As well as being great fun in their own right, ‘vans can be the ideal vehicle for enjoying your hobbies, as motorsport enthusiast Mike Thomas, who uses his campervan to enjoy Brisca Formula 2 stock car racing, proves.

One of the joys of touring will be pitching up at the best motorhome site for getting the most from our hobbies. From choosing a campsite for fishing to a destination that is ideal for walks, the many different sites dotted around the UK and beyond offer wonderful settings for indulging our passions.

Deputy editor Paul Critcher chatted to Mike to find out more about his campervan and how he uses it to enjoy stock car racing.

Tell us a bit about you…

I live in Bridgwater, in the heart of Somerset. I’m a transport manager for KRG Transport, which operates a fleet of 30 crane lorries. I work for a mate, who used to race stock cars.

Tell us about your enthusiasm for stock car racing

I’ve been a keen follower of BriSCA Formula 2 stock car racing for ages.

This is ‘short oval’ racing (run on an oval track that is quarter-mile long or less) and is considered a semi-contact motorsport (self-explanatory!).

Racing takes place between March and November, pretty much every weekend. There are 15 tracks on the UK circuit and five in Holland.

Drivers at Smeatharpe Stadium
Drivers line up at Smeatharpe Stadium near Taunton, Somerset

As a scrutineer, I do safety checks on the cars and make sure they stick to the rules. I first became interested in stock car racing back in the 1990s, when I would watch regular races run at my local track, in Newton Abbott.

That venue (which used to attract thousands of fans) has closed down, but I’m still as keen as ever, and attend races whenever I can.

 Is your partner a fan?

Absolutely! In fact, it was through our shared passion for stock cars that I met Zoe, and she’s now my fiancée.

We’d see each other on the circuit at various venues and it grew from there. She runs a Facebook group (#LOVEF2S) promoting F2 stock car racing.

Tell us about your ’van

I had a VW T5 a few years ago, and then I bought a Sprinter, which had been converted by somebody who used to race and used it as his tow vehicle.

I sold that for £10,000 in 2020 and put the money towards a new van, a 2019 Peugeot Boxer.

Parked up campervan
Mike’s beautiful camper parked in the sunshine

Then I got a stock car friend of mine, who builds race campers, to convert it for me – he did an outstanding job. I designed the ’van to make it the best campervan for me, bought all the bits such as the swivel seat, the ribbed seat in the back, the mattress and the wheel, and he converted it.

As I said, he’s done an amazing job. It’s the only van conversion I’ve found that has a ribbed semi-double bed in the dinette area, and a French bed at the back, all in a 6m-long vehicle!

Why did you choose this particular vehicle?

I had been thinking about upgrading to something that was a bit more modern and reliable, so I had a long chat with another stock car friend of mine, who sells vans for a living.

He told me about a 6m Peugeot van that he had available. I managed to buy it at a very good price and following the conversion, I now have a camper that I could sell on for serious money.

 What are its best features?

It has a French corner bed and a rear washroom. There’s a dinette up front, which converts into a cosy double.

Dinette in campervan
Luxurious living space

It has all mods cons – Truma motorhome heating and hot water, oven and grill, fridge, TV sound bar, solar panel, swivel front seats, awning… the list goes on!

Where do you stay, on campsites or at the track?

We stay at the tracks for the stock car racing, so we’re mostly off-grid in our campervan. However, Raceway Venray, in the Netherlands, has electric hook-up.

Sometimes when we go to Crimond Raceway, in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, we stay at a good site near Tebay, in Cumbria, on the way. But my ’van is very self-sufficient and we can easily do three or four days off-grid.

Where are all of these stock car racing tracks?

Zoe’s Facebook group (#LOVEF2S) has loads of information and the BriSCA website also has lots of details. The tracks are located right across the UK, from Cornwall to Aberdeen, and there are plenty of weekend meets. There are also speed weekends at Skegness Raceway.

Which comes first, the motorhome or F2?

My hobby actually came first, but now we can’t imagine going stock car racing without the campervan. If it rains, we have shelter, and I’m lucky, because I can park in the pit area, so I’m very close if I want to make a cup of tea in the ’van!

Pitched up on site
Awning out and all set up on site

Lots of people travel the country in their campervans following stock car racing. You see the same vehicles at the meetings and it’s very sociable.

What about travelling abroad to watch races?

There are several race tracks in the Netherlands, but I’ve only been to Venray. This is the biggest, and the World Cup is held there every year.

Gordon Moodie at Odsal Stadium
Current World Champion Gordon Moodie in the pits at Bradford’s Odsal Stadium

Nutts Corner Circuit, in Crumlin, Northern Ireland, is another track that hosts a fantastic weekend – we had our World Final there this year.

How do you find the time?

It’s a massive passion – we call it our stock car racing family! We self-finance our hobby; it’s not cheap, but we love it. We travel about 12,000 miles a year and we love the camper lifestyle.

It’s an amazing way to spend time and we’ve met many friends through racing. We’re getting married soon and most of the wedding guests are people we’ve met through stock car racing.

What’s next for you?

We’re thinking about upgrading to a coachbuilt. We do a lot of mileage, so perhaps it’s time to move on and upgrade to something bigger – I like the look of the Chausson 640.

Take a look at what our technical expert, Diamond Dave, has to say about the pros and cons of lithium-based batteries.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Motorhome magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things motorhome related.