Forget those images of stripped-down hot hatches racing two-wheeled through muddy forests. Classic car rallying is an altogether more refined experience, but any enthusiast will tell you that it’s just as fun. What’s more is that it’s more accessible. You don’t need to be an expert driver to win a rally, and you certainly don’t need a dirt-eating rally car.
Timing is Key
Classic rallies are not about the first person to finish. There are a selection of different race styles, but for the most part, the focus is on completing a course in the correct time rather than the fastest one. And generally, this will happen on public roads, adhering to the speed limit. You’ll be set a course with checkpoints, and a target time. Whoever gets as close to that as possible, down to the seconds, will be the winner. No screaming round corners, no wheels off the ground, it’s that simple. You can win in a car that won’t exceed 70mph, and those that do the best will be the ones who can plan ahead using the road in front of them, and have the best navigation and road craft.
Other contests include recording your time round a track, and then getting as close to that time again on repeated attempts. The more deviation, the lower down the rankings you’ll go. Read this blog post to find out a bit more about the event formats, and what makes this a team sport.
Of course, the key word in ‘classic rally’ is the ‘classic’ bit. You’ll need a classic car to get started, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a wealthy enthusiast. An MOT-worthy vehicle of a classic age can be had for relatively little money, and that’s all you really need. You can spend a fortune, but you really don’t have to. Many people enjoy doing up old beaters and taking them to shows, but your rusted old Mini is just as welcome at classic events.
You’ll find clubs up and down the country, with events happening all the time, so it’s easy to get involved. Most people enjoy being part of a smaller fan club for their particular car, and another larger one that organises rallies and major events.
If you want to get involved in motorsport, but don’t want the associated risks and costs, then classic rallies could be for you.