So, after getting far too acquainted with the inner workings of Saturns and the 1.9l engine (it's my stepdaughters first car, and I became the "chief mechanic" on it to save us a few bucks. Of course, the car basically self-destructed within weeks of purchase. Running great now, though! ), I think it's time to find a 5-speed variant and go racing with it. I was surprised to find how fun that car is to drive, and that 1.9 is plenty perky. And Rally Cross looks like a blast!
Coming from Jackson, there'd be a lot of travel associated with it, especially if I REALLY got the bug and wanted to hit other sites within the region. So, I'm curious how many people on here travel long distances to the racing sites, and how you get your racer there - do you trailer it, or drive it? Sadly, this may end up being the one expense to keep me from taking on such a great hobby...but I'm hoping not!
I haven't been on the scene very long, so take that into consideration for my observations.
I'm from Midland so most of the RallyX races are an hour or two from me. I was trailering to start, but then I noticed that it seemed to me that the majority of racers just drive there.
The way I see it is that each run is about 1 minute duration and theoretically you get 12 runs. So, you're beating the crap out of your car about 12 minutes total. Personally I don't feel that's a lot of time or mileage to incur a breakdown regardless of the fact you are abusing your vehicle. From my experience most things that break can be identified prior to the actual failure. Not always, but a fair share of the time. Quite often a broken vehicle can be limped home too. Obviously if you go over the basics on your vehicle before making the trip it helps prevent potential breakdowns too.
I also feel the surfaces we race on are pretty good for minimizing the effect of the abuse. Dirt or grass is pretty soft so the drivetrain isn't taking shock loads like it would on concrete. Personally I don't get particularly wild on my initial launch either. I don't bring the RPM's way up and dump the clutch. We're not racing for money and that's really hard on your car in my opinion. So most of the time you're just sliding your car around on the dirt and I don't think that's all that abusive. I think the most abuse mine is getting is from running the engine up to the redline after I get moving. Obviously that's a risk that can be avoided with a more tame driving style that is more geared towards playing it safe vs. trying to be as competitive as possible.
The most common breakdown I've seen is tires that de-bead. You will need to bring at least 1 spare unless you have the tools and knowhow to solve that potential problem on site.
That being said 2 out of the 3 races I've been to I've seen at least 2 cars that ended up in a condition that necessitated them being towed home. I think one could have been prevented with a pre-race maintenance check.
Is it a risk? Yes. I keep that in mind now that I'm not trailering. I usually have a "backup plan" in case something catastrophic happens. It usually consists of having a person available to come get me so I can go home and get the yukon and trailer to retrieve the broken car. It won't take too many trips in the subaru to save enough money to pay for an additional trip with the yukon if I do end up stranded eventually. It doesn't save me the hastle, but my Sundays are usually open anyway.
Hope to see you attend Robert, it is definitely a blast.
I drive my car to each race, and it is my daily driver too. That being said, I have the good AAA that tows for free for the first 100miles. I have used it once in the last 3-4 years of Rally-x racing, and replaced the radiator hose at home for cheap. '02 WRX Rally-x
Scott wrote ... I drive my car to each race, and it is my daily driver too. That being said, I have the good AAA that tows for free for the first 100miles. I have used it once in the last 3-4 years of Rally-x racing, and replaced the radiator hose at home for cheap.
And if you get the top tier AAA membership, you get 1 tow up to 200 miles away for free too.
You'd be surprised how much can go wrong in just 12 minutes. I drive to the event but each time I'm aware that I may not be driving home. It always helps to have a backup plan. Usually the sites we run at are places where you could park it for a few days without much issue. Then you'd just need to get a lift home if you didn't bring a chase car. Or towing is an option... 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 1990 Eagle Talon 1999 Ford Ranger - Retired
I'd say 90% of the people drive their cars to events. I've never trailered my car to a rallycross, though I've probably had to trailer it back more times than anyone on here ... there are usually people who are willing to help. Definitely don't let a lack of a trailer stop you from competing
I've driven 2+ hours to a rallycross/autocross, no big deal.
--Dmitriy #42 M2 TIM Rally Impreza 2.5RS FWD Edition #42 SF Sentra GXE Russian Composite edition Toyota Tundra Tow/Crew/Help-friends-move vehicle
The best plan of action for you is to drive your car to your first few events. This will give you some experience, and a provide you with a good feel for the amount of abuse that rallycross dishes out. Then you can make an informed decision if a trailer is the right thing for you or not.
That being said, there is always a possibility of something going wrong - so a AAA membership can be handy. Or, just pay for a tow truck if you don't need the insurance of AAA all year long. I have many crappy cars in my fleet, so AAA is an absolute must. However, I haven't had to use it for rallycross yet (although I have broken/disabled many things on my car at events - I have always been able to either fix/rig/McGuyver them onsite, or limp home).
There are many variables that determine if your car is going to break or not, but one of the main driving factors is how close your car is to end of life (generally how many miles or how much abuse has it already seen). Brand new cars get scratches in their paint from hitting cones, and that is about it. If your car has 160k on the clock, you are much more likely to have something break - mainly because the parts are past their designed life.
Common failures in no particular order:
-Debeaded tire (just pump them up to 50psi and you won't ever have to worry about this happening).
- CV joints breaking (Hondas and Neons)
- Noisy Wheel bearings (dirt and mud get into the bearing and mess them up - not usually noticeable until after the event is over, and can be caught before a catastrophic failure)
- Exhaust system breakage. (exhausts get rusty, and also bounce around alot on course. Any part of the exhaust is susceptible)
- Ball joint failure (make sure these are in decent shape before you even show up to an event)
- Plastic Fender Liners get ripped out (almost guaranteed to happen if the event is muddy)
- Bumper covers get ripped off (not common, but also related to mud buildup putting too much weight on the dinky stock fasteners)
Sometimes we will trailer our car to an event, sometimes not. If we use the trailer, Karma dictates that the car won't break.
Jon Armstrong RallyX - 172 MF - 1993 Honda Civic Solo - 94 ES - 1988 Porsche 924S
Also State Farm offers towing reimbursement, but you may want to read the fine print on how many miles and the cost cap. The advantage is that you don't have to use specific towing companies. 2009 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 1990 Eagle Talon 1999 Ford Ranger - Retired