Bolster Cup for vintage ‘specials’ to join 76th Members’ Meeting race roster

15th November 2017
Henry Hope-Frost

An exciting new race for vintage-inspired ‘specials’ will join the bill at the 76th Members’ Meeting at the Goodwood Motor Circuit on March 17-18.


The Bolster Cup, named after Autosport Magazine’s founding technical editor John Bolster, will cater for a unique and eclectic mix of home-built cars inspired by the machines that competed at Worcestershire’s legendary Shelsley Walsh hillclimb and the Surrey speedbowl at Brooklands during the 1920s and ’30s.  

Bolster, who died in 1984, was one of the pioneers of ‘specials’. He made his name before the war with the super-spindly, super-light and super-quick ‘Bloody Mary’, a wooden-framed, JAP motorcycle-engined, chain-driven creation that he shared with brother Richard. After the war ‘Bloody Mary’ reappeared, although by then Bolster was racing more exotic machinery. He suffered a huge accident in the ex-Prince Bira ERA R5B ‘Remus’ during the 1949 British Grand Prix at Silverstone and it was while recuperating that he hatched a plan with Gregor Grant to publish Autosport every week. He went on to test and review road and racing cars for many years.

Coincidentally, nearly 50 years after Bolster’s infamous crash, R5B won the opening race at Goodwood’s inaugural 1998 Revival Meeting with then-custodian Ludovic Lindsay at the wheel.

A grid of 30 cars of all shapes and sizes, reflecting the extraordinary creativity of their engineers, will do battle in the Bolster Cup around the fast sweeps of the 2.4-mile Motor Circuit on race day – Sunday March 18th. The grid will include a radial-engined Morgan, a 12-litre V8 Hispano Suiza Amilcar, a thundering Delage powered by a 27-litre V12 Hispano engine, a giant-killing supercharged Austin 7 and an amazing array of GN, Frazer Nash and Bentley specials.


Also returning to Goodwood will be the Richard Bolster Special. The Frazer Nash-based racer took part in the Earl Howe Trophy for pre-1935 cars at the 73rd Members’ Meeting in 2015, and will again be driven by Paul Baker.

Period cars and those built post-war but with authentic pre-war parts will race alongside each other. Many of the cars that compete regularly in Vintage Sports-Car Club races, hillclimbs and speed events appear on the provisional entry list. With such variety, the race is sure to become part of Members’ Meeting folklore when its name appears alongside the events of the previous four, modern-day retrospectives designed to recreate a flavour of period Goodwood club meetings.

And comparisons with the two brilliant S.F Edge Trophies for Edwardian Specials built before 1923 – run in 2016 and ’17 – are inevitable. The diversity and spectacle offered by the indecently quick veterans made the races hugely popular among Goodwood regulars and first-timers. Expect more of the same among the Bolster Cup field next spring!

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  • Bolster Cup

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