Sammy Davis

Sammy Davis

Sammy Davis

S.C.H. “Sammy Davis” was already a familiar figure at racing circuits and a seasoned driver when he was invited to partner Dudley “Benjy” Benjafield for the 1926 Le Mans race in Bentley No7. Caught out by rain and failing brakes that year he skidded the car into a sandbank. But he more than made up in 1927 when he again partnered Benjy in the same car, which Benjy had meanwhile bought from Bentley Motors and which was now referred to by its two drivers as “old No 7”. The drivers gained the first Bentley Le Mans win in two years and the first of a run of four successive victories.

The win has become legendary in the annals of 1920s motor-racing. Following a multiple pile-up at White House corner which eliminated the other two Bentleys. Sammy saved Old No7 (now No3) from terminal damage by slewing the car sideways into the wreckage of the other cars. Even so, the crash damaged the steering gear, bent the chassis, ripped off a running board and smashed a headlight. But Davis and Benjafield persevered with the damaged car in torrential rain. Old No7 was fourth after the crash but Davis pushed the car up to second and Benjafield then harried the leading Aries until its engine was overtaxed. With typical modesty Benjafield handed over the car to Davis for the final few victory laps.

Sammy Davis went on to many more victories, achieving two BRDC Gold Stars for the outstanding British driver of 1929 and 1930 in international motor races.

The Earl of March and Sammy Davis in the winning Austin Ulster

The Earl of March and Sammy Davis in the winning Austin Ulster