Last year I attended the Festival of Speed on the Saturday and, due to the large crowds, saw very little and was able to photograph even less. So this year I thought I'd be clever and try my luck early on the Friday morning. Wrong again, fewer spectators yes, but where were the Maseratis?
As luck would have it, I faired even worse than last year as there were only four Maseratis present. Sig Matteo Panini had brought along his Tipo 63 rear-engined 'Birdcage' and the Tipo 420M/58 'Eldorado' Indianapolis car, on show yet again was Mr Dean Butler's Tipo 8CTF, and for the first time I got close look at a Tipo 250F T2 with the V-12 engine.
Being early, I decided to visit the trade stands as I had been told by bookseller David Thomas that he would be there and have copies of the new Anthony Pritchard book, 'Maserati: A Racing History'. I went along to his stand, bought my copy and on being offered a chair took the opportunity to take a quick look, not bad at all! It was at that point that I offered to buy David a cup of coffee from one of the nearby catering stands. What a costly mistake that was!! I have already mentioned that there were fewer people around this year and if they suffered the same experience of paying £2 for a cup of undrinkable coffee and £4 for a warmed-up bacon baguette, as I did, then even fewer will turn up next year! Why are motor racing enthusiasts continually being 'ripped-off' by the caterers? The organisers must know what's going on and should do something about it or am I being a little naive!!
Well, now that's off my chest, let's get back to Maseratis. I waited the best part of the day for the wraps to come off the Panini cars but unfortunately there were no signs of activity; they must have been resting after the long journey! I did however get some excellent shots of the V-12 engine of the Tipo 250F T2, so at least my trip was worthwhile.
The Festival is a wonderful event and gives spectators a unique opportunity to get close to some truly wonderful machines, but if your not on a 'Hospitality' package, bring your own food and refreshments!
Let's hope that more Maseratis turn up this event next year. Meanwhile, I'm sure there'll be a good Maserati turnout at the Goodwood Revival meet on the 5th-7th September 2003.