1 Jul 2012

Anthony Reid sets fastest time at Goodwood Festival of Speed

After four days of modern and classic bikes and cars taking a spin up the hill at Goodwood, the Festival of Speed climaxed with a series of timed runs.

Most cars and bikes don't set competition times up the winding 1.16 mile hill.  The track is narrow and run-off areas are tiny.  After all, this isn't a race track for the other 361 days of the year - it's Lord March's driveway.  Most of the cars, and drivers, are just too valuable to take the hill at full chat.  Plus the spectators want to see the vehicles for more than a couple of seconds so donuts, burn-outs and wheelies are the order of the day.

Over the course of the event an eclectic range of 45 cars set timed runs in the hope they would be included in the top 20 shoot-out on Sunday.  Amongst those in the top 20 were a Jaguar XJR 8/9, a Williams Cosworth FW08c and a Nissan GTR GT.  But the car and driver combination to win, with a fastest time of 46.46 seconds and an average speed of 117mph, was a Speedmonkey favourite - Anthony Reid in a Chevron GT3, which he currently races in the British GT championship.

Anthony is one of racing's good guys. Aged twenty his talent was recognised and the Jim Russell Racing School funded a season in Formula Ford.  But it wasn't until he moved to Japan, aged twenty eight, that he could afford to race full time.  In 1990 he drove for Porsche at Le Mans and finished on the podium.  In 1992 he won the Japanese F3 championship, beating Jacques Villeneueve into second place.  In the mid-nineties Anthony moved back to the UK just as the British Touring Car Championship began to enter it's heyday both in terms of popularity and commercial clout.  He became one of the top names and drove for Nissan, Ford and MG.

Many readers will remember the famous Donington race in 1998 when Nigel Mansell joined the grid in a Ford Mondeo.  If not, have a look here.  

That race has gone down in history - hard racing, hard rain, cars spinning and the prospect of Mansell winning - but Anthony nearly won it.   A couple of laps before the end his tyres were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of water on track and he aquaplaned off.

With the demise of MG his full-time touring car career came to and end but he has kept himself busy - racing touring cars in South America and GT cars in europe - he won the British GT championship in 2011 in the Chevron.

But what most people don't know about Anthony Reid is that he did, once, have the opportunity to enter Formula 1.  On the wall of his bathroom at home is a framed letter.  It is from Eddie Jordan - at the time an F1 team owner.  In the letter Eddie offers Anthony a drive in his F1 team - but that he has to bring a budget.  Anthony didn't have the budget and Eddie Irvine got the drive.  C'est la vie