A GUIDE TO DISCIPLINES
Autocross events normally run on off-road circuits of about 1000m, normally on grass or stubble. Timing is against the clock, with up to four cars on track at the same time. Track conditions can change rapidly, so you need to be adjusting your driving technique all the time to find the best traction to achieve the fastest time. The event starts with practice followed usually by at least two timed runs, with the fastest time to count for results. You can start to compete in Autocross events from the age of 14 and with a National B MSA Competition Licence, the basic safety equipment – fire resistant overalls and gloves, crash helmet and fire extinguisher – you can take your everyday car and have a go. Cars vary from standard road cars through rally cars, lightweight Autocross cars and specials. Full regulations and requirements are in Section ‘N’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book. Minimum Age: 16 (Juniors – 14).
Autosolos are run on sealed surfaces only, normally a large car park or airfield, with car classes ranging from standard cars to modified and sports cars. Courses of cones are laid out around the venue and competitors take turns to drive the tests. The tests are ‘forward only’ and competitors can drive the course without needing to shunt or use the handbrake. Penalties are applied if course markers are hit or the wrong route is driven, the winner being the driver with the lowest total time from qualifying runs on the tests, typically the best two of three runs. Competitors may be required to marshal on some events and are split into groups,so that one group is competing, one marshalling and the other readying their cars. The groups then rotate
until all drivers have completed the tests. All Autosolo cars must be driven to the events, so need to be insured, taxed and have a valid MOT. Full regulations and requirements can be found in Section ‘M’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book. Minimum Age: 16.
Autotests require precision car control against the clock over a predetermined course marked by cones or poles. Test diagrams show the direction of travel (forwards or reverse) and other manoeuvres such as 360 spin turns, reverse flicks, stop-astride lines or slaloms through a line of cones. Time penalties for hitting cones or going too far over stop lines are added to the final time for the test and an incorrect test incurs a more severe penalty, 20 seconds. Events normally consist of between 12 and 24
tests with the winner being the driver with the lowest total time from qualifying runs on the tests, Autotest cars vary from standard road going and sports cars to ‘chopped’ specials the emphasis is on skilful car control. Full regulations and
requirements can be found in Section ‘M’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book.
Minimum Age: 16.
Stage Rallies can be held on sealed or loose surfaces and comprise several competitive special stages, with the winner being the crew (driver and co-driver) that completes them all in the lowest aggregate time. To start you will need a full driving licence and then a MSA ‘Go Rallying’ pack, pass the BARS test and then
apply for a Rally National B Stage competition licence. Co-drivers not intending to drive can apply for a Navigator’s licence without having to pass the BARS course. Cars are modified to MSA regulations, including the fitting of safety components such as a roll-over protection system, special seats and harnesses, and fire
extinguishers; the vehicle is then issued with a MSA Log Book certifying that it has been prepared to the correct specification. Stage Rally cars using the public highway to travel between stages also need to be taxed, insured and have a valid MOT certificate. As stage rallying involves much higher speeds on closed roads, you will need MSA-compliant safety equipment – a homologated helmet, frontal head restraint, fireproof overalls, boots and gloves. Full regulations and requirements are in Section ‘R’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book. Minimum Age: Driver: 17 + RTA, Navigator: 16. MSA Competition Licence required: Driver – National B Stage, £62; Navigator – any National B, from £45
Navigational Road Rallying / 12 Car Navigational Rally / Navigational Scatter
Road Rallies take place on the public highway at night, with the emphasis as much on navigational as driving skills and are a natural progression from club-level 12 car navigational events. Crews must maintain a time schedule through all the route’s control points, with navigators using Ordnance Survey maps to direct the
driver correctly, collecting codes or obtaining signatures as proof of passage. Timed controls are manned,and crews are penalised for early or late arrival at these controls. Navigational Scatters only have an overall time schedule. You will need a taxed and insured car of up to 4-cylinders, with a valid MOT certificate. The navigator will need OS maps of the rally area, pens and pencils and a map reading light. Full regulations and requirements are in Section ‘R’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book. Minimum Age: Driver: 17 + RTA, Navigator: 12
Road Rallies : MSA Competition Licence required: Any National B, from £45
12 Car Navigational Rallies and Navigational Scatters do not require a MSA competition Licence
Targa Road Rallying:
Targa Road Rallies use the public roads, usually in the day time, to link special tests that are laid out on private land. The tests are a challenge of both the drivers’ skills and the navigators’ ability to read a map or diagram; tests are timed to the second. Some events use ‘Regularity’ timing on the public roads, in which the road section is timed at a set average speed or schedule; this may sound straightforward but is a challenging test of teamwork for the crew. Cars used for Targa Road Rallies must be taxed, insured and have a valid MOT certificate; engines must have no more than 4 cylinders and 4-wheel drive is prohibited. Navigators will need OS maps of the route, pens or pencils, and a map reading light.
Minimum Age: Driver: 17 + RTA, Navigator: 12
MSA Competition Licence required: any National B, from £45
Hill Climb & Sprint
Hill Climbing is a popular discipline. Cars tackle an uphill course individually, with the quickest time determining the winner. There are currently 18 Classes, ranging from standard road cars to F1 spec single seaters. .Competitors are usually given two practice runs, and then two competitive timed runs (subject to incidents and/or bad weather), with your best time counting in the final results. Course lengths tend to be between 600m and 1200m on sealed surfaces only and venues use the same course every year, so you are not only competing against other competitors on the day, you can also aim to beat your own personal best time for that hill.
Sprints are based on flat circuits or airfields; courses tend to be from 800m up to 3000m; again, courses rarely change, so you can return to challenge your personal best time year on year. There are currently 18 Classes, ranging from standard road cars to F1 spec single seaters.
For both disciplines, you will need safety equipment such as a helmet, frontal head restraints (for some classes), fireproof overalls and gloves. Full regulations and requirements are detailed in Section ‘S’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book.
Minimum Age: 16 MSA Competition Licence required: any National B, from £45
Car Trials are without doubt one of the cheapest forms of motorsport. The aim is to drive the car between markers over a fixed course, this will often be a slippery field, you must achieve this without striking the marker posts or stopping. Courses are marked out with penalty points ranging from 12 to 1, if you make it through to the end of the course without touching the marker posts, you won’t incur any penalties. Several tests will be laid out and the overall winner is competitor with the lowest index of performance (a calculation of your individual performance versus the other competitors in your class).. Competitors are split into classes, such as engine over driven wheels etc. and points are awarded on class position, not the overall position. A standard car is all that is needed to start in Car Trials and you can start from the age of 14. So whatever car you have, you’re in with a chance. Full regulations and requirements can be found in Section ‘T’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book.
Minimum Age: Driver: 14, Front Passenger: 12.
Classic Reliability Trials
Classic Trials are run over multiple venues using old lanes and sections in wooded areas, road mileage is usually but not always involved, so all vehicles need to comply with the Road Traffic Act. Marking is the same as Car Trials with
marker posts going from 12 down to 1, some sections will include a restart for some classes, where the car must stop astride a line and then pull away without running back, events also incorporate special tests, which are against the clock, these are used as tie breakers for competitors who finish on the same marks at the end
of the day. Cars used vary from vintage to modern and are generally modified to provide extra ground clearance as sections can be quite rough with deep ruts.
Full regulations and requirements can be found in Section ‘T’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book.
Minimum Age: Driver: 17 + RTA, Passengers Front: 14, Rear: 2, Note 2 to 12 Years in a Child Seat.
Sporting Car Trials
Sporting Trials use purpose built lightweight trials cars. The sections have marker posts starting at 12 down to 1, and can be very steep and involving very sharp turns. The driver and passenger need to work as a team, with the passenger moving their weight to where the traction is needed as these cars climb hills that are difficult to walk up. Cars will need to be transported to events, so a trailer or large van will also be required. Full regulations and requirements can be found in Section ‘T’ of the MSA Competitors Year Book. Minimum Age: Driver: 16, Front Passenger: 14
As you progress from Club events to Regional or National events and championships you will require a MSA Licence.
The MSA Competitors Year Book (all 500 odd pages ) can be viewed on the MSA website – msauk.org