars started tiptoeing up the 1.16-mile hill climb, I decided to abandon my plans and surrender to Mercedes’ hospitality suite on edge of the first turn of the race course, which is where I took out my camera and started shooting so I would have something to share from this glorious, gorgeous shitshow.