Sharlie Goddard is one of the remarkable ladies, active in the current competition scene with Morgans. In this men dominated sport that’s quite a feat. Let’s listen to her own story how this all came about. She really carried the “virus” in her genes, as her grandfather Captain LGA Thomas was successful in the early 1930s. He won a Triple Award back in 1932, in his C-type MG, while her father raced a Jaguar XK 120 in Macau in 1954. She has quite a few –interesting- tales to tell.I first fell for Morgan’s in about 1980 when a friend of mine took me round a show room in London one wet autumn afternoon. He was looking to buy one. I was an impoverished student but muttered something about “I will own one one day.” Who would have thought that 30 years later I would be racing a Morgan. My first Morgan was a 4/4 3.5 CVH 4 seater 1.6 litre 1981 shiny black model which I loved. I remember one outing well. The Children had spent many hours making pumpkin animals for the local competition, being held at a friend’s new farm shop and being judged by the Celebrity Chef Antony Worrall Thompson. It was a clear cold October afternoon and we set off, the children snuggled up in blankets, hats gloves etc. clutching the pumpkins on their laps. After about half a mile the moaning started up “we’re cold”.... I really thought I knew the way to the new shop but we ended up exploring and a journey that should have taken 20 minutes ended up being 40 .I was lovely and warm snuggled in the driver’s seat ,as was my youngest but the two girls had turned blue and horror we missed the competition. Mr Worrall Thompson was kind enough to say had we been there on time their pumpkin animals would have swept the board. I thought the afternoon was a great adventure sadly the children refused to go in the 4/4 back seat again. I should say that it was -3C, as I found out later.
My racing career started in 2004 Years ago when my husband (Philip) moved from the V8 3.5 Class D Morgan to the V8 4liter class C Morgan. His class D was just sitting in the garage so I took it out for a spin. When I was filling it up at a petrol station a chap started talking to me saying what a nice car and noting the race stickers etc asked if I raced it. Well I knew he would be disappointed if I said “No, It’s my Husbands car” so I lied and said I did .He drove off happy but I was not please with myself and realized I must take my ARDS test.
About three week after the petrol station incident I found myself at Silverstone having never been on a race track before surrounded by men who had all obviously done a few Track Days. I went out on the track in an Audi TT which was great fun and for twenty minutes I drove round thinking I was doing quite well., but when we came in and I asked the instructor how I had done he said “ it was fine if I was Parker”, the cheek! Anyway I didn’t have much time to think about things as next we were all put in formula 4s which were loaded to either over steer or under steer. I thought the idea was to go though the markers as fast as possible without spinning, no. They wanted you to spin so you could get the feel of it. Once I discovered that I was spinning all over the place. I think we had lunch next and the only chap who would speak to me as we munched our sandwiches was a marvellous old boy who was taking the test so he could race his Bentley.
After lunch we were out on the track for 40minutes some of which the instructor would carry on teaching you, but then he would stop talking and your test would start. During my test it started to rain and three people span on the track in front of me. To spin during your test is an automatic fail. I kept to the black stuff and even managed to overtake a couple of people. When we pulled into the pit lane my lovely instructor said the magic words “I am please to tell you, you have passed.” Then it was just the written test to get though which was relatively straight forward. I drove home from Silverstone with wings on my wheels, exhausted but really happy.
The Class D car at Mallory Park
I should say that my first race was at Oulton Park. I spent the day before testing proudly going round incredibly slowly yet still managing to spin about three times. I was truly amazed at the speed the others were going though the corners and began to wonder if I had bitten off more than I could chew. It took three races to overtake another Morgan and I won my class (D) on my 6th race. Since then I have moved up from Class D to class C in2007 when Philip got me AEL who I really enjoyed racing but I got over excited at Cadwell Park and span at Charlie’s two collected another car on the way and we both ended up in the tire wall. The chassis was bent and the car a mess but it straightened first time and I was back on the track two months later. However in 2008 I had a bad crash at Brands Hatch. I was testing the day before the race with Philip and I was within .5 of the lap record and had decided to call it a day when Philip asked if I would try some other tires that had been in the barn for a bit and if they were okay I could race with them on the Saturday then use my good ones for the Morgan race on the Sunday. Well they were no good and although I had warmed them up for three lap’s the rubber had glazed or something and to this day I have no idea what happened but coming into Paddock hill the car swapped direction and I went into the Armco sideways which for those of you who don’t know Brands, is mounted on a concrete wall. It hurt. It hurt the car and it hurt me. I didn’t race again in 2008.
However Philip won the Morgan Championship in his class C car in 2007 and had moved up to class B for 2008 so it made sense to sell AEL as she was and keep Philips Championship car TLJ which is what we did. We sent TLJ engine off for some TLC and had her re sprayed Bright green.
Sweet Pea going over the mountain at Cadwell Park
I have been racing her since then. I did 5 Championship races in 2009 where my best results were third in class and I also did the Birkett at Silverstone plus some races with the Thoroughbred sports car club. In 2010 I did 6 Championship races of which 3 were DNFs and one a win. I also did a few races with the Thoroughbreds. Then in 2011 TLJ now call Sweet Pea, stared to behave badly. My first race was at Brands Hatch with the thoroughbreds and when I was about to dust out the brakes after qualification I noticed a drip coming from the petrol tank. So I had to retire. There was a Morgan race the next day at Snetterton I knew I wouldn’t be racing Sweet Pea but we did have another Morgan which we had bought as an immaculate road car and it had over about a year and a half been converted into an HSCC FIA race car it is a 1970 3.5 litre Moss gear box.
NIB 202 in action on Snetterton 300
So I decided to have a race in her. Well how different could it be? Very! The 3.5 engine goes just as fast as the 3999 but with the disadvantage of one pot brakes on the front instead of the two I am used to, also I couldn’t get her into second gear no matter how high I revved the engine on the way down ( I do Heel and toe)so it was going to be an interesting race!
There was added excitement as it was our first race on the new Snetterton 300 track with lots more bend to deal with. I made the decision that I would only use third and fourth gears as I would without doubt kill the moss box otherwise.
I qualified at the back of the grid but worked my way up to 19th out of 28 and got driver of the day also got a cup as I was the only car in the Historic group.
Sweet Pea was ready with her temporary tank for the next three races and the new tank went in for the fourth race at Silverstone MG Live.
I went testing the day before and found that Sweet Pea wasn’t going very well .We( our Mechanics’ and I) thought it must be a fuel intake problem so I put Sweet Pea back on the trailer and took her to the mechanics at Techniques about 1 1/3 hours away they worked there socks off and by the end of the day she had another fuel pump on her new fuel tank. That should do the trick. Sadly it didn’t and as I was Qualifying Sweet Pea gradually go slower and slower until I had to retire as I was becoming dangerously slow. What a shame .Never mind I would go home and get the Moss box. So Sweet Pea went on the trailer home .
I decided to drive the Moss box back to Silverstone so I could get a little more time behind the wheel of it and maybe find second gear without crunching it. I had a terrific drive no crunching and got back to Silverstone at about 10pm to be greeted by cheers of my fellow drivers. However the gremlins were still out to get me and the Moss boxes cut off switch wouldn’t work everyone had a go at fixing it but it wasn’t to be so I didn’t make the starting grid. What a week end I was having. I also forgot to say that my wallet had been stolen on the Friday night from the car at Silverstone when I was unloading the tires from the back of the car.
Then the most amazing thing happened at prize giving, they announced there was a special prize for the fastest lap by ....a lady over the MG live weekend and rather amazingly I won it during my qualification laps for the thoroughbred race. The Windmill Trophy for the fastest lap by a lady.
I did three more races and was second in all of them. I also lent sweet Pea for the celebrity race at Silverstone Classic. Jo Wood was my driver but sadly didn’t make it onto the grid as her ARDS licence didn’t arrived in time for her to sign on. I did have fun taking her round The Stowe circuit and she had a go at driving Sweet Pea, just didn’t get into the race.
At the driver meeting and annual dinner for the Aero Morgan racing Championship I won the TMT Memoral Trophy!!. It is awarded to the person who has displayed the “True Spirit of Morgan Racing” and rather uniquely among trophies you are voted for by your fellow drivers. I was struck completely dumb. What an honour. A memory I will treasure until my dying day.
Racing in 2012 has been an amazing year for me. Sweet Pea has run brilliantly and other than a gear box problem after the celebrity race this year .I couldn’t have had a more reliable car. We had 11 races with one being in Assen Holland , normally we have ten races but as not everyone would be able to make it to Holland it was felt we would have 11 race of which the best 8 would count towards the Championship.
I had my best year ever with 8 wins 6 fastest laps and I set one new class record at Silverstone Historic GP.If you would like to read in detail about each race( I haven’t done them all yet) then please have a look at my blog:sharliev8racing.blogspot.com
Celebrity Race Sliverstone Classic 2012
I spent the day at Silverstone looking after Celebrities. I had to have my picture taken with Sir Patrick Stewart although he didn’t actually drive my car. My Celebrity was Tony Hirst who is well known of Coronation Street . What a brilliant bloke. Tony is really good fun and a natural racing driver. He qualified second on the grid behind Kelvin Fletcher who is in Emmerdale and races a Mini .Tony had never been in a race before but as I say in a natural he drove Sweet pea really well and although he was holding onto his second spot, he unfortunately span and so came in fourth. He wasn’t very pleased with himself! I thought he drove magnificently and I was extremely pleased to get Sweet Pea back in one piece.
Not strictly a Morgan-race, but certainly en evnt with a Morgan connection is the race at St. Moritz, coupled with the Cresta Run. Sharlie brought Sweet Pea over in 2012 to participate in this. She had illustre Morgan predecessors in this event, as Charles Morgan and his first wife Vivien also appeared there years ago in the former works +8 BUY 600 M, which is now in Norway.
Sharlie enjoyed herself immensely, not only in the Morgan!