What to Expect at a Rallycross (RX)

Not sure what to expect at rallycross events? Check out this video — courtesy of member Russ Addie — that will give you a good feel for the way the day typically flows when you come out to play in the dirt with Susquehanna Region SCCA.

 
During the day you will, of course, get to drive your car through a fun and challenging course. But there’s much more to a day at rallycross than that! You’ll be required to help work the course or help staff the registration table, grid, timing truck, or other position. You’ll also have ample opportunity to get to know other drivers, hang out with friends, ask questions of other competitors, compare cars, swap stories, and have a fun day outside!

Here’s What to Expect at Rallycross:

When You Arrive

At the entrance station, sign the safety waiver and get an armband. If you have guests joining you, make sure they also stop here to sign the waiver, even if they are not competing. After that, you will register and pay, and we’ll give your car a brief safety check. If you pre-registered online via the link in the event announcement, your information is already in the system and that will save a lot of time for you and the volunteers running the event.

Registration

It is recommended that you preregister for events online to ensure you have a spot. When you arrive, make your way to registration where you’ll verify your class, get a number for your car and sign the waiver to get an armband. Make sure you have your SCCA membership card and valid driver’s license. If you didn’t pre-register, you’ll also need cash to pay for your entry fee. If you’re not an SCCA member, you can still run! Just fill out an SCCA weekend membership at registration. You’ll also sign up for your work assignment.

Technical Inspection

After you get register, affix your numbers to both sides of your car and make sure to unload everything loose. That means removing anything that is not safely secured and usually includes your spare tire, jack, floor mats, subwoofer, and anything else that is loose and could move around in the car while on course. Next is tech inspection where they’ll check under the hood, in the trunk or hatch and an inspector will verify that your car is sound enough to participate. They will ensure the car has a legible registered number on each side and check seats and seat belts, battery, exhaust system, wheel bearings, brakes and steering are in good working order. They’ll also check that your helmet meets the helmet guidelines.

Course Walking

Once your car is teched and ready to go, the real fun begins! Walking the course is an often underestimated part of learning the sport and getting faster. Arriving on time or a little early ensures you’ll have time to walk the course and get familiar with where it goes. If you’re running first, the course won’t be “run-in” yet, so walk the course a few of times if you can! It’ll help you get to know the course you’ll be driving. If you’re new to rallycross, follow some others around the course and don’t be scared to ask for help or directions. Here’s your first tip: Always drive where the cones dictate, not where a path has been worn. They aren’t necessarily the same thing!

As a general rule, if you can’t run the course in your mind or the draw the general path on a piece of paper, you should walk it again. It can help your memorization to only focus on the important cones. There will be many cones that are just boundaries or provide direction. Make it a point while walking to pick out the ones you’ll be looking for when you’re driving the rallycross course at-speed.

Drivers’ Meeting

A drivers’ meeting is held a few minutes before the start of competition, and all entrants must attend. The event chairman will cover announcements, the day’s schedule, standards of conduct, a safety briefing and how to work a corner station. Once the meeting is over, you will either be preparing to race or work, depending on how you were signed up at registration.

Course Working & Volunteering

No one likes work, but someone has to keep the event running while the others race! Remember, no one at rallycross events is getting paid to be there. We’re all there to have fun, so everyone needs to pitch in. Besides, watching cars on course as a corner worker is a great way to further study the course and see how you could go faster. If you are new to the sport, we’ll team you up with some experienced entrants, so don’t worry about what position you are assigned to work!

Driving the Course

Now for the fun part! When it is your “heat” to race, pull your car to the grid where cars are staged between runs. Just before the timed runs start, all the cars will drive the course once. We call this the “parade lap.” After the parade lap, return to your grid spot to prepare for your timed runs. Make sure your helmet is ready and your seat belt in place. The starter will hold you until it’s your turn, and then it’s up to you! If you have any trouble finding your way around the course, feel free to ask around and see if you can get a ride along with a more experienced rallycrosser. It’s a great way to see their lines, driving techniques and turn-in points. When you’re done and pulling off course, remember to slow it back down to a walking pace as you pull back to your grid spot.

End of the Day

At the end of all heats, extra help is always appreciated. Cones need to be stacked, and fire extinguishers and buckets need to be collected, and loaded up. Typically after that, results are posted.

Remember to get back into “street” mode at the end of the day. Burnouts, donuts, street racing, and speeding near the site attract unwanted attention. Help the host region keep the site, and you will be able to enjoy your next Rallycross event, too.

Event timetable

This is roughly the time table of events at Susquehanna Region rallycross events. This is only an estimate. Events may have a different exact schedule. Find individual event details on the event calendar or on the registration pages on MotorsportReg.com.

7:30–8am: Suggested arrival time
8:00–9:10am: Registration & Tech Open
9:15am: Driver’s meeting and drive through
10:00am: First car off
4:00pm: Finish and cleanup

So there you go! That’s what to expect at rallycross. Keep exploring this Rallycross Beginner’s Guide for even more detailed information about this motorsport.

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