Rally Racing in a UTV

Discussion in 'General UTV Discussion' started by Mad Media, May 13, 2017.

  1. skunx

    skunx OG SXS Racer - UTVUnderground Approved

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    california
    what a blast, I had a great time driving and super thankful to have an already evolved co pilot that made it easier for me to get my feet wet. NASA Organization had a great smooth running operation and some awesome volunteers to help with any questions we had. Thanks mad media and utv underground for the coverage on the Frazier park rally and can't wait to see the pics and footage. Also want to say thanks to Raceline wheels, Walker Evans Shocks, Super Atv, IMG Motorsports! Excited to do it again




     
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  2. Mad Media

    Mad Media Mad Media

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    I think once we show people how fun rally is in a UTV they will be all about it!


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  3. bluediamond

    bluediamond Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2015
    Hoping you guys can throw some in~car footage up. Wonder how suprised the other teams were that the UTVs ran up front. I can see this series blowing up once word gets out.
     
  4. Mad Media

    Mad Media Mad Media

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    In car footage is coming. Here are a few action shots to hold you over.

    Rhys_millen_UTV_frazier_mountain_rally_04.jpg
    Stephan_Verdier_UTV_frazier_mountain_rally_04.jpg
     
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  5. Factory UTV

    Factory UTV FUTV - Official UTVUnderground Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento Ca
    Sounds like a hell of a lot of fun! Could see some real growth here for UTV's...
     
  6. Mad Media

    Mad Media Mad Media

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    There are Rallies all over the United States and Canada. Hopefully more of them start allowing UTV's to race.
    North_american_rally_map.jpg
     
  7. Factory UTV

    Factory UTV FUTV - Official UTVUnderground Sponsor

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento Ca
    What can you guys tell us about the vehicle rules? What mods would a stock X3, YXZ or XP1K require to compete? I know, make it wider and lower, but what are the minimum requirements? I'm sure 5 point restraints, but what about cages, doors, fuel cells, windshields etc?
     
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  8. RallyDude

    RallyDude New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Hi Folks:

    I'm the co-organizer of both the Frazier Mountain Rally and the Gorman Ridge Rally (my name is Brian). Huge thanks to Stephan, Rhys, James, Cain, Brent, and their co-drivers for coming out this weekend. Big thanks to Matt for bringing his film crew.

    I've been involved with rally for 17 years and this is a very interesting twist in "our" sport (rally) that I believe will have major ripples, but it may take a little while to catch on at the national level. While change may not be embraced by everyone, I think one really positive thing from the rally perspective is that some of those involved in the pointy end of the stick either started or spent a good portion of their careers in rally, so we're seeing familiar faces again.

    I also serve as the Director of the California Rally Series. While my events were not the first ones to include SxS, I was the one who convinced my series to create 2 new SxS rally classes to be included as part of a meaningful championship.

    It might be useful to give you a little back story on the rally world, since this can get really confusing (just like when folks on our side of the fence try to decipher SCORE/MORE/SNORE/BITD/MDR/WORCS/TORC/DEARGODNOTANOTHERSERIESACRONYM/etc)...

    There are currently 3 major sanctioning bodies in the US, with 2 of them crossing the border to various degrees into Canada. The current fracture is not good for us as a sport -- ARA is essentially a recent break away contingent of former Rally America folks, while NASA Rally Sport has existed since 2003 or so and attempted to fulfill a more grass-roots role. RA took over when SCCA exited due to concern about exposure after tragic and successive deaths of spectators and then competitors (Subaru factory team of Lovell/Freeman) around the same time. NASA is split into 2 regions -- West and East -- and just like the geographical divide, tends to exhibit a bit of a cultural divide.

    The reality from my perspective is that sanctioning bodies are vendors to the organizers. They provide event liability insurance, sanctioning (a set of uniform rules and oversight via impartial stewards), and may provide a championship structure. NRS West has the Pacific Rally Cup, which covers any NRS event West of the Mississippi -- but note that they only have 2 classes: 2WD and AWD. Because NRS is grass-roots focused and recognizes the challenges inherent with each type of vehicle, there is not an emphasis on overall event winners.

    Anything provided by the sanctioning beyond that is icing on the cake (so long as it's not onerous IMHO). NRS West does a lot of social media, they provide registration software, etc. Frazier and Gorman are sanctioned by NRS. NRS created a set of technical SxS rules for 2017 with our input. However, and this is important because this is complicated, they don't yet have a SxS championship.

    Cue the California Rally Series. An overlay championship (we don't care who sanctions your event, we just provide some standard classes and some basic rules that supplement the technical build and operations rules provided by the sanctioning body), the series does get a bit more granular with its classes. CRS is currently made up of 6 events throughout the Southwest (not just confined to CA). This year, they all happen to be sanctioned by NRS, but there have been splits before. These events would likely self-describe as being focused on regional competitors. Fiercely independent, the CRS might also be described as "fair pirates". The Idaho Rally, which has been a CRS event for a decade, has run SxS for several years. This was largely due to the fact that one of the organizers was deeply involved in the local motorcycle scene and because SxS are road-legal in Idaho, so it was practical. In 2016, Gorman Ridge also decided to include SxS, but this is because we're based out of Hungry Valley SVRA (a state-run OHV park), and alternate transits for the otherwise California road NON-legal SxS could be put together. So we ran it. Despite a lot of interest, we only got 1 SxS entry, but that was a great proponent from UTV Driver who wrote some great coverage of his experience. (Thanks to Cain Smead).

    So going forward, you need to be cognizant that every rally is run by a different set of organizers, whose style and culture of executing their events are as varied as the roads upon which the events are run. CRS is a bit of a cult, but in a good way. NRS backs us up with the legal stuff and the rules. In the end, we all want to have fun testing our limits on closed roads with excellent safety, operations, and scoring teams, on courses ranging from forests with 700 year old trees to desert runs to whatever we can find in-between.

    Here's some insight on the current CRS events:

    High Desert Trails
    (early May): Very fast, sweeping stages on county roads near Ridgecrest (adjacent to Jawbone). Does not currently offer SxS, but it's not uncommon to hit 100+ mph. Lots of stage miles.

    Frazier Mountain Rally (May 20): SxS EVENT, based in Frazier Park, CA. The most technical road in CRS, a 1500' elevation change through the trees, operating on the only US Forest Service permit in the United States issued in the past decade and the newest event in the series. (Heard of Rim of the World? Been a while since we've had a real forest rally like this in the Southwest). Due to changes in the Forest administration and staffing issues, we were unable to add the second road we were after, Grade Valley. This road has a completely different dynamic and is fast and flowing. Maybe next year.

    Idaho Rally (June 8-11): SxS EVENT. Based out of Boise and running to Placerville, the roads are fast and flowing through the forest. It's a long rally, with many stage miles.

    Gorman Ridge Rally (August 19): SxS EVENT. The oldest consecutively-running rally in CRS, based out of the Hungry Valley SVRA in Gorman, CA. Regional folks are likely very familiar with this OHV park, but when was the last time you ran flat out with these roads closed, racing over the span of 12 hours with night stages? We've been told the atmosphere is like a family reunion more than a rally. With both highly technical and fast stages, an SxS could be extremely competitive in the overall. Easy spectating for certain stages.

    Prescott Rally (October 6-7): SxS EVENT. Fast roads through the Prescott Forest, with one stage running an old mining railway bed up to historic Jerome. SxS are road-legal in AZ, but speeds may favor the rally cars.

    Mendocino Rally (October 28): SxS EVENT (non-points for rally cars). Flowing roads in the BLM Cow Mountain OHV area outside of Ukiah, this compact event with essentially no transit could be perfect for SxS. Given its location in NorCal, could also attract a new group of SxS enthusiasts from an area not used to SxS desert racing.

    So that's the initial deal. At this point, we're all doing a little improvising, adapting, and overcoming. Neither ARA nor RA have any plans of which we're aware to add SxS. The regional SouthWest Rally Cup series (which had been part of the CRS at one point) has included SxS in their series, but some of their events have either been cancelled or rescheduled, and so far those events that have included SxS have only allowed them to run on select stages as I understand it.

    Here's the TL;DR: generally in the Southwest, each Event is put on by an Organizer, sanctioned by NASA, and recognized as a championship via the California Rally Series in one of two classes -- SxS Production Turbo or SxS Production.

    Hope that's a good jumping off point. We're stoked to have the cross-breeding begin and look forward to the results. There will be events in which SxS will have the advantage and others in which they will not. Us regional rallyists welcome the new competition and look forward to having some new friends on the stages.

    EDITED: (now that I can provide links):

    NASA Rally Sport General Rules Page
    GRR Sections 1&2 - Event Rules
    GRR Section 6 - RallySxS™ Rules (technical build & operational rules)

    California Rally Series Rulebook
    CRS SxS (championship rules): See Appendix B

    Happy to answer any questions. Cheers!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
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  9. dezertracer

    dezertracer Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    OK i'm sold. We will be doing the next one in Gorman. Anyone know a good place to practice that's safe in the SoCal area? I don't want to come flying around a corner into someone.
     
  10. Mad Media

    Mad Media Mad Media

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Rally Dude. Great info.
     
  11. RallyDude

    RallyDude New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    On the practice side of things, note that most rallies have a 90 day moratorium on "recce" or testing -- aka. pre-running the roads. So testing in Hungry Valley is basically out until late August, plus it's pretty busy there. As an organizer who utilizes the park and as someone who had a head-on with a Jeep driven by an inexperienced off-roader there, I'd suggest anyone interested go somewhere else to test.

    It's been a while since I've been out to Cal City, but that used to be a popular place to test rally suspensions that were setup for the SoCal high desert style roads. Remember, we tend to run on hard packed dirt roads -- think fire or service roads. We're not blazing our own trails through the sagebrush. (Most rally cars have 8-15" of travel).

    A couple of other notes -- you'll be required to undergo a physical and that paperwork will need to be submitted to NASA before the event for review. Give yourself a few weeks if you're serious about competing. You'll also be required to go through a novice competitor orientation for the first three events, but look at it as an opportunity to ask questions about stage and timing operations. The way timing works and the penalties involved can be very confusing to those new to the sport (and even to those who may have significant experience in other racing disciplines).

    Last, since we're still tuning the rules, expect some changes that may be event-specific. Events have "Supplemental Regulations" -- aka. supp regs. These are either in addition to or supersede elements in the rulebook. For Frazier, we clarified that SxS could use larger wheels than what is noted in the rulebook. This will likely carry forward for other events, but you should keep an eye out.

    And don't be afraid to reach out to rally organizers for clarification or if you have suggestions. Most of us organizers don't bite. (Very hard!) :)
     
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  12. dezertracer

    dezertracer Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2016
    RallyDude,
    I went thru the rule book and had a couple questions.
    1- 10lb fire extinguisher seems big for a little car. I have a 2.5lb in the car and 5lb outside is that ok?
    2- I have window nets but they are not SFI rated, do I need different nets?
    3- I didnt see anything about an age limit. My son is my navigator and he is 15
     
  13. RallyDude

    RallyDude New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    @dezertracer:

    1: EDITED: You need a combined 10BC, per the rules:
    3.13
    Fire Extinguishers
    3.13.1
    Number
    One fire extinguisher with a minimum UL rating of 10 BC or two
    each with a minimum rating of 5 BC must be installed inside the
    passenger compartment. During installation, consideration must be
    given to quick release and security of attachment. One fire
    extinguisher must be located within easy reach of the Driver or Co-
    Driver when seated.

    2: Do your nets have a certification?
    3: Does your son have a learner's permit? Here's the section of the NASA GRRs Sections 1&2 (full PDF found here) that covers age, although we can always ask for an exemption:

    2.5.4
    Competitor Eligibility
    All drivers and riders must be at least 18 years of age to compete
    in stage rallies and rally sprints. Co-drivers must be 16 years of
    age or older. Co-drivers under 18 years of age must present a
    permission form signed by two parents or guardians, and must
    have at least one parent or guardian present at the event. All
    competitors must have a valid driver’s license. Foreign drivers and
    riders must have a valid driver’s license from their home country
    and any additional permits, licenses and documents required
    allowing them to legally operate their vehicle in the United States

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
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  14. Mad Media

    Mad Media Mad Media

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
  15. Mad Media

    Mad Media Mad Media

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Here is a little more info on Rhys car set up:

    Seeing that this was our first rally event in the Polaris both Stephan and I agreed to run similar components but with different options. The original plan for me was to build up my 2017 turbo 2 seat car but time didn't permit it with the scheduled work load we currently have.

    On my desert car we changed the following:
    Reduced the front ride height to the lowest we could go on the spring collars and chose to retain the same spring rate - this resulted in a reduced operating heights of 3.5" We then lowered the rear 3" with a 1/2" rake.

    There is a tire maximum height rule of 30" so we switched from the regular Tensor DS 32" to the Tensor 30" regulator. I have never driven on this tire so we decided to shave the top surface and ad a grove to the blocks to mimic a traditional rally style of tire. While this specific tire is very heavy the compound and side Wally structure proved very effective on the stages.

    After testing the vehicle we also made the choice to stagger the tire pressure, something we do not typically do in desert racing but with more aggressive steering inputs and corner speed we reduced the front pressure 4 psi less than the rear.

    One of the biggest changes that was specific for the location came at the half time service where we changed to spring weights on the clutching to match the altitude we were running at. I have never run the cars at 5-6 thousand feet in elevation and unnoticed a big loss in rpm over the first two stabbed. We could only reach a maximum of 8100rpm, with the change we could hit our target 8750rpm providing much more power allowing a far better driving balance on the stages.

    I feel for a big car that is handled very very well, not the best suited wheel base length for the tight corners and distance between the trees but these stages would be the extreme for others IG these conditions. 20% softer on spring rate would allow for the chassis to grip more and reduce the ride height another 2-3" and it would be perfect.

    Overall this was the ultimate event for a SXS to run heads to heads with a rally car but I honestly feel that for the California rally series a SXS can win every event overall even the faster stage events as the maximum sustained time above 90mph is so minimal that the efficiency of the other 90% of the time is in favor of a SXS.
    I'm hooked - just need to build a lighter machine to whoop Steph - ha ha. Jk, so happy for him, one of the most passionate people I know to enjoy the thrill of driving and rally!

    Rhys Millen
     
  16. Mad Media

    Mad Media Mad Media

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    Jun 17, 2013
  17. sv12

    sv12 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2015
    - Its not 10lb, its 10BC. a normal size extinguisher that you see on most SXS is a 10BC.
    - I got my nets from Sparco, they attache with velcro and are SFI.
    - I'm not sure about age limit on co-driver.
     
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  18. RallyDude

    RallyDude New Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    I edited my longwinded post above to include direct links to the rules for NASA and CRS.

    And Rhys' info above is good. Here is some additional perspective from Cain Smead (the top normally aspirated SxS at Frazier) and some lessons he learned about setup at Idaho.

    Thanks for the article, Matt! Extra thanks for including the great shots of some of the rally cars!
     
  19. Rusty5150

    Rusty5150 UTVUG PHOTOG

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    Jan 9, 2009
    I will be racing Gorman in Project Recon.


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  20. Rusty5150

    Rusty5150 UTVUG PHOTOG

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    This type of driving has always been my favorite. But it's sketchy doing it on roads with two way traffic. I can't wait for the next local event.


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