Keith Beningfield at Shelsley Walsh, 25-26 July 2020

2019 Season Roundup

After my last event at Bo’ness I intended to give an overview of the year, unfortunately that got missed somehow, so here goes.

At the end of the 2019 season I had competed at 10 separate events on 9 different hills together with some social events, altogether probably around 750 miles in total, not a very high mileage I know but certainly stressful ones on the car.

Assuming 2 practise and 2 timed runs, that’s at least forty starts and probably less than 1 hour’s actual track time, set against entry fees that’s nearly £30.00 per minute, you can see why the racers prefer not to compete on the hills! On top of that there are travel, accommodation, and consumables, all to add in, all in all its not a cheap hobby. But don’t let this put you off if you fancy a go, it’s a very rewarding, even if you are only looking to beat your previous times, and the MGCC Speed Championship are a very friendly band of people.

The car

The car was exceptionally reliable last year. The only costs incurred were fuel, a session on the rolling road, a new rev counter and two rear tyres which should last several years. In between events I always check the car over thoroughly, tappets, points, compressions and a couple of times throughout the year I will crack test the halfshafts just to be on the safe side – I have broken one on the start line before now. I do have the luxury of being able to borrow a trailer so travel to and from events is less stressful should anything untoward happen.

There were no radical plans for the winter, the engine stayed in-situ (if it isn’t broke don’t fix it). I do have a spare 1360cc short engine just in case of a mishap. I have a couple of upgrades in the pipeline so watch this space for further reports.

Hillclimbing 2020

Above are my reflections on what I thought was a successful year with the TC and that not a lot needed to be done over the winter. There were a few minor jobs, oil change, re-paint the bonnet and scuttle and move the carburettor from under the bonnet to straight out of the side of the car. All this work was complete by the end of February, all ready for the new season, or so we thought!

Set Back No 1

In their wisdom Motorsport UK decided to move the goalposts and change the definition of classes, which meant the TC which used to fall under the heading cars built between 1947-1961 to: ‘Cars of which the latest major component is of a specification valid between 1 Jan 1947 and 31 Dec 1961′. Unfortunately, a Ford Type 9 Gearbox is a major component and therefore to keep it in the car would in theory move the car to another class, probably in turn requiring more stringent safety requirements eg a HANS device. To continue to claim period exemptions, I therefore decided to put the original TC gearbox back in. The changeover was completed by early March – back to noisy gearbox and notchy gearchanges.

Set Back No 2 Covid

Everything was now proceeding well, events entered, licence applied for and the first event, Doune Hillclimb was planned for the end of May, then on the 23rd March everything stopped, and all motorsport curtailed until 30th June. That left at least three months with nothing to do. The phrase ‘the Devil makes work for idle hands’ springs to mind, apart from the gardening projects etc, perhaps I could use the time to just tinker with the TC a wee bit.

With the demise of the Ford Gearbox and since I still use the car on the road I decided to change the diff ratio from 4.875:1 to 4.44:1. I use a Ford English differential in the TC, a common conversion and its OK with the MSUK as it was introduced with the Ford Anglia in 1959. This would give a slightly higher speed in each gear. Whilst the rear of the car was in pieces I decided to strip the suspension down clean the rose joints, lower the rear springs by another ½ inch (now 11/2” in total) and remove the bottom leaf of the spring to help soften the suspension – another common modification to try and stop the inside wheel lifting when cornering hard. The axle and springs were then bolted together with 8mm socket cap screws.

The same procedure was carried out on the front, all the rose joints were cleaned, ½” lowering blocks added and the axle etc all bolted back together with 8mm socket cap screws. While the front end was dismantled I took the opportunity to crack test the stub axles and steering drop arm. The stub axles had already had new inserts from Bob Grunau fitted some time ago and luckily no cracks were found. That is just about it, although I have changed the pulley ratio on the blower running it about 5% faster so I might get a small amount of extra boost. As I write this at the beginning of July, I have just heard that I have an entry for Shelsley Walsh on the 25th, hopefully a chance to try everything out.

Back to Normal (nearly)

After six weeks of unbroken sunshine during lockdown, the weather forecast for Shelsley Walsh on the 25th July, my first event for 9 months, was not good, rain off and on all day. We unloaded on the Friday night in the dry after paperwork and temperature checks. On the Saturday we arrived back in the warm and dry. It was all a bit different from normal, no signing on, scrutineering or noise checks and no spectators and a restricted number of entries. The MG Speed Championship has now been cancelled for this year, but 3 pre-55 cars had managed to secure an entry – Dave Morris and I in our s/c TCs and Tim Sharp in his s/c PB.

First practice started on time and all was proceeding well until I was just about to approach the start line for my run when the heavens opened, and rain of biblical proportions started. Initially it seemed that I would take my run, so I just had to sit it out but now soaked to the skin. However the course was temporarily closed because of the volume of water and debris on the track. At least I had an umbrella in the car so I just sat it out until the rain eased off. Second practice was on a drying track and both timed runs were uneventful. Dave Morris, who was also competing on the Sunday, should be happy with his new supercharger installation knocking nearly six seconds off his time from the same meeting last year – a great advert for superchargers. I was also happy with my performance whilst I had put the TC gearbox back in and changed the final drive ratio, my best time of 41.46 seconds was not far off the pace considering the weather conditions.

Results from the Saturday are shown below and on Sunday Dave managed an impressive 43.50.

Keith Beningfield

s/c TC


Dave Morris

s/c TC


Tim Sharp

s/c PB


It was good to be back competing again albeit under somewhat strange conditions, and hopefully things will continue to improve. There are a few more events that I could enter this season, but I have decided that I will only do the MGCC Wiscombe meeting in September.

No bacon rolls this year, perhaps next season.