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Gordon Spice Trophy 2023

With the iconic 70s/80s touring car battle returning to the Goodwood Members Meeting, now under a different name, Fred Shepherd once again attempted to replicate his surprise win at the 2020 running of the event. The 1970 Boss 302 Mustang had seen a busy development schedule in preparation for the race, which this year was operating in a heat-based style.

Qualifying was largely a waste of time in the end, as a string of red flags meant that the surviving cars were only judged on the one flying lap they managed in the session. Having found traffic in his, Fred lined up on the third row of the grid for the heat race.

Fred Shephers lides his Mustang Boss 302 through the chichane at Goodwood
The Boss 302 sliding through the Goodwood chichane.

In the qualifying heat race, what Fred really needed was a good start to try and cut through to the front as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, however, the young driver got quite the opposite, the car jumping out of gear off the line and the entire pack streaming past.

So, for the second time in the two times the event has run an eliminator qualification heat, Fred found himself cutting through the pack of Ford Capris, Chevrolet Camaros and Rover SD1s in a mad dash to make the 'top 15' that make it through to the final race. Following a consistent and determined drive, the Boss crossed the line in a very respectable 8th place, overtaking 20 cars in the 20 minute race.

24 hours later, Fred once again lined up, now starting from 15th place (having finished the faster 8th place of the two heats). This time the Boss got off the line as planned, and on an oily track started to make headway towards the front of the pack. Before too long, Fred scythed the Mustang past Nick Swift's pocket rocket 1275 GT Mini into fourth place, but with a 15+ second gap to 3rd place a podium looked off the cards.

However, with 5 minutes left on the clock, another spanner flew into the works in the form of a red flag stoppage for Mark Wilson's MK1 golf that had ended up on it's side at Woodcote corner. Running as the last race of the day, and with the light holding, Goodwood officials decided to restart the race in the form of a 4 lap sprint, and according to Goodwood regulation, another standing start.

Fred Shepherd's Mustang leads Rob Huff and Olly Bryant's Camaro
Fred leading the pack out of the final corner

Now lining up in fourth position, on the inside of the second row, Fred got a great restart, pulling past the wheel-spinning Chevrolet Camaro of Oliver Bryant and nibbling at the bumper of the similar car of Jack Tetley. From this point, the order would remain a stalemate, until on the final lap the two Camaros of Tetley and Rob Huff would out-brake each other at Woodcote. Fred managed to slip down the inside of a rejoining Huff, while Tetley found himself worst off, bashing the barrier, and in some bizarre, unlikely manner, the Camaro lethargically turning turtle.

Against all odds, it looked like Fred and the Boss, who had been last at the first corner of the qualification heat had won the final standings at the very knockings. Yet fortune was found elsewhere, when instead of waving the chequered flag that had been prepared to be waved at the gantry, the red flag was instead shown at the finishing line. Despite Fred having completed the full race distance, the timekeepers decided that the order should be rolled back a lap in accordance with red flag ruling, and Fred was demoted to second place behind the Camaro of Rob Huff.

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