Rocker Cover Races

Rocker Cover Racing                       By Mike Scroggie      

The Austin Healey Association of Southern California has agreed to conduct the Rocker Cover Racing event at the 2017 Monterey International Healey Week.  We strongly urge all attendees to compete in this event, and this article will tell you how you can.  Please contact me with questions.

What is Rocker Cover Racing?  It is where grown adults (?) relive their soap-box derby childhood hobby, but instead of building and driving the car downhill, they build and race real car valve covers (AKA Rocker Covers) down an incline track.  Both activities involve competition, design & construction skills, creativity and speed.

An example of this event can be seen at:

The AHASC began Rocker Cover Racing as a regular event of California Healey Week in 2011 after member Edwin Neumeyer returned from Australia.  There, he attended a Healey show where the Aussies enthusiastically conducted this event during cocktail hour.  Ed came home with the rules and the winning trophy and the rest is history.  Today, we have fun building, displaying and racing rocker covers each year.  If you Google this topic, you’ll see that several other car clubs across the U.S. do this also.

The rules for Rocker Cover Racing (see attached) govern the building and racing of the cars.  Essentially, the participant only needs to acquire a BMC valve cover and attach wheels. The AHASC has found that the best wheels are made by cannibalizing 3 ½ inch computer hard disks, which we can provide for $5 each.  Old valve covers can be found for under $20.  Thus, a participant can build a rocker racer for under $40.  Many members also creatively decorate the cars by painting, and adding decals and other decorations. Want more information on what is needed? Click here for Video  on a Tech Session for how to build a Rocker Cover Racer for Monterey Healey Week.

At Healey Week, we have two basic activities and awards are offered for both; Best Presentation (i.e., Best of Show) and Fastest Car.  The Best Presentation is where show attendees can vote on their favorite car.  The Fastest Car is the rocker cover racer that wins the single elimination competition on the incline track.

   Before                                                                 After


The Rocker Cover Racers will be released at the top of a ramp, and will then continue along an approximately 20’ to 30’ track. Each race will include two racers at a time. The Rocker Cover Racers can be Austin Healey 4 or 6 cylinder or other BMC Engine Rocker/Valve Covers with wheels attached.

                                          THE FIRST TO PASS THE FINISH LINE WINS!


The Course:

  • The course shall consist of a track approximately between 20’ to 30’ in length.
  • The course will include launch incline followed by a lesser running incline with a catching soft material at the end.
  • The track will be divided into two lanes.
  • The start will be by means of a manually operated release bar.
  • The finish line will be clearly defined by a line on the track.
  • The track is divided down the middle to prevent racers from colliding and has edging to prevent the racers leaving the track.

 The Race:

  • Cars run in heats of two cars, in either one off elimination rounds or in a round robin format subject to the number of entries.
  • The cars are launched with their front against the starting mechanism bar.
  • The race will be started by release bar by an independent operator.
  • The first car across the finishing line will be deemed the winner.
  • If neither car crosses the finish line then the car travelling the farthest on the track will be the winner.
  • Winning cars will advance to the next round until all but the winning racer is eliminated.

The Racer Build Regulations:

  • The car shall be built from either an Austin Healey 4 or 6 cylinder or other BMC engine STEEL rocker/valve cover.
  • No aerodynamic aids can be added to the rocker covers.
  • Oil filler caps shall NOT be removed.
  • The overall height of the original tappet cover must NOT be altered.
  • Stud holes may be used to secure the axle and wheel assemblies.
  • The oil breather tubes on rocker covers MAY be removed.
  • Racers shall have a minimum of 3 wheels with non metallic tires/contact points with the track.
  • The cars shall NOT have any additional power source whatsoever.
  • Dimensions of rocker covers must remain as produced.
  • The diameter of the wheels must not exceed 7 ⅞”.
  • Wheels may be either within or outside the cover.
  • Maximum width of the racer, including wheels is 8 ¼”.
  • Maximum weight of the racer is 6 ⅝ LBS.
  • The front wheels must not extend beyond the front of the cover.
  • No electrical or magnetic devices may be used on the covers

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