Rookie racer Rebecca Brierley is swapping horses for horsepower as she competes in her first ever hill climb at the wheel of her husband’s treasured 1929 Bentley.
Rebecca, 54, of Honley, is taking part in the Yorkshire Motorsport Festival to be held at Wolfstones next month.
Rebecca’s passion has always been horses and she has competed in shows and now helps her sister, a professional in the equestrian world.
It was only last winter that Rebecca decided to switch from four legs to two wheels – and now she’s gearing up to her first competitive drive.
“I am frantically practising,” said Rebecca. “The car is my husband’s pride and joy so there’s no pressure there then!”
Rebecca’s husband Graham, 52, has owned the four-and-a-half litre Bentley Open Tourer – similar to those which competed at Le Mans in the 1920s and 1930s – for about seven years.
Graham’s left leg was paralysed after a ski-ing accident in Austria in 2004. He’s had the car adapted so he can drive it but because he takes morphine-based painkillers he can’t get a motorsport licence to compete himself.
“As Graham can’t get a licence I thought I would apply and see what happened,” said Rebecca. “We live on a farm so I drive tractors and I had a forklift licence so I’m used to driving different kinds of vehicles.”
Rebecca hasn’t been able to get out in the Bentley as much as she would like due to the late winter weather.
“We had to wait until they stopped gritting the roads,” said Rebecca. “Graham won’t take the car out when there’s salt on the roads.”
Rebecca has had to learn a new style of driving. “You have to double de-clutch on every gear change and rev between down shifts,” she said.
“The pedals are not where you expect them to be. The accelerator is where the brake is and the brake is where the accelerator is so you don’t want to be having to brake suddenly and forget which is which!”
Rebecca added: “All this started because of Graham’s passion and I’ve supported him all the way. I don’t have any great hopes but we are quite a competitive family so I might have to get slightly competitive!
“My main plan is just to bring the Bentley home without any scratches otherwise Graham might be a bit upset.”
Last Wednesday vehicle owners brought rare and vintage cars to the Wolfstones hill-climbing route that will herald the first ever road-closed race to be held in Yorkshire.
With over £250 million of vehicles due to be on display and competing in three days of historic hill climb racing, the festival is bound to be a draw for car enthusiasts and festival-goers alike.
In addition to the array of super cars, hyper cars, vintage and retro cars, stock cars, hot rods, rallies, trucks and tractors, the festival will have several free and paid for attractions including ‘Sheep Theatre’, a superheroes’ stunt show, fun fair, Land Rover Experience, a shopping village and artisan food and drink stands.
Festival CEO Michael McErlain said: “After a slow start due to the Government’s Covid restrictions, plans are now well underway with new features confirmed daily.
“We are thrilled to be on course for a spectacular weekend, the likes of which has never been seen in Yorkshire before.
“This is perfect entertainment for everyone and a great introduction to motorsports and car collections.
“Family fun is just around the corner and since it is an all-outdoor event this is a safe and exciting festival that everyone can enjoy with peace of mind.”
The organisers are still on the look-out for luxury trade stand holders. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.