Mike Pickup: “I’m a Dad - it’s a girl”
It’s always entertaining – and informative – to catch up with Mike Pickup, between trips to the ALMS races. He’s on a flight to San Francisco tomorrow morning, for the pair of races at Infineon Raceway and Portland, running the PK Sport Porsche for Peter Boss and Hugh Plumb.

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Lime Rock Park was quite an eventful meeting for the PK Sport team owner though……

“Well, I should have expected trouble when I was at Lime Rock six weeks before Le Mans… and discovered I didn’t have a signal on my ‘phone. Even I had worked out that Caroline was due to give birth to our second baby at about the time of the Lime Rock race. Never mind, I thought, all the rest of the crew have got mobiles, so they’ll have a signal…”

Of course they didn’t…. so at this point, we ought to introduce Frank Kennedy lV. Now Frank’s father, Frank III, is a retired police chief who runs an Irish pub, called Kennedy’s, just around the corner from PK Sport’s base in Budd Lake, New Jersey.

“We’re sharing a workshop with a guy called John Groom,” explains Mike Pickup. “There’s the Irish bar, a 24 hour diner, a laundromat, a Chinese take-away – all within a few hundred years: perfect.

“Anyway, I spread the word via Frank lll that we were looking for another pair of hands. Lo and behold, he came up with his son, Frank lV, who was the chef at the bar – but is now our fuel and tyres man in the ALMS. He does a very good job too.”

And best of all, while at Lime Rock, Frank had a ‘phone that works!

“I was OK when we weren’t at the track though. Our hotel was at Torrington, about 20 miles from the circuit, so while we were there – which was about midnight to midday UK time – Caroline could call me.

“Which she did, at about 10.30 pm on July 4, the Sunday. Caroline said she was fine, and wasn’t expecting any ‘developments’ until I got back on Wednesday. So the plan was an early night, ready for raceday….. half an hour later, I got a call from Dot Masarati, Piers' mum, that the baby was on the way!

“How could I go to bed then? We adjourned to the bar to await further news, and having finally fallen asleep at about 2am, I was awoken at 3.30 with the news that Caroline had given birth to a 7lb 9oz baby girl, and we’ve called her Amy Dorothy Grace Lucas-Pickup – Dorothy after Dot Masarati, and Grace after Frank’s wife at the Irish bar in Budd Lake.

“I didn’t get much sleep after that, but anyway, we all made it to the track, and came away with a seventh in class.” And the black and yellow Porsche was running with a very special windscreen strip for the day. Mike is seen adding the message “Hello Caroline, Joe and now baby Amy” to the top of the strip ("I'm a Dad - it's a girl"). That's Jamie Masarati, Piers' father, looking over Mike's shoulder.

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dailysportscar.comJust like her elder sister Joe (right), Amy is the perfect baby. “She sleeps for five hours, wakes up, has a feed, then goes back to sleep again.”

Two very proud, and very lucky, parents then.

Now, what about the racing, Mike?

“We’ve got the reliability, having had a sixth and then a seventh at the two races recently, but we’re struggling for front end grip.”

Mike Pickup was of course very interested to catch up with all the news from GT racing elsewhere – rumour has it that he isn’t very good at switching a computer on – but remains very happy with where he is.

“We had an entrants’ meeting at Mid-Ohio, and there we all were, looking at Scott Atherton, Doug Robinson, Tim Mayer, John Evenson and Scott Duncan. I thought then how pleased I am to have the series in the hands of these professionals – and I’m still thinking it now.”

So, onto Infineon Raceway – and a ten hour flight to San Francisco first.

 

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