Dudley Benjafield, whose informal dinner parties in the mid 1920s led to the formation of the British Racing Drivers Club during the same period as the Bentley Boys era. He was host of these gatherings at his Wimpole Street home which drew together a nucleus of dedicated enthusiasts and drivers who would form the club in 1927.
Joseph Dudley Benjafield, MD was born on 6 August 1887, in Edmonton, London, UK. He attended the University of London and received his MD from University College Hospital in 1912. Specialising in bacteriology, he served in Egypt during World War I and later used his expertise combating the great flu epidemic of 1918-1919.
Benjafield had a passion for motorsports which started with boating, but moved on to automobiles in the 1920s, following the accidental destruction of his beloved motor launch. Upon purchasing a Bentley 3 litre, he started racing in 1924 and 1925.
Benjafield’s success led to him being to be offered to drive a company racer at the behest of Bentley founder W.O. Bentley. He competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans seven times, and won the event in 1927 with co-driver and fellow “Bentley Boy” S.C.H “Sammy” Davis; while their car was badly damaged, they frantically returned to the pits and made on-the-spot repairs which meant they wound up winning the race.
Benjafield later created the British Racing Drivers’ Club, and continued racing until 1936. He died in 1957.