So… you watched Travis Pastrana in his Subaru at the X Games and now you’re convinced that you can get your Outback at least six feet off the ground if you were given a dirt jump and the chance. Well, it’s time to put down your PS3 game controller, step away from Dirt (1,2, or 3), and rent a helmet. Rallycross is the closest thing you’re going to get to the X Games without mad money or skills.
Rallycross is similar to autocross, based on the fact that there is one car out on the course at a time, racing against the clock. The course is delineated by cones in a large empty area. The important difference is that Rallycross is a race on dirt or other surfaces – not asphalt or pavement. Yes, you and your car will get dirty. The other main difference between the two sports is that your autocross time is based on your single fastest lap around the track (like qualifying), whereas Rally corss is set up like a stage rally. Each lap is a separate stage, and each stage counts towards your total and final time. Every lap counts (except one… we always throw away your worst lap)!
Prepare for Adrenaline!
If you want to feel some adrenaline, this will get you there in spades. It’s awesome. Rallycross is all about pushing speed just to the edge of control… and holding it there. The pressure of getting around a twisty dirt or ice track with almost no traction as fast as possible without making any mistakes gets your blood flowing. It’s racing, it’s dirty, and it’s a hell of a good time.
Prepare for Car Wear!
With nothing hard to hit other than some orange cones, and possibly a snowbank, car wear is fairly limited. However, the amount of wear at an event is directly dependent on your right foot and your ability to remember what your car is to you (daily driver, Rallycross only car). So you’re in control of how hard you push it, and that will likely be directly related as to whether that vehicle is supposed to take you to work the next day. It is extremely rare, but we have an upside down vehicle at a Rally cross. Less rare are tires pulled off their beads (avoidable and fixable). So keep your vehicle’s purpose in mind while racing, and remember this great Phil-osophy… Slow is Smooth, and Smooth is FAST.
Your Day at Rallycross
Your day starts with registration at the timing trailer/bus. You will self-tech your vehicle and helmet according to the current CARS rules. After that, you will have some time to change tires and empty your car before the drivers meeting. After you have been thoroughly regaled with pertinent safety information, you may be able to participate in a parade lap or two through the course. Courses change throughout the day, depending on conditions, so be sure to notice things like directional cones, etc. during the parade lap and drivers meeting.
Half of your day will be spent racing, and the other half will be marshaling. During the dry, dusty summer months, you may want to get yourself a dust mask to wear while marshaling, unless having that extra grit in your teeth is something you enjoy. The main job of our marshals is to indicate to timing and race control when a car hits pylons, and how many. You will need to wear a (supplied) safety vest, and be on alert – you’ll be on a hot track.
You will get between 4-8 attempts at the course, depending on time, weather, and car count. Go fast. Not too fast. And stay on course, or else you’ll never get that trophy you’re chasing. Stay off the cones – they are a 2 second penalty added to your run for each cone you’ve molested.
You’ll be running with people in your class. Current class structure is as follows: Novice (2 & 4 wheel drive), Expert (2 & 4 wheel drive), and Pro (2 & 4 wheel drive). Most newbies start in novice class, however, if you have lots of experience or were born to drive, you might find yourself bumped up to Expert. If you take a Championship podium position, you will be moved up to the next class the following year.
The people who attend our Rallycross events are first rate people. We’ve had the completely uninitiated in any kind of motorsports people competing with competitors from pro rally teams. Everyone who loves sliding their car around and doesn’t mind a little dust in your teeth is welcome. We’re a club – we like to promote community and you will find friends here.
We have trophies and awards at each event. The club also runs a points system for the championship. You won’t be spraying anyone down with champagne at the end of it, but a water filled fire-extinguisher isn’t out of the question…
Rallycross is intended as an accessible sport for everyone from the very novice in their daily driver, to those wanting to bring out their staged rally car. Anyone can win this competition! Every year there is a ton of competition for the “Most Improved” trophy. You can absolutely ask any of the drivers you admire if you can have a ride-along, to gather tips and tricks along the way. Watch the other drivers’ lines as you marshal… is there something that they’re doing that you aren’t? There isn’t anyone in this club who’s completely unwilling to talk about their technique, their lines, their deep deep love of where to apex and when.
Like all motorsports, your best value is to put your money where the rubber meets the road – your tires. Just about any open-tread aggressive winter tire will be a good choice. If you can pick up some used rally tires from one of the regional teams, even better (hey, have you joined our Facebook Buy & Sell page?). There is no real proven tire to use to win at Rallycross.
Rally Sprints are generally held on private or controlled public roads, and are made up of short stages (closed to public traffic, and are less than 3 km in length) and transits (open to public traffic). Rally sprints require much more stringent car preparation, including caged cars, different belt requirements, etc.
These rallies are also known as Time, Speed, and Distance (TSD) rallies, and are run on public roads. A driver and a navigator have to follow the precise route the organizers have laid out and maintain precise timing so that the rally team is always ata specific place at a specific time.
The object of the event is to follow the organizers’ directions and timing instructions and while this seems easy, sometimes the directions are not so easy to follow dependent on the nature of the instructions.
The speeds set are always below the posted limits, and all rules of the road are expected to be obeyed at all times. Scoring for TSD events usually is determined by arrival times at the very cleverly hidden checkpoints the organizer has along the route. A TSD rally is NOT a speed event, and early arrivals at checkpoints result in a higher socre than being similarly late. Navigational rallies are run in rural or less populated areas and provide challnges to both the driver and navigator. Interpretive abilities and team work are the skills needed to succeed. This is an inexpensive way to get involved in rallying, and you can do it in your grocery getter!
More info coming soon…
More info coming soon…