Choose a rally that’s the right difficulty for you.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing which rally you will participate in is the skill level that is required. There are four stages of events when it comes to participants’ skills:
- Beginner – A beginner’s event requires no special equipment and no previous experience, so these are perfect for first timers. One of the best things about this stage of rally is that these events typically don’t cost a lot—sometimes they’re even free! And because these rallies are very basic, they require only a few hours to complete.
- Novice – A novice event typically requires at least an hour of training before you can participate and a road license that is valid for your vehicle type. These types of rallies tend to be more popular than beginner’s rallies, but they still aren’t as difficult as intermediate or advanced rallies. However, make sure you take time to practice before signing up for one because novice-level rallies have some technical aspects that may be tricky if you’ve never participated in this kind of event before.
- Intermediate – An intermediate event usually takes place over multiple days and includes more complex driving challenges than a novice event would feature. These events tend to be more expensive because they include higher-quality meals and lodging options (such as hotels instead of campsites). While it isn’t necessary for participants in an intermediate event to have completed any other rally races, there might be rules about who can participate based on age or driving experience level (for example, only people ages 18–24 with three years’ experience as a licensed driver may sign up).
However, while this rule sounds strict at first glance—especially considering how long it takes someone under 18 years old to get their license—it actually makes sense when you think about what it takes just physically operate heavy machinery like cars! Also keep in mind that many non-driving competitors choose intermediate-level events because their navigators aren’t experienced enough yet (or aren’t old enough) for advanced competitions yet either
Be prepared to spend a lot of money.
If you want to be a rally driver, the first thing you’ll need to do is clear your schedule, because this hobby—like the craft of writing—takes up all your time. Then you’ll need to get ready for a long stint in debtors prison, because everything associated with rallying costs a ton of money. The cheapest rally car will set you back around $10K USD; by the time you’ve upgraded its safety features and made it legal for competition, that number jumps to nearly $30K. You could skip straight to co-driving (or “navigating”) instead, but that’s not much cheaper: an internship program will cost about $15K; if you want training from a rally school, be prepared for another five figures; and if you don’t have enough experience points yet to earn your rally license, add on another few thousand dollars. But this is only the beginning of your financial woes! Additional fees include insurance (hundreds per month), entry fees ($250-450 per race) and transportation costs since rallies are notoriously held in places like “the middle of nowhere.”
The good news is that these expenses can be defrayed through sponsorships. Sponsors can provide everything from equipment and services down to food or lodging during races or practice sessions.
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Check your car carefully before you get started.
The first thing you need to do is check your car over. Pay attention to the oil and brake fluid levels, brakes, tires, lights and battery. You should also make sure the exhaust system is in good shape, as well as the transmission fluid and radiator fluid. Now that you’ve done all of this, it’s time to drive!
Rallying is not a place to show off or do dumb things like drive drunk.
When you’re rallying, you’re not just driving from place to place. Instead, you’re trying to get from one spot to another as quickly as possible. It’s not a time for messing around or showing off. It’s a serious business, and it should be treated like one.||
You also need to remember that rally racing is not the time or place for alcohol consumption. Drinking and driving does not mix well with racing, obviously, but rally racing has even stricter controls on this sort of behavior than other races do.||
With all that in mind, let’s talk about what it takes to participate in your first rally race.
Understand that you’re going to have fun, which can be costly too.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention money. A rally is a pretty expensive proposition, and you should have a solid budget set aside before signing up. The entry fee, depending on the rally, is somewhere between $3000 and $5000 per person—and that’s just for the privilege of participating! If you need to rent a car for the event (or buy one), your expenses are going to increase.
On top of that, you’re going to spend a lot on food and hotels. Unlike professional drivers in their deluxe team-supported trucks, amateur participants actually need to eat while they’re on the road; this doesn’t come cheap at an event like Dakar. You’ll also need to sleep somewhere along the way, which means more hotel bills. In some cases where there’s no lodging available near day’s end, competitors will sleep in their cars or tents—but this comes with its own set of problems: it’s not always possible or even legal to camp out wherever you happen to be when darkness falls.
In addition to all these costs, don’t forget about other necessities like gas and insurance—not to mention whatever wear-and-tear these grueling adventures inflict on your vehicle! It all adds up very quickly; make sure you can afford it before committing yourself too deeply!
Understand what type of rally it is before you sign up.
Make sure you are registering for the right type of rally. There are a few different types of rallies, and some require more equipment and preparation than others.
- Rally sprints are short rallies that take place on closed-off sections of public road. They have only one or two stages, which are very short (1-10km) and which every competitor runs multiple times throughout the day. This type of rally is usually inexpensive to enter because you don’t need as much equipment as other types of racing. You can use your everyday car without any modifications.
- Rally raids are longer events that last several days instead of just one day like a rally sprint. You travel through deserts, forests, mountains and canyons using specially modified 4×4 vehicles designed to be reliable in extreme environments with tough conditions (such as very hot or cold weather).
- Rally cross is a motorsport where cars race on dirt tracks mixed with asphalt (normal roads). The track contains both flat areas and jumps where you can fly over 30 meters into the air! If you enjoy driving fast around tight corners, this is probably the type of racing for you!
- Time trial rallies include multiple stages run by each competitor one after the other. In this form of rallying there are no closed roads; competitors drive their vehicles from stage to stage along normal public roads connecting them together in a route called ‘transits’ for maximum total distance covered at high speed! Many people start out by entering time trial rallies because they’re relatively easy to get started with – all you need is a suitable vehicle and basic safety equipment such as roll cage or harness seatbelt installation in your car.
Have the right safety gear.
As a rookie, you won’t be expected to have your own racecar; most beginners borrow cars from experienced drivers. But you will need some of your own safety gear, including an FIA-approved helmet in good condition. The event organizer might also require a fireproof racing suit and gloves, chest protector and HANS (Head And Neck Support) system.
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Make sure you are physically fit because all rally drivers and navigators work at high intensity levels for several hours at a time.
The physical demands of a rally are high. The driver and co-driver must be able to drive/navigate at high intensity levels for several hours at a time, often in the dark with minimal sleep. You should be able to sit in your car seat for long periods of time and not get tired or sleepy. You need to be able to concentrate on the road and ignore distractions (like traveling through small towns where people are standing around cheering). You should also be mentally fit, as you will have to deal with obstacles such as bad weather, fatigue, mechanical problems, etc., during the race.
Have realistic expectations. Your team will probably not win any rallies when you’re starting out. You should focus on finishing it, making good decisions and enjoying yourself, both on and off the track.
- Understand that you are learning and competing with yourself, not others.
You don’t practice to outperform your teacher – you practice to learn. Likewise, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking of rally as a competitive sport where people race to the finish line. However, most rallies are more about making good decisions and enjoying yourself than they are about winning the event outright. Your team will learn a lot by finishing your first rally – don’t worry at all if it takes longer than expected!
- Don’t compare yourself or worry about what everyone else is doing.
Every team is different and every rally car performs differently from the next. You shouldn’t be concerned about how fast other teams might be going or what kind of gear they’re using for their vehicle (unless you’re working with them on the same team). The important thing to focus on is your own experience and having fun off-track too!
- Try to learn something at every event.
Expectations may vary depending on which rally you’re participating in (lower level events tend not have much competition), but regardless make sure there’s always something new being learned each time out! Rallies aren’t meant as just trophies; they should also offer an opportunity where each competitor can take away valuable lessons that will help them grow/improve themselves professionally or personally.”
Follow these tips, and as long as you have some racing skill, you’ll be able to do well in your first rally event!
If you’re anything like me when I started, you probably won’t win any rallies. The key is to finish the event and make good decisions, both on and off the track.
Rallying is not a place to show off or do dumb things like drive drunk. The rally community prides itself in its friendliness and helpfulness, so don’t destroy it by being a jerk!
Car Rallies in India
- Maruti Suzuki Desert Storm Car Rally
- Indian National Rally Championship
- India Baja
- Himalayan Car Rally
- Monsoon Rally