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“Did I write down that there was a small jump past turn 38?”

~ Dead guy on Rally Racing

“There's a plus on it...there's a plus on it...Give her 4th lad!!!...she's fucking screaming for it.....go on away!!......go on aawwaaayyy!!!..........FLATTEN IT!!!! FLATTEN IT!!!!!! ”

~ Barry Meade, rally co-driver

“"1 Right long opens over small crest, 150 don't cut, turn square left 40" "Square left?" "JUST DRIVE IT'S QUICKER"”

~ Driver and co-driver, mid stage

Rallying, also known as Rally racing, is a form of motor competition that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars. With stickers. Lots of stickers.

This motorsport is distinguished by running not on a circuit, but instead in a point-to-point format in stages which have as many hazards as possible. You name it, its there. Cars destroy trees, cliff edges, and if it's dangerous and you can drive into it, you'll usually find it on a rally stage. Rallies may be won by driving prowess, a deathwish, bribery, or a combination of all three.

Rally competitors[edit | edit source]

The competitors of rally racing can be split into two distinct categories.

Drivers[edit | edit source]

The driver's responsibility during the rally is to drive as fast as possible from point A to point B in the least amount of time possible. Of all the disciplines of racing, Rallying is the only race form that requires the competitors to suffer from a medical complaint commonly known as "Balls of Steel". In order to compete they must have:

  • The reactions of a Cobra
  • The bravery of a Lion
  • The precision of a Chameleon
  • The stamina of a Racehorse
  • and the personal welfare of a Lemming

Co-drivers[edit | edit source]

The Co-drivers job is to sit in a car being driven at breakneck speed whilst reading page after page of handwritten pace notes to the driver who is relying on the constant stream of information to keep the car on the road. Rally drivers are unable to drive competitively without a constant stream of information from their co-drivers. Losing your place and having to go back to the beginning is considered hazardous to your life. The demands of rally co-driving vary from driver to driver, but the best co-driver in existence is Mr. Barry Meade from Ireland. Follow this YouTube link to see why.

Interaction between driver and co-driver[edit | edit source]

Prior to the rally taking place, drivers are allowed to run on the stages of the course before competition and create their own pacenotes. This process is called reconnaissance or recce. During reconnaissance, the co-driver writes down shorthand notes on how to best drive the stage. These pacenotes are read aloud through an internal intercom system during the actual race, with the driver applying his judgement against what the co-driver has written down and how he thinks the course should be driven. An example of this interaction is detailed below.

Example notes, to be read by the co-driver:

MC1 100 KL2 100 KR2 200 SQL 100 KR4 50J!->R2+ (D/C!) 100 +SQR 400 F->CR->KL4 100 MC2

How the notes are read to the driver:

From Main Control 1 (start), 100 meters straight to a kink left, severity 2 100 meters, kink right severity 2 200 m, square left (90°) 100 m, kink right severity 4 50 m, Jump (caution!) into immediate right hand bend severity 2 tightens (caution, don't cut [the corner, due to hazard on the inside]!) 100 m, over square right 400 m, flat (maximum speed) into crest into kink left severity 4 100 m to Main Control 2 (finish)

How driver interprets the notes:

"This guy's an idiot, what does he know? I'll just go like hell everywhere!" (God bless his fireproof socks.)

A typical rally vehicle. Spectator laying in hollow of road just out of shot.

Spectators[edit | edit source]

Rallying is a unique spectating experience for any motorsport enthusiast. Talk to any rally enthusiast and they will happily tell you that nothing beats getting up at 4am, driving 200 miles into the breacon beacons, abandoning the car in the middle of nowhere, walking across country for several miles, finding the stage, then hanging around for 6 hours freezing your conkers off before an unrecognizable car, covered from sill to roof in mud, tears past at 100mph, covering you in stones and mud.

Spectator evolution[edit | edit source]

Naturally this uniqueness has meant that rally spectators have evolved a number of defenses against the environment they exist in. Bobble hats which stay on no matter what speed the competitors hit them have been seen on the stages for years but in addition to this, most spectators have developed a thick skin which is impervious to cold, rain, wind, fire and the specially sharpened rocks which are fired in their direction at 150mph from the car's wheels when they race past. Spectators stomachs are completely impervious to e.coli, salmonella, listeria and MRSA as a result of a diet consisting of what passes for food but is more accurately viewed as all the steaming shite they can chuck out of a caravan window.

The deconstructed rally spectator[edit | edit source]

Most significant of all is the rally spectators evolved lack of judgement. Upon entering the stage, the spectators sense of personal safety, fear and common sense disappears entirely and is replaced by a mixture of recklessness, impulsiveness, bravado, patriotism and stupidity. Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • standing in front of the frighteningly fast moving car to take a picture before moving out the way before the car fills the entire viewfinder.
  • standing in front of the frighteningly fast moving car and waving the national flag of the driver in an attempt to get him to drive faster
  • standing in front of the frighteningly fast moving car to see how late you can leave it before getting out of the way
  • standing in front of the frighteningly fast moving car, causing it to crash for the purposes of rolling it off it's roof and back onto the road so it can set off again
  • standing in front of the frighteningly fast moving car just after a jump then laying down as it approaches. The speed of the should render the car airborne as it passes over you.

The modern rally spectator was first observed in 1907, in his natural habitat of bouncing off the bonnet of Sir Charles Charles' Bentley during stage 3, day two of the Monte Carlo Rally.

Typical Rally Environments[edit | edit source]

There are many environments that a rally car can rip through. Common ones include:

  • Dirt
  • Gravel
  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Tarmac

There are also uncommon environments that a rally car can tear through. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Wilderness
  • Tameness
  • Isolated islands
  • Isolated planets
  • Minefields
  • No-man's land
  • Around spectators
  • Over spectators
  • Under spectators
  • Through spectators
  • Around volcanoes
  • Inside volcanoes
  • Inside the human psyche
  • North America

Other Motorsports[edit | edit source]