The best reason for getting your 4x4 out of town

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Cross Country

Cross Country events are the best reason for getting your 4×4 out of town and doing what it was designed for! This off-road discipline combines elements of rallying and trials, depending on the specific type of event.

How does Cross Country work?

The top-level events such as those in the Britpart Motorsport UK British Cross Country Championship take place on off-road course of up to 10 miles in length. A ‘bogey’ time, called the Penalty Free Time Allowance (PFTA) is set for the course. Each competitor completes the course several times and is given penalties for exceeding the bogey. As with rallying, the winner is the competitor with the smallest aggregate time penalty.

Trials feature courses, called sections, marked out by a series of gates. The further you get through each section without stopping or hitting the gate, the lower the penalty.

Team Recovery events allow teams of vehicles to traverse the course by means of self-recovery or team effort. The winner is the team who complete it in the shortest time.

How do I start?

First of all, join your local Cross Country club, which you can find using the Find a Club function. It is also advisable to go along to events and talk to organisers and competitors to find out more as they can share their experience and advice.

There are a wide range of sub-disciplines under the Cross Country umbrella, so it’s best to check out each particular discipline to find out which one suits your particular interest or budget.

The All Wheel Drive Club has information on Trials, Competitive Safaris, Team Recovery and Hill Rallies, while the Association of Land Rover Clubs is dedicated to such events for Land Rovers.

You will need a free Motorsport UK RS Clubman Competition Licence to take part Cross Country Events, such as Tyro, RTV and CCV/Modified Trials, Timed Trials and Competitive Safaris.

This will change as you progress through the sport. More information can be found here

It depends on the type of Cross Country event but generally it will need to be four-wheel-drive and able to cope with rough terrain.

Tyro Trials can be tackled in standard showroom 4x4s, while for RTV Trials you will need a more aggressive set of road legal tyres and perhaps some modification to the car’s approach and departure angles.

Beyond RTV Trials the increasing competitive nature and severity of terrain tackled will require progressively the installation and use of a full roll cage then full safety harness.

What equipment do I need?

Whatever you do will involve a fair amount of walking around the course/sections so you’ll need a good pair of shoes or boots and some form of waterproof clothing close to hand.

While you don’t need fireproof overalls you should always ensure that your clothing is made from natural fibres rather than man-made and that your limbs are fully covered. Motorsport UK-compliant helmets are required for all timed events.

Where can I find technical regulations for Cross Country?

Technical regulations for Cross Country are found in section P of the Motorsport UK Yearbook. Specific event or Championship regulations are found in Supplementary Regulations (SRs) made available by the organiser.

What safety equipment needs to be fitted to my car?

Tyro Trials cater for the use of a standard production 4×4 vehicle without any additional safety items. For other Cross Country disciplines, vehicles are required to have safety equipment such as a Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) and a fire extinguisher to acceptable standards, details of which can be found in section P of the Motorsport UK Yearbook.

What personal protective equipment do I need to wear?

Flame resistant overalls and gloves are strongly recommended for all Cross Country events. The requirement to wear a helmet to approved standards differs depending on the discipline – it is a requirement for Hill Rallies, Competitive Safaris, Timed Trials, Team Recovery and Point to Point. Details can be found in section P and section K of the Motorsport UK Yearbook.