Fun in the Sun on the Stubble
…And almost as quickly as it began, 2019 and the special Bentley centenary year is coming to a close, and it would surely take something quite extraordinary to be firmly etched as a highlight in the yearbook.
Enter the Benjafields Racing Club’s 2019 Stubble Racing World Championship. Whereas the Benjafields 100 earlier in the year had captured the spirit of the Bentley Boys’ on track antics, it would only be a true celebration of Bentley if the Club also captured the spirit of the Bentley Boys’ off-track exploits.
While some owners might drop their jaws in disbelief at the idea of taking anything with the flying B on its bonnet off road, some are willing to step up to the challenge. With a solid line of 37 vintage cars waiting in anticipation for the event start on a stubble field in the middle of Norfolk, it was evident that there were a number of drivers brave enough to venture beyond the usual scenic routes.
As the cars eagerly waited in line, a deep thrum in the distance became louder and louder, finally becoming recognizable as the famous sound of a Spitfire. While our friend Ratz the pilot made a series of low passes, the line was finally set loose with a cloud of crop dust silhouetting them against the horizon.
Highlights included the stubble acre race which saw two cars go head to head in a sprint across fields with lots of close calls and bumpy chassis twisting action.
Leaving side by side, they split with one car taking the high road and one taking the low road before both roads dramatically joined for the final and intense run up the hill. Further along in the route book, a warning for the ‘Water Splash’ brought many confident smirks – however, they were quickly washed off when they were welcomed by a slurry of mud and water in their cabins.
From maize field mazes that resulted in many lost navigators to autocross style routes between farm buildings and machinery, irregular regularities, dusty off-road dashes across mustard fields and tractor racing to top it off, it was a day that never stopped delivering on surprises and gave countless moments that mixed laughter with disbelief.
As the day drew to a close and the evening was just beginning, a sculpture of W.O. Bentley at the entrance to the dining tent looked on as Benjafields Club members enthusiastically shared tales from day’s journey. With pints placed around him and the slightest hint of a smile, it was certain that 2019’s Stubble Racing was a very memorable way to celebrate a century of Bentley. An absurd off-road race with vintage Bentleys paired with a party? Surely that would make the original Bentley Boys proud.