Dr. J. Dudley Benjafield founded the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) in 1928 as a social club for British racing drivers to welcome fellow racers from overseas, and the club’s first event was a 500-mile race at Brooklands in October of 1929. The Benjafields’s Racing Club takes its name from the BRDC founder, and accepts a maximum of 100 members from around the world, all of whom share a passion for vintage Bentleys, racing and for following in the footsteps of the Bentley Boys. The club exists to preserve the ethos and spirit of vintage racing and, to keep a mystique around the club, there is no known way of becoming a member.
Last weekend, November 30, the Benjafield’s Racing Club hosted 27 vintage racecars on the grid of its 2017 Benjafield’s 500 at the formidable Circuito Ascari in Malaga, Spain (above, Jayson Fong photo courtesy of Benjafield’s Racing Club). The 500-mile race is inspired by the Brooklands 500 events that took place from 1929 to 1937. In period it was a handicap event that allowed all manner of cars to enter, with lesser cars facing up to the mighty Bentleys of the time. The Benjafield’s 500 of today follows the same format and thus attracts a diverse grid, including a Talbot team car that actually competed in the original Brooklands 500 in 1931.
Although the spirit of the Club is deeply rooted in fun and friendship, the racing shows that no love is lost when a checkered flag is there for the taking. After eight hours of racing in the Spanish sun victory went to Robert Abrey and Julian Riley in the 6 ½ litre Bentley, with 2nd place going to Martin Overington and Eddie McGuire in the 1929 Bentley Blower and 3rd to Matthew Abrey and Robert Fellowes in the 1925 Bentley 3 4½.
“Benjafield’s 500 is a fantastic re-enactment of a historic race that is as much a social event as it is a race,” said Benjafield’s organizer Chris Lunn. “It’s about people coming together to celebrate an almost 80-year-old legacy, all in the spirit of driving some of the greatest cars ever made.”