Pickup truck racing at Rockingham
Sharing the bill with the ASCAR series at Rockingham were the Pickup trucks. To say the series was supporting ASCAR on the mile and a quarter oval is to do them an injustice. Summing up, regularly fielding larger grids and surviving to date Pickup Truck racing has outlasted the American style stock car series and the Rockingham raceway. Powered by 2 litre engines pickups may lack the grunt of their larger cousins but they more than made up for it with close racing and plenty of drafting.
The Formula was conceived in 1997. With the opening of the 1.48 mile oval at Rockingham a new style of racing evolved which suited the pickups very much. “Rubbing is racing…”
When the ASCAR numbers dwindled, the pickups remained constant. And, they have survived to the present day with a full season of events. Indeed, 2023 saw 20 teams compete in the championship over 24 rounds at 6 circuits. The venues, all well known road circuits, are;
- Brands Hatch
- Mallory Park
- Donnington Park
- Lydden Hill
BriSCA F1 crossovers
With apologies to any stock car/ pickup drivers I’ve missed. A few familiar names feature in both Formulae.
From Liversedge, Graham France raced BriSCA F1 under 216 from 1980 to 1994. This career saw 38 victories including 7 meeting finals. A win in the 1986 World Championship Semi-Final at Hartlepool put Graham on pole for that year’s World Final race. His son Jack equalled that feat in 2023. For the Rockingham meetings covered in the gallery Graham raced car no 88.
Racing BriSCA F1 under various numbers Martin Heath had 1 race win at Hednesford before moving on to participate in the Pickup Truck Racing Championship. Winner of the 2004 Rookie of the year Martin’s car is no 66 in the albums.
The next driver to move from the short oval to participate on the banked oval is Michael Smith. Racing as 393 in BriSCA F1 Mike Smith had 34 race wins of which 5 were meeting finals. The move to the pickup trucks in 1997 was the start of more success for this driver from my native North East – Hartlepool. The pilot of car 93 took the championship title in 2014 & 2015 and is still an active participant on the grid.
Pickup Truck & MASCAR Albums
A couple of albums from meetings held in 2005 on the Rockingham Oval are now included on the gallery. A support series at the August 2005 meeting was the Baby Grand stock car formula. So there’s now a folder covering their race is in the oddball section for the sundry items.