History of the Club
Benjafield’s Racing Club (BRC) was the brainchild of a small coterie of Vintage Bentley racing enthusiasts, headed by wonderful former fighter pilot Vaughan Davis. Following cessation of WW11 hostilities Vaughan had been instrumental in helping to restart the Bentley Drivers’ Club.
Encouraged by Vintage Bentley expert Stanley Mann, Benjafield’s Racing Club was constituted in 1990 to replicate the days of the of the great Bentley Boys racing team, whose antics both in and out of their cars became legend.
– – – On 26 April 1992 at Millbrook High Speed Circuit, as a member of Benjafield’s Racing Club’s Record Team, HRH Prince Michael of Kent (pictured sat in car, with Vaughan Davis and Stanley Mann looking on) set a new record for the UK Class ‘B’ standing start 1000 miles record – – –
Taking part is more important than victory, where one’s fellow traveller always takes priority and the journey is fun. The Club’s motto is “To help preserve the spirit of camaraderie and sportsmanship which inspired J.D.Benjafield and the great racing team for which he drove”.
Benjafield’s is dedicated to all forms of competitive motorsport. There is naturally a substantial leaning towards the marques of car that Dr Benjafield raced in period, particularly Bentley, but members compete in every marque from earliest to contemporary, spanning some 120 years.
Club membership is limited, and by invitation only.
Commencing with a sprint meeting at Cornbury Park, relaxing in a quiet English Country Estate with a 1920s feel organised so ably by Vaughan and Jane Davis, BRC has gone on from strength to strength. In the early days, ably assisted by, amongst others, Benjafield’s Royal Patron, HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO, Stanley created long distance speed records at Millbrook, some of which stand to this day.
– – – Top Trophy for HRH Prince Michael of Kent – – –
A significant trophy donated by one of our club’s members Rivers Fletcher, entitled ‘The Rivers Fletcher Bugatti Trophy’ to be awarded for a deed of special merit in motorsport. The first recipient was HRH Prince Michael of Kent marking the occasion in motor racing history thar a member of the British Royal Family had driven in a speed record attempt – UK Class ‘B’ standing start 1000 miles record at 104.49 mph in the Bentley Jackson Special ‘Mother Gun’. The presentation took place on Wednesday 25 January 1994 at the RAC Club, London with Club members, Stanley Mann, Rivers Fletcher, Phil Greenwood, Vaughan Davis and, taking the photo, Tony Moy.
– – – Our Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent drives the Chairman, Philip Strickland’s 3 Litre to the Benjafield’s Racing Club’s 2004 RAC Dinner narrowly missing Brian Cook’s Arnage! – – –
Competing worldwide, from racing in the Antipodes, South Africa, USA, pan-Europe, to rallying from Peking to Paris, in South America, Russia and India, to record attempting at Bonneville, Benjafield’s members are constantly there in the vanguard, waving the BRC flag.
– – – John May with his Bentley Speed Six at speed at Brookland’s Action Day, May 1995, Millbrook featuring on the front cover of our Benjafield’s Racing Club Journal – – –
– – – Benjafield’s Racing Club Member, Graham Moss, breaks Ten records in the hour – Thunderbolt’s 27 litres, fired up for a few warm up laps at 5.00am at Millbrook, 2nd August 2003 and then at 6.00am the flag drops achieving 130mph per lap – – –
– – – Cornbury Park Programme Cover for Benjafield’s Racing Club’s Vaughan Davis Sprint, Saturday 21st May 2005 showing Adam and Jill Singer – other Club members in the background and Stanley Mann in the foreground. – – –
Tiny that it is, the Club’s raison d’etre is to make things happen which normally cannot. The Benjafield’s 24 at Portimao in Portugal, inspired by the Le Mans 24 Hour race, was the first 24 hour event for vintage cars since 1939 – for that, Benjafield’s Racing Club was voted Club of the Year at the International Historic Motoring Awards in 2015. Then there was the Benjafield’s 100 at Silverstone, with a real Le Mans-format start not seen in the UK since 1964. Benjafield’s has hosted unique sprints at Goodwood; organised stubble racing in Norfolk (believed to be the first in 40 years); participated at Le Mans Classic in the original Bentley Boys’ style by driving from the UK to the circuit, racing and then driving back to a party in Berkeley Square; taken over Leeds Castle, the family home of Birkin sponsor Dorothy Paget, for dinner; recreated, after 90 years – the 1927 Le Mans Bentley victory celebration dinner at the Savoy, including the same nine course menu; the Benjafield’s 500, inspired by the Brooklands 500 race series from 1929 through to 1937, at the Circuito Ascari in Spain; private dining in the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace; the list goes on.
In September 2020 the Benjafield’s Double Twelve race at the Goodwood Motor Circuit celebrated the spirit of the original Brookland’s Double Twelve races and particularly the 1930 win for Woolf Barnato and Frank Clement in their Speed Six, followed in second place by Sammy Davis and Jack Dunfee. This was the first ever private race meeting at Goodwood.
As always, each event is made memorable by its participants, each person in the Club is part of everyone else’s experience and in the spirt of the Benjafield’s Racing Club the purpose of joining in is to enjoy the camaraderie, not solely to win…