The sport of rallying tests competitors to the limits of their abilities. Day or night, rain or shine (or blizzard), teams face a wide variety of conditions while traveling down challenging roads, with a route book as their road map. The competitive portions of rallies are "special stages" run on closed forest roads, which competitors must complete as quickly as possible. Stages are linked by transit sections, where all regular rules of the road are applied. Service breaks allow time for rest, repairs, and meals.
Rally teams consist primarily of a driver and a co-driver. The driver has the obvious task: to drive as fast as possible. The job of the co-driver is to keep the team on time and on route, in addition to reading the notes during the stages to inform the driver of what lies ahead. The service crew also plays an important role by performing repairs and routine maintenance.
Rally cars start out as regular road cars, but have extensive modifications to ensure that they are safe, reliable, and fast. Roll cages, safety harnesses, helmets, and flame-retardant suits provide protection for the crew. Beefy suspension soaks up the bumps and jumps. Special tires offer greater traction on gravel and icy roads. Performance-enhancing modifications vary depending on the car's classification. There are numerous classes that accommodate a range of cars and budgets. Rally cars are grouped into categories that separate them during competition:
Production class restricts teams to very few modifications, which allows competitive, low-cost competition. Production is subdivided into two classes, Production Two Wheel Drive and Production Four Wheel Drive.
Open class allows many cars, with virtually no performance restrictions. This is where most of the flame-spitting, high horsepower monsters compete. As in the Production division, there are two classes; Open two wheel drive and open four wheel drive.
Want to get involved?
Well, you're in luck! There are several ways to become a part of the sport:
Join a club
There are rally clubs in most cities that organize events for all skill levels and budgets. Experienced club members are happy to share advice with newcomers.
Organizers are usually looking for people to act as marshals and control workers. No experience required - veteran marshals will provide all the necessary training. Volunteering at a rally is a great way to learn the inner workings of the sport. Volunteer to help us at the Rally of The Tall Pines this year.
Come and see some incredible displays of driving, and cheer for your favourite teams. Check out our Spectator Information for more details.
Road rallies present a low-cost opportunity to participate in events at street-legal speeds. Tough instructions ensure that teams of all skill levels will have a fun and brain-teasing experience. RallyCross gives competitors a taste of adrenalin-pumping rally action with minimal car preparation. For those seeking the excitement and glamour of performance rallying, a more substantial investment is required, but a lot of fun can be had on a reasonable budget.
Whatever your role, you'll have a great time at the Rally of the Tall Pines! See you in Bancroft!