Banks Engineering Challenges SPAL USA's Claim to World's Fastest Diesel Pickup
By: Mike Levine Posted: 08-31-07 16:47 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com

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Last week we reported on SPAL USA's record run across the Bonneville Salt Flats to grab the title of World's Fastest Diesel Pickup, but Gale Banks Engineering has stepped forward to challenge the claim.

"Gale sent a letter of congrats to SPAL on their achievement, but SPAL has only taken the national record away from Banks, not the world record," said Gale Banks Engineering spokesperson Doug Stokes in an interview with PickupTruck.com.

How can Gale Banks own the world record and not the U.S. national record? Here's the deal.

SPAL USA did indeed break a record last week when its Rocket Ranger ran an average speed of 215.091-mph during its two runs. But it broke the U.S. national record sanctioned by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) in the SCTA's C/Diesel Truck group.

However, Gale Banks still holds the world record for the fastest pickup. The Banks Cummins-powered Sidewinder has been timed and certified at 217.306-mph by the Federation Internationale De L'Automobile (FIA), which is widely regarded as the keeper of international automotive world speed records. FIA timed Banks in its Category B, Group III, Class 17 class.

FIA's Certificate Awarded to Gale Banks Engineering

Heath Lagenfeld, SPAL USA's sales and marketing manager, told PickupTruck.com, "In our original statement we originally said we broke the world record but we should have said it was the national record. It’s not our intention to continue to promote or challenge the Banks record. We do acknowledge Banks to have the world record."

SPAL USA has also issued the following update to its record setting run.

"ANKENY, Iowa – The “Rocket Ranger,” built by SPAL USA and driven by HyperMax Engineering’s Max Lagod, is recognized by the Southern California Timing Association/Bonneville Nationals Inc. (SCTA/BNI) as the Fastest Diesel Pickup Truck (C/Diesel Truck class) after recording a speed of 215.091 miles-per-hour during the 2007 Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats on August 17, 2007."

With two different sanctioning bodies out on the salt flats - SCTA and FIA - and neither recognizing the timing records of the other, it was an unintentional mistake that SPAL claimed the world record.

"SPAL is a good competitor and we congratulate them on their accomplishment. Now Gale wants to dust off the Sidewinder and go back to Bonneville to get the national record back and put it next to the world record. Competition is good for the breed," says Mr. Stokes.

Game on!

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