A few things to consider as you prepare for a Rally Round adventure
Entry Form & Regulations
The Entry Form will specify what is covered by your entry fee. Please note that it is the responsibility of each participant to arrange car shipping and personal travel to and from the event, and to obtain any necessary Carnet de Passage, visas and travel insurance. On these matters the Rally Office will be happy to advise you.
Whichever rally you choose to enter, you should read the Regulations with care. They contain essential information about the structure and organisation of the event.
As your event draws nearer, we will send you Rally Bulletins via email. These contain vital instructions, information and advice for all competitors, so please read them carefully. They are not to be confused with Newsletters, which contain more general news updates. If you have not already done so, you can subscribe to our Newsletter service via the box at the bottom of this page.
See our dedicated Advice pages on Preparing Your Car and on Spares and Equipment; the latter also serves as a printable packing and Customs Valuation checklist.
Rally Round events are open to all. Indeed we have welcomed competitors aged from 11 to 96, and those particular individuals (Rosa Gordon on the 2014 Paris-Madrid, and Dorothy Caldwell on the Road to Mandalay) navigated their way to second and third in class respectively. If they can do it, so can you!
This pre-supposes that driver and navigator can work together as a team without too many arguments. No matter how gentle the time pressures, rallying can be stressful when things don’t go to plan, when you are tired, hungry, cold and/or wet, when your sense of direction deserts you, when the car breaks down or when competitive adrenaline rises like a heat haze to distort the essential pleasures of a wonderful drive in a beautiful vintage or classic machine. Anyone who has ever argued with their partner on a relatively mundane car journey will know the truth of this, and there is no escaping it when you must sit next to someone in a small car for three days, let alone three weeks. That said, Rally Round events are calmer and more enjoyable than most, thanks to relaxed timing, our insistence on using the most comfortable hotels and the fact that our longer adventures include plenty of rest days, excursions and activities, all guaranteed to put everything back into perspective!
Nevertheless if you have any doubts about the crew relationship, whether you are partners, friends or acquaintances, it would be wise to test yourselves on a short event before embarking on the adventure drive of a lifetime. The qualities and skills that make a good driver or co-driver/navigator is something we may examine in a future Advice article.
As for the nuts and bolts of rallying, if you have previously taken part in a Rally Round event, you will already have some idea of what to expect. If you are a rally novice, we urge you to read our On The Event Advice page.
How much personal luggage should you carry? The temptation is to prepare for every conceivable eventuality but in reality the less you carry the better, even if you don’t go as far as Ford’s works rally team, which many years ago issued its crew with disposable paper underpants. What might reasonably be regarded as a bare minimum obviously varies according to your choice of car and the amount of space available alongside spares, tools and other equipment (including paperwork, maps, phones and cameras, not to mention toiletries and medicines), the length and location of the event, the likely climate and the necessity for warm clothes and/or sunscreen and/or waterproofs, any requirement for period dress or formal wear at the gala prizegiving, the possibility of luggage transport or storage, the availability of hotel laundry facilities or how happy you are to make do with just a single change of quick-drying underwear and a bottle of fabric wash. If possible, physically check that both crew members can fit everything they need into in the car before it is transported to the event – and don’t forget to leave space for souvenirs and a couple of rally trophies!
The Road Book you receive at Signing-On will be as accurate as possible (see our On The Event Advice page for a guide to Road Book content). Nevertheless, if you stray off the rally route, whether deliberately or in error, you will need a good map. Before each event we will publish a list of recommended sheet maps, and it is advisable to order these in plenty of time (even the best shops are unlikely to stock every map on the list). A road atlas is a poor substitute, but better than nothing.
At Signing-On, you will be able to view a complete set of maps marked with the rally route, and you should copy the route onto your own maps at the earliest opportunity (it always takes longer than you think). Most navigators use felt-tipped highlighter pens for this purpose (orange and pink are the most legible colours) and you will need more than one pen to mark the entire route of a 1300km rally such as Paris-Madrid, which covers more than a dozen sheets at 1:100000 scale (1cm = 1km).
On events in remote parts of the world, where good maps are not available, it might be permissible to use GPS navigation units, which are not allowed on European events. This will be made clear in advance.
As we continue to expand these Advice pages, you will be able to find answers to many frequently asked questions. Nevertheless, if you are unsure of anything at all please contact the Rally Office. We would much rather answer enquiries in advance than be faced with a difficult problem on the far side of the world.