Glory Days of Motorsports Revived at Goodwood
In terms of participating Japanese manufacturers, along with Honda and Toyota, Mazda was acting as the third host brand for this year’s Goodwood. Taking part in the annual Hill Climb was the Mazda 787B, having been brought in from the Hiroshima Mazda Museum, along with the Mazda 787, the Mazda RX-792P, and the Mazda RX-7 GTO from Mazda USA. In addition, machines from numerous private owners were added to the lineup. Senji Hoshino, who runs a maintenance garage in Gunma Prefecture, brought over his #202 Mazda 767B, while the #203 767B (now wearing the number #77) was brought over by its current owner, German collector, Mr Werner, who received it from a former Japanese owner and had it shipped through South Africa. Unfortunately, Mr Werner’s machine experienced an engine failure and would be out for display only. In addition, a #202 Mazda 757, which was recently acquired by a Swiss collector and had its restoration completed only just the other day, did not fire up its engine and was also only out for show. On the hand, 1981’s 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps overall winner, the Mazda RX-7 (SA22C) of British enthusiast, Kevin Doyle, had been painstakingly maintained and its 2-rotor engine was in top shape to drive in the 12A race. On top of this was the 10A engine equipped Chevron B16 (first RE vehicle to appear in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970) from Switzerland, however, it was not to have a chance to run at this year’s event. From America we also had the 20B spec 3-rotor engine mounted IMSA GTP light machine.
You could say that not only the vehicles, but also the people driving them, were a very special bunch. From Mazda UK, Mark Ticehurst drove the Mazda 787B in the same event in 2011. In addition, former Belgian Mazda contract driver, Pierre Dieudonné was brought out, while, for the three Mazda USA cars, were company executives, Robert Davis, Weldon Munsey, and Jeremy Barnes. Although he would be unable to drive due to being too busy working as a commentator for a TV program, Johnny Herbert, who led the Mazda 787B to victory, was also at the venue. With such a nostalgic lineup, all those present were clearly enjoying the opportunity to meet once again, and walking amongst them was one old gentleman who visited the Mazda garage. It was none other than Clive Baker, who drove the Mazda R100 Rotary Coupe in the 1970 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Mr Baker related, “This brings back so many memories. The performance of the Mazda Rotary at Spa attracted a great deal of attention. The Chevron B16 that competed in that year’s Le Mans was scheduled to take part in a number of other European races and I was slated as a driver but unfortunately that plan fell through.”
The five superb 4-rotor machines were set to serve as the highlight of the hill climb but in the first session held on the 26th, Hoshino’s Mazda 767B went off track at the straight end. He was stopped when he ran into the straw crash pads, but this damaged the body panels and unfortunately it would be unable to run in any following sessions. Hoshino went on to say, “As this was my first time driving here, I failed to adapt to the course, which was narrower than I was expecting, and went off track. Myself, I’ve only got a few minor scratches and bruises. Really sorry to have caused any worry.”
Photo by MZRacing