Words & Photo Courtesy of Greggar Helgeland
SCCA® RallyCross® uses traffic cones to build race courses on grass or dirt fields, eliminating most hazards and barriers, which in turn makes RallyCross one of the least expensive and fun ways to race. The pace of RallyCross is generally below highway speeds, but the courses are demanding enough to satisfy the adrenaline junkie in all of us.
While RallyCross can be as easy or intense as you want, the basics of how to compete are simple.
What You Need
Driver’s license: You need a current driver’s license to enter an SCCA RallyCross event.
Helpful tip – If you are under 18, you will need both your parents to sign a minor waiver for you. The signature must be notarized or witnessed by an SCCA Registrar.
Vehicle in good working order: Although RallyCross doesn’t require the same safety gear as traditional race cars, your car must be in good enough mechanical condition for competition. The suspension must not have loose or worn parts, the battery must be securely held in place, the tires must have no cords or metal showing, the brakes and seatbelts must function properly, the windshield must not be structurally compromised and there should not be any serious fluid leaks.
Helpful tip – When you get to an event, the tech inspector will make sure your car is ready to go.
Helmet: You will need a helmet when you’re driving on course, but you can usually use a loaner helmet provided by the regional host of the event. If you bring your own, keep in mind it must meet certain safety requirements. First thing to know is that helmets with ONLY DOT ratings are not allowed. A helmet with a current Snell rating, or one of the two previous rating periods, is required.
Helpful tip – If that is too confusing and you’re not sure if your helmet is OK or not, show it to a tech inspector who can verify if its safety certifications meet the requirements.
How to Participate
Find an event: Go to the RallyCross events webpage at SCCA.com. Enter your zip code to find your region’s event schedule and then choose a race to attend.
Register: Some regions require that you sign up online before coming to an event and some allow you to enter the day of the race. When you find an event, look for details about registration requirements. While costs vary between regions, most events cost between $25 and $60 to enter.
Helpful tip – SCCA members are a helpful bunch. If you arrive early and tell someone you have never raced RallyCross before, chances are you’ll get a quick primer on how the process works. You might find you have a few new friends, as well.
Show up: Once you’re ready and have registered (or know how to register), the next step is to get to the race and join the fun. Because RallyCross® races tend to pack a lot of activities into each day, pay close attention to the schedule of tech inspection, when registration opens, when the course is open for walking, when drivers’ meetings are held, etc.
Helpful tip – RallyCross runs in almost any weather, so make sure you bring appropriate clothing and weather gear, closed-toed shoes and food and beverages for the whole day. Since no loose objects are allowed in your car during the race, plastic organizer bins are helpful to store items while you compete.
Get your car checked out: The technical safety inspection, also known as “Tech,” is where one of your fellow competitors will double-check your car and make sure it meets safety requirements. They will look under the hood, inside the interior and trunk, check your tires, make sure your suspension is tight, verify your helmet is good to go and see that there aren’t any loose items in your car.
Helpful tip – It’s best to come to tech with your car empty and with the hood and trunk open for inspection. Also, if you don’t have a number plate and the inspectors don’t have shoe-polish to write the numbers on your windows, ask them for some low-adhesive painters tape to make numbers and class letters.
Walk the course: Since you will only get a handful of laps, it’s important to walk the course in order to plan how to drive it. You should walk the course at least once and they usually take 5-10 minutes per walk depending on the venue.
Helpful tip – The course should be marked well enough that you don’t have to memorize it, but the better you learn it the faster you will usually go. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other racers to help you plan your race as you walk the course. Just like asking for help when you arrive, you’ll probably make some new friends in the process.
Help Out: One of the things that makes RallyCross less expensive than other forms of motorsports is that the competitors are also the organizers and helpers. That person who helped you sign the waiver? They’re probably driving today. The person who helped you register? Yep, also driving. The tech inspector? Well, you get the idea...
There will be a time period during the day where you will help run the event. This might include recording lap times, directing cars from grid to course or re-setting traffic cones on course after they are knocked down.
Helpful tip – Work and race schedules are typically announced during drivers’ meetings. That’s when you’ll find out what group you’re driving in, which group you’re working with and when you will have some down time to relax, socialize or just watch the race.
Drive: This one is self-explanatory. Before you start your race, there will be an area, or “grid,” where you park between runs while you wait for your turn. Workers there will tell you when to approach the start line. Have fun, monitor your lap times and try to improve them with each run. Repeat until all your runs are completed.
Helpful tip – Look ahead and relax. Looking ahead helps you better see where the course is and relaxing enables you to better feel what the car is doing so that you can improve your times.
So that’s it – those are some of the essential facts of what you need to know and how to race RallyCross. From there, the only way is up. RallyCross has several classes of cars from low-budget to highly-modified, as well as National level competition and Championships. We hope to see you at a RallyCross® event soon.
TOPEKA, Kan. (March 19, 2018) -- Online registration for the 24th United States RoadRally Challenge (USRRC), the SCCA's premier RoadRally weekend, is open at Motorsportreg.com. This year's USRRC is hosted by the St. Louis Region Oct. 4-7 with help from the Southern Illinois Region. The annual celebration of sports cars and classic sports-car rallying will test the teamwork, time-keeping and route-following skills of SCCA® RoadRally teams from across the country.
As organized by the St. Louis Region, the 2018 USRRC will include four rallies -- two divisionals and two nationals -- beginning with a short nighttime divisional tour Thursday evening, Oct. 4, followed by two daylong national rallies Friday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 6. The weekend will conclude with a morning divisional GTA rally Sunday, Oct. 7, followed by an awards luncheon. This year's USRRC will offer several special features, says event chairman Jim Heine.
"In addition to the regular RoadRally classes defined by the Road Rally Rules -- Equipped, Limited and Stock -- we will offer two additional classes, Historic and Rookie," Heine said. "They're designed especially for beginning or occasional rally teams, whether historic or modern, or for teams from other SCCA disciplines that might enjoy participating in the USRRC. Also, we've designed the weekend so that Historic and Rookie teams can run all four events, or if they choose, just the Saturday and Sunday events."
Last year, the SCCA's Arctic Alaska Region played host to the annual event, with Anchorage, Alaska, serving as the headquarters city. In 2016, the USRRC, under the guidance of the SCCA's New England Region, showcased the rural roads and fall colors of Vermont. Other past USRRC locations have included Pittsburgh, Pa.; Santa Maria, Calif.; La Crosse, Wis.; Portland, Org.; and Fredericksburg, Virginia. But 2018 will be the fourth time the St. Louis Region has stepped up to host the USRRC.
"We are the first SCCA region to host the USRRC four times," notes St. Louis Region executive Peter Zekert. "We last hosted it in 2005. We were selected again for 2018 because of our central location and because teams that run the SCCA's national RoadRally series, of which the USRRC is a part, enjoy coming to St. Louis."
Before 2005, the St. Louis Region, also with help from the Southern Illinois Region, hosted the USRRC in 1998 and 2001.
As with this year's USRRC, the 2001 and 2005 St. Louis based "Challenge" events were run in southern Illinois, observes SCCA Southern Illinois Region executive and SCCA Board of Directors member Chris Albin. He is pleased that the October weekend will again highlight the rural landscape of the "Metro East."
"There is a long history of cooperation between our regions, not only in rallying, but also in other activities, and this is just another example of how the Mississippi River doesn't divide us," Albin said.
"We are looking forward to hosting this event again, and we believe rally teams will find the weekend enjoyable," Zekert added.
For more information about the 2018 USRRC, visit motorsportreg.com(http://msreg.com/usrrc2018) or the St. Louis Region's website at stlscca.org.
Photo Credit: James Heine
Unlike most forms of racing, RallyCross® doesn’t have the luxury of competing on established racetracks or existing roads. RallyCross requires open spaces such as grass fields, farmlands, fairgrounds or undeveloped properties. Finding such places is often challenging for RallyCross organizers, even though RallyCross events are good for local communities and landowners. If hosting a race sounds appealing to you or possibly somebody you know, please take a moment to read the details below.
RallyCross creates increased traffic to nearby businesses. The average RallyCross participant spends $600 per weekend on food, gas, lodging and entertainment. Most racers bring along friends and family for fun, support and camaraderie, often turning a race day into a weekend stay. RallyCross also draws participants from a wide geographic area, creating new customers for surrounding businesses. Those new customers represent a wide demographic of people, most of whom are married homeowners with an average household income of over $130,000 per year.
RallyCross events present no financial risk to hosting landowners or local communities. RallyCross is relatively low in speed and prioritizes safety over competition, but in the unlikely event of an incident, SCCA provides comprehensive general and liability insurance coverage that exonerates landowners of all financial obligations. SCCA also ensures that all owner rules and local ordinances are strictly honored.
RallyCross does not require any involvement from landowners other than a place to compete. Because RallyCross is a work-to-race event, it provides its own labor teams that take care of things like monitoring entry, set-up, race management and tear-down. RallyCross also brings its own equipment and resources, such as generators, garbage cans and porta-potties. Unlike most forms of racing, cars run individually and compete against the clock rather than race together as a group. This increases safety and reduces the amount of land required. When necessary, water trucks are used to minimize dust picked up by the cars. Organizers and participants also clean up after themselves so nothing is left behind for landowners to deal with.
The end result is a seamless relationship that involves little to no effort on the part of landowners outside of simply receiving a check for the use of their land. One way to increase the level of compensation above that of just hosting a race is to allow onsite camping before and/or after race day. This reduces travel requirements for participants, which in turn creates greater visits to nearby businesses.
All regions strive to develop long term, financially sustainable relationships with landowners that provide years of racing action. This is where you come in. Do you know of a place where your local SCCA® group could have some fun in the dirt? If so, please find and contact your local SCCA region at https://www.scca.com/regions.
For further information regarding potential RallyCross sites, please contact Brian Harmer at email@example.com.
Words & Photo: Greggar Helgeland
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Jan 20, 2018) -- It was announced during the SCCA® National Convention that changes are ahead in 2018 for DirtFish SCCA RallyCross National Challenge events.
Howard Duncan, SCCA's Senior Director of Rally/Solo, said this year the National Challenge model will transform to a Region/Division operated program with National Office support. For the past couple years, these Challenge events had been managed by the National Office with Region/Division support.
"This year, the RallyCross Board and National Office plan to select three established, successful RallyCross weekends to be National Challenge events, and possibly select one additional event to be added to the National Challenge schedule. The goal will be to have between three and five events each year distributed across the country," Duncan said. "The plan is to have the 2018 DirtFish SCCA RallyCross calendar cemented and announced within the next few weeks."
The one additional event in 2018, according to Duncan, will go to a Region interested in developing and advancing their local RallyCross program to a National level. The yet-to-be-decided Region will show an interest in learning how to plan and support just such an event.
National Challenge events will still mimic the RallyCross National Championship. However, under the new guidelines, there will be room for organizers to insert local "flavor" to an event, with the objective being to allow for some experimentation of new concepts/procedures. The exact degree of variance will be coordinated with the National Office and RallyCross Board (RXB).
All RallyCross national classes will still run at National Challenges, but there is now also the potential to include a limited number of local classes to bolster attendance and interest. Each National Challenge will still include two days of competition on at least two courses with between six and fifteen scheduled runs.
Each RallyCross National Challenge event will still have a National Steward selected by the RXB and/or SCCA national staff. But the host Region/Division will now manage all event functions, including but not limited to: site procurement, registration, course design, tech, timing and scoring, safety, protests, trophies and social components. Organizers must submit Event Supplemental Regulations to the RXB and National Office for approval at least 60 days in advance of the event, and regular sanction and insurance fees still apply. However, the host Region/Division will now be able to retain all event registration income.
In support of the DirtFish SCCA RallyCross National Challenge program, the National Office will still provide standard Event Supplemental Regulations to be used as a model for developing individual Challenge supplemental regulations. Results will be posted by the National Office to SCCA.com, and some marketing support provided by the National Office. National staff will also help process contingency claims.
Photo Credit: Greggar Helgeland
It has been an absolutely amazing end of 2017 for the Sports Car Club of America®, with three national championship events setting records. Totaled, there were more than 2,460 entries across four major events, and a handful of diehard enthusiasts competed in more than one championship.
The 11th annual DirtFish SCCA® RallyCross® National Championship, held Oct. 20-22 at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas, is the latest event to break an entry record. By the end of competition, 123 drivers had turned a wheel on one of three off-road courses. This beats the previous RallyCross National Championship record of 109 competitors set in 2014 at I-80 Speedway in Greenwood, Nebraska.
This year's Tire Rack SCCA Solo Nationals began the record-setting season back in early September at Lincoln Airpark in Nebraska with 1,319 drivers crossing the timing lights during the four-day event, making it one of the largest annual motorsport events anywhere in the world. The previous record was set in 2016 with 1,305 competitors taking to the tarmac.
Another premier SCCA event took place in September with nearly 60 entrants taking part in the United States Road Rally Challenge. This year, the annual Road Rally championship was held in Alaska where competitors began their adventure by checking in to the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum in Anchorage before heading south through the Kenai Peninsula to visit Seward and Homer while taking in 626 miles of stunning scenery.
Finally, SCCA Road Racing's National Championship obliterated previous Runoffs® participation records. This year's event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway officially had 969 entries take to the famed circuit. That was 260 more than the previous record of 709 set in 2004 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Additionally, the 2017 Runoffs reset the record for entrants in the first 24 hours that registration was open. This year, 763 driver entries were registered on the first day -- demolishing the 413 entries made in 24 hours for the 2016 Runoffs at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Mike Cobb, SCCA President and CEO, said, "SCCA's 2017 championship season has been one for the record books. Four incredible events drew thousands of SCCA members from across the nation to have fun with cars, and several hundred more members lent their time and expertise to make these SCCA activities memorable for a long time to come. It says a lot about what the future holds for this Club and its members."
TOPEKA, Kan. (July 12, 2017) – The second round of the DirtFish SCCA® RallyCross National Challenge attracted 69 participants from as far away as Oklahoma and took place at The Rally Farm in Catlett, Virginia – a facility that not only farms trees, hay and alpacas, but also hosts a wide variety of off-road driving events.
The Challenge weekend kicked off with a Starting Line RallyCross event, where drivers brand new to the sport got a full day of classroom time and on-course instruction before participating in the national event.
During the competition rounds, it was a story of dust and mud – mud created from heavy rains early in the week led to high cone counts as drivers slid unpredictably through, into and around the cones. After the course dried out, the next story was dust – with large clouds drifting across the field as competitors scrambled and pushed to make up for lost time or hold on to solid morning runs.
Modified FWD was an exciting battle for first, with John Royer leading Danny Kao by 9.4 seconds overnight despite having a tire debead. Kao helped Royer replace his tire, and then put in a strong effort -- but came up just 0.2 second short of the win in a nail-biting finish.
High cone counts provided high drama in Modified RWD, and when competitors went to bed Saturday the top five were within 10 seconds. Vaughn Micciche led after day one, and held on for the class win over John England after the second day. When the sun went down on the first day of competition in Modified AWD, the top three of four trophy spots were within four seconds of one another. When the dust settled on day two, Adam Kimmett had driven his Subaru Impreza to the win ahead of Radim Hlidek, who started the event with a DNF penalty for being late to class inspection.
In the Stock classes, Chang Ho Kim drove to a commanding Stock FWD victory in his Integra Type R over Jake Warriner who secured the second trophy spot after a very close three-way battle on day one. In Stock RWD, Logan Altmyer drove his Nissan to a 3.9-second win over Timothy Maxey, the two drivers having a great battle over both days. In Stock AWD, Jim Golden held an eight-second lead in his Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS after day one, and drove a smart set of runs to win by four seconds over Jason Zerbe.
For Prepared class competition, Sunday course designer, Andy Thomas, pulled ahead of Robert Seelig after a super close day one to win in Prepared FWD, partially thanks to 4 cone penalties for Seelig, and Shawn Roberts drove a fast and amazingly cone-free event in his Miata to win Prepared RWD. Keith Pizio led Warren Elliott in Prepared AWD by a half second after Saturday, but it wasn't to be as Elliott drove a cone-free second day to take the class win.
Round three of the DirtFish SCCA National Challenge takes place July 21-23 in Snoqualmie, Washington, followed by October's DirtFish SCCA National RallyCross Championship in Topeka, Kansas.
The second round of the American Rally Association National Championship kicks off its USA debut at the Oregon Trail Rally Presented By Mtn Dew Kickstart on April 21-23. The racing starts on Friday with four Super Special Stages at Portland International Raceway (PIR). These stages combine the asphalt of the racing circuit with gravel service roads in and around the track. Gates open at 4pm and the rally racing action begins at 6pm.
The event then moves east Saturday and Sunday along the scenic Columbia Gorge where teams will experience the much faster closed public and private roads known for their high speeds, technical turns, and varying road. The over 50 team entry list is sure to have something for everyone with vehicles of all types from highly modified modern 4 wheel drive factory backed machines to rally classics dating back to the 70s and 80s. For more information and purchase tickets, go to our web site http://www.oregontrailrally.com
TOPEKA, Kan. (March 21, 2017) -- After a roaring success last year in its inaugural tour, the Sports Car Club of America® is bringing back in 2017 the adventure that is Targa Southland. Taking place August 11-13, Targa Southland participants will again start their voyage in North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway's zMax Dragway. But this year, the festivities will wrap up at Memphis International Raceway in Tennessee.
"Targa is a unique way for Club members to have fun with cars and showcases the SCCA lifestyle across multiple activities wrapped into one event," said Heyward Wagner, SCCA's Director of Experiential Programs. "SCCA Targa connects three pre-existing events planned by different SCCA Regions. Activities include Road Rally, Autocross, Track Night in America, Time Trials and TrackCross."
The voyage begins Friday morning, August 11, with check-in at zMax Dragway where an autocross will be held Friday afternoon. Then there's a Track Night in America Driven by Tire Rack experience Friday evening across the street at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with dinner included. Drivers will then head to Georgia that night for a track session and Time Trial event Saturday morning at Atlanta Motorsports Park.
Early Saturday afternoon, the Targa Southland RoadRally will be conducted, followed by a trip to Memphis later in the day. Saturday night will be spent whoopin' it up at the world-famous Charles Vergos' Rendezvous restaurant, and a likely visit to Beale Street.
The fun with cars continues Sunday morning with lapping sessions at Memphis International Raceway, followed by a Sunday afternoon TrackCross at the same venue. An "awards" ceremony then concludes the three-day challenge.
SCCA® Targa is a team event. Vehicles must have at least one licensed driver and at least two team members above 14 years old. Participants can only use street-legal vehicles and must drive from one destination to the next -- no trailering. Targa will have two options for participation: Targa Competition and Targa Experience. Targa Competition will have seven classes, based on Solo® classing, which will be scored and winners will receive trophies. Targa Experience will have three groups: Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. The Novice Class will also have a Novice coach to guide participants through their Targa experience.
Entry fee for Targa Southland is $595 per team and includes the Friday night dinner. A hotel stay Friday night with Saturday breakfast included can be added for an additional $125 per team. An all-inclusive dinner Saturday night at Rendezvous is an additional $75 per team, and hotel accommodations Saturday night in downtown Memphis are being offered at $150 per team.
So, clear August 11-13 calendar dates now for what will undoubtedly be another amazing Targa Southland. For more information, visit the Targa Southland webpage.
Subaru Rally Team USA (SRTUSA) drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana made history by claiming a 1-2 finish at Rallye Perce-Neige, the first round of the newly formed ARA (American Rally Association) National Championship. The 143 mile stage rally event held in Maniwaki, Quebec, hosted over 40 international competitors on snow-covered gravel roads in a grueling single-day race format.
Subaru Rally Team Canada driver Antoine L’Estage, a seven-time winner of Rallye Perce-Neige, built an early lead over the first three stages of the rally, until mechanical issues hindered his pace. Higgins and Pastrana, who closely trailed L’Estage during the first loop of stages, battled for the lead throughout the remainder of the rally. Higgins would go on to win the event over teammate Pastrana putting the #75 Subaru WRX STI rally car on top of the podium.
“A great result, it feels good to win in such harsh conditions against some top guys, and this was the first ever ARA event, so I’m glad we were able to get our names in the history books,” explained David Higgins at the podium celebration. “The last loop of stages was hard work, the snow was coming down pretty hard on one stage, there was a big snow ball inside the corner, we clipped it and smashed one of the lights, making the night stage even tougher. The hood pin was also damaged, so we had to slow down a bit to keep the hood from flying open on stage. It was a challenge but it was all good in the end!”
“Man, heck of a day! The snow during the final night stages came down hard. It was like a video game, you’re in a trance going 120 mph,’ said Travis Pastrana at the finish. “You don’t see anything on the road. All you see are trees coming at you really fast. We gambled with tire choice this weekend which didn’t go in our favor, but we’re happy to be on the podium and get valuable championship points.”
“The extreme temperatures and single day format tested drivers and crew alike this weekend,” stated Subaru Motorsports Marketing Manager Rob Weir. “We’re proud of the hard work SRTUSA put in this weekend to help Subaru claim their first ARA Championship victory.”
Higgins and Pastrana continue on to round two of the ARA Championship, the Oregon Trail Rally, beginning April 21st at Portland International Raceway in Portland, OR.
Full coverage of Subaru Rally Team USA is available on the Subaru Motorsports App. To download from the iTunes App store, click here, for Android App on Google Play store, click here. Follow the team on Instagram @srtusa, on Twitter @srtusa, and on facebook @Subaru Rally Team USA.
DirtFish SCCA RallyCross Launches 2017 Season
TOPEKA, Kan. (February 7, 2017) – Registration is open for the first DirtFish SCCA® RallyCross® National Challenge of the season. The DirtFish Central RallyCross National Challenge will be held April 7-9 at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas. This is also the site of the 2017 DirtFish SCCA RallyCross National Championship in October.
The full 2017 DirtFish SCCA RallyCross National Challenge season is as follows:
April 7-9: DirtFish SCCA Central RallyCross National Challenge
Heartland Park Topeka; Topeka, Kan.
July 7-9: DirtFish SCCA East RallyCross National Challenge
Rally Farm; Catlett, Va.
July 21-23: DirtFish SCCA West RallyCross National Challenge
DirtFish Rally School; Snoqualmie, Wa.
October 20-22: DirtFish SCCA RallyCross National Championship
Heartland Park Topeka; Topeka, Kan.
The most significant change to the SCCA National RallyCross program this season is the addition of DirtFish Rally School as the title sponsor for the three National Challenge events and National Championship. More information about this partnership can be found here.
Also, new for 2017, each DirtFish SCCA RallyCross National Challenge will offer a Starting Line RallyCross school on the Friday before competition. Much like the Starting Line Autocross program, Starting Line RallyCross will instruct participants on vehicle dynamics and driving techniques specific to low-traction surfaces. More information about the expansion of the Starting Line program can be found here.
There are some other minor changes to the format of these events. Competition runs will start later in the day on Saturday to allow for longer Check-in and Tech hours. This later start is intended to help participants save the cost of a hotel room on Friday night when possible. Additionally, to allow more runs on Saturday, only one course will be laid out per day. Due to the nature of RallyCross competition, the course will evolve during the day. Instead of a human draw, grid positions will be calculated by computer to allow for faster grid sheet generation and earlier posting.
In 2017, online registration is shifting back to MotorsportsReg.com for National RallyCross events. Entries for the DirtFish SCCA National Challenge events are capped at 120 with a fee of $95 each. With the return to MotorsportsReg, non-annual SCCA members can purchase a weekend membership while registering online.
RallyCross is the SCCA's most widespread and readily accessible form of extreme dirt motorsport. The activity is a scaled-down version of a rally stage laid out on a non-paved plot of land where the course is delineated by traffic cones instead of trees or rocks. Participation requirements are considerably less than those associated with other forms of performance rally, so drivers usually only need a mechanically sound, hardtop vehicle and a helmet to come play in the dirt.
For additional information on DirtFish SCCA RallyCross, visit https://www.scca.com/pages/i-want-to-rallycross.
Image: A competitor slings dirt while rounding a cone at the 2016 SCCA RallyCross National Championship.
Credit: Rupert Berrington