Keith Beningfield at the Harewood Classic and Vintage, June 2019

Keith at Harewood

A week after Prescott and I am at Harewood in Yorkshire, home of the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC) at the annual Classic and Vintage Meeting.

This event is primarily a VSCC meeting with extra classes added for Classic Cars. This was not a round of the MG Speed Championship, but I always try for an entry because of the eclectic mix of cars, great hill to compete and spectate on, plus its close to home. The total entry was 150 cars of which 120 were Pre-War competitors, including 9 pre-1955 MGs.

Harewood Hillclimb is the longest speed hill climb course in mainland UK. The venue offers unrivalled spectator views of the high-speed motorsport action set against a backdrop of the beautiful Wharfedale valley overlooking the challenging 1440 metre track, with the latest single seater racing cars reaching speeds of 130 mph.

I was in a class of eleven, (Classic Sports Cars built up to 1972) which included 7 Sprites/Midgets, MGB, Mini Gem and an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint. Looking at the list of entrants I thought the TC was in for a hiding. My best time at Harewood was 72.69 set in 2009. The class record set in 2008 was 67.11 by a Lotus 7 S2.

First practise was uneventful, just a case of relearning the track after a years break and gauging the grip of the tyres. Whist the weather forecast for the day was good, second practice was conducted in the wet after a short shower so no heroics. By the time for first timed runs the track was completely dry and warm and I posted a time of 72.48 and in third place behind a Lenham and Sebring Sprite, and bettering my previous personal best. Second timed runs, and the track is still good condition and I manage to knock another half second of my previous time with a 71.94 and I am in joint third place with a 1460cc AH Sprite driven by Steve Muir an old adversary from the Bo’ness Revival.

Surprise surprise, we are to get a third run to count, but by this time some people have already gone home so it goes quite quickly – not the car though as I can only manage 72.42, perhaps I was trying too hard and got fourth place out of eleven. The class winning time of 68.05 was posted by the Lenham Sprite.

For interest, shown below are the fastest times posted by the pre 55 MG’s.

Driver Car Engine Best Time
Frank Ashley MG M Type 847cc 101.38
Andrew Harrington MG J2  847cc 104.89
Tim Sharp MG PB  939cc S/C 88.66
Maurice Gleeson MG L2  1480cc S/C 88.35
Andrew Briggs MG L2  1480cc S/C 87.84
Steven McEvoy MG F1  1271cc S/C 85.48
Roger Tushingham MG N Special 1500cc S/C 77.77
Michael Barber MG PB Monoposto 970cc S/C 104.38
Keith Beningfield MG TC 1387cc S/C 71.94

Another successful day Hill Climbing with a second personal best after 10 years, the TC almost running faultlessly, it seems reluctant to start sometimes, electrical problems I believe, hopefully to be sorted before the next meeting.

The bacon roll quest continues but Prescott is still out front – a rasher ahead of the competition. The next event will be Barbon Manor at Kirkby Lonsdale on the 6th July.