The Meccano Society of Scotland

The Baked Bean Drag Race

Menstrie Challenge 2024


The Menstrie Challenge for May 2024 is to build a machine from standard and/or compatible Meccano parts that is able to transport a can of Heinz Baked Beans across the Menstrie Scout Hall floor in the shortest possible time over a distance of 25 feet. The Challenge has two different classes: the “Trophy” class; and the “Open” class. The “Open” class is an “anything goes” category, including the use of an electric motor, whereas the “Trophy class” is restricted to a single Meccano clockwork motor as the prime mover. Both classes will have 1st, 2nd & 3rd places awarded but only the winner of the Trophy class will be presented with the Menstrie Cup. The winner of the Open class will receive the least damaged can of beans. Reflecting the power of different Meccano motors made over the years, the Trophy class is subdivided into two categories: entries using a “Magic” motor; and any other genuine Meccano or Marklin clockwork motor. The “Magic” category requires the transportation of a half tin of beans (200g) whereas any other motor will carry a full tin of beans (415g). The “open” class is intended for anyone who wants to enter a machine of pretty much any construction providing it complies with the rules set out below. Entrants in this class will be required to carry a full tin of beans..

The competition will be conducted in a series heats, the composition of which will be decided on the day according to the number of entries made. The start and finish lines will be clearly marked on the Scout Hut floor. For each heat there will be two runs: a practice run, followed by the competition run. The winner of the heat will be the first machine to carry its tin of beans across the Finish Line during the competition run.


  1. Entry in the Trophy Class requires the use of a single Meccano or Marklin clockwork motor.
  2. Entry in the Open Class is limited to machines using one of the following means of propulsion:
    a. A single electric motor (including any remote control motor or chassis with motor & control);
    b. Multiple clockwork motors of any type (including the Meccano “pull back” motors);
    c. Hybrids with a single electric and one or more clockwork motors.
  3. Battery voltage may not exceed 13V. Machines that catch fire or smoke badly will be put outside the hut.
  4. Use of extra means of propulsion (e.g., spring-loaded launchers, pre-spun flywheels, etc.) is prohibited.
  5. Use of floor contact friction enhancement - sticky or spiked wheels for instance – is prohibited.
  6. The machine must be stationary at the start line as the heat commences. Rolling starts are not allowed.
  7. The machine’s operator cannot adjust the machine once it is in motion, except by remote control.
  8. Machine settings (e.g., gear ratios, steering settings, etc.) may be adjusted between each heat run.
  9. The motor(s) and any batteries used must be carried on the vehicle. Braking cords can be trailed behind.
  10. Motors and/or batteries may be re-wound, re-charged or extinguished between runs or heats as required.
  11. The machine’s height, width or length should not exceed 25 holes (12 ½”). There is no weight restriction.
  12. The machine should be mostly assembled from Meccano or Meccano compatible parts.
  13. No part of the machine may extend over the Start Line before the heat starts.
  14. The machine will be deemed to have reached the Finish Line when the tin of beans crosses it.
  15. A machine that crosses the Finish Line without its beans or most of its parts during the competition run will fail the heat. If all the machines in the run fail to finish, the run will be re-run.
  16. Machines which become inoperable during a practice run in a heat may be withdrawn and, if successfully returned to working order, may be entered into the competition run for that heat.
  17. The maximum duration for a practice or competition run is 1 minute.
  18. To avoid damaging anything or anyone in their path, fast machines should brake after course completion.
  19. Cosmetic bean can damage is allowed but spilling the beans will result in disqualification.
  20. A machine that damages any Scout Hut fixtures and fittings will be disqualified.
  21. Tins of beans to be used in the heats will be provided.
  22. Entrants may enter more than one machine.
  23. Proxy entrants are welcome.
  24. To aid marshals, can-retrievers and reporters writing up the event, the entrant’s (or the machine’s) name must be prominently displayed (e.g., a sticky label). Naming your machine is encouraged.
  25. Practice sessions using the Scout Hall Floor will be allowed until the competition commences.
  26. The Secretary will arbitrate on any disputes.
  27. In the unlikely event of a draw between any machines in a heat, the weight of beans will be doubled and the heat re-run.
  28. The Class winner will be the machine that wins the class’ final heat. In the event of a draw between 2 or more machines built by the same entrant in the final heat, further heats will not be required.