This article might be slightly out of date. Still, general principles and advice still applies.
My aim with this article will hopefully be to get one or two members of the 205GTIDrivers interested in competing in Motor Sport and give you a little insight into what is involved and how easy it is to get started. The concept of Sprint and Hill Climbing is a very easy one to grasp, you are timed from point A to point B and the fastest time wins it's that simple, it must be if I can do it believe you me.
The two disciplines are basically the same except for the following:
SPRINTS: These are normally held on air fields, race circuits, or Kart circuits and are on a fairly level surface.
HILL CLIMBS: These are normally held in Stately Homes or Parks and use the tarmac roads within the venue's and again the concept is simple you start at the bottom of the hill and the finish is at the top or near the top.
The first thing you will need to do is join a local Motor Sport car club and the easiest way to find the nearest one to you is to contact the MSA or as they are known the Motor Sports Association, now there are one of two things you can do you could ask them to supply that current years competition year book and clubs and fixtures list which you may have to pay for or you could ask them to send you a Competition Licence form and you will receive the two above books with your Licence once you have paid for it.
The competition licence required to allow you to compete in Sprints or Hill Climbs is a NON-RACE NATIONAL "B", this will cost £29.00 at the time this article was written in 2002 and you will need to pay for a new one each year, when it arrives you will need a passport size photo for the top right corner. If you've joined a club while you are waiting for your licence to arrive which can be up to eight weeks unless you pay for the quicker service it may be worth you're while going out to an event to see what is involved and the type of cars that are running as they can be quite diverse, it will help you familiarise yourself with the way the paddock is laid out how the cars run in their relevant class and if your club is running it you may be able to help out as all the Marshals give their time free.
There are six classes available for cars in the road going and these six are split up into two categories:
1) STANDARD RD GOING
2) MODIFIED RD GOING
The two above classes may change in their wording slightly across different championships but the concept is the same, the two above categories are then split into 3 sets of engine capacities, I'll try to keep it as simple as possible:
STANDARD RD GOING:
- CLASS 1, up to 1400cc
- CLASS 2, 1400cc up to 2000cc
- CLASS 3, over 2000cc
MODIFIED RD GOING:
- CLASS 4, up to 1400cc
- CLASS 5, 1400cc up to 2000cc
- CLASS 6, over 2000cc
NOTE: Turbo cars are seen as having a 40% capacity increase and so as an example a 1350 Turbo car will run in the up to 2000cc capacity class this is for petrol cars, Diesel cars will for example will have the opposite effect a 1600cc Diesel car would run in the up to 1400cc class. Check with the regs first, as this may not always apply.
STANDARD PRODUCTION CLASS:
If you are running in this class no modifications are allowed as the idea is to run the car as it comes out of the box the things you will be allowed to do are listed in the MSA blue book section L which lists all the regulations for all the classes in Sprint and Hill Climbing, also section R list 1A will give you all the makes of tyres you can use in the road going classes. Modifications allowed in this class, tyres up to 1inch wider, brake pad material can be changed and front seats can be changed for a competition type, and roll cages can be fitted.
MODIFIED RD GOING:
As the name suggests you can modify the car within certain constraints, induction is free as are brakes, suspension, engine, gear box, with the last two you can only modify the internals and they must be the engine gear box and final drive as fitted to that model by the manufacturer, eg: you cant fit a 16 valve engine to the 205 or run a 205 with the GTI 6 gearbox on the 8-valve engine, also these must remain in their original positions, the body work must retain its original shape above the wheel centres. so you can't fit after market rear spoilers etc unless the manufacturer supplies them as a standard option. The carpets can be removed and a roll cage fitted along with the front seats, rear seats must remain in original position, the MSA blue book will give you all the details as required, but as a word of warning check fully the regulations of the particular championship you are running in, all the championships will have an eligibility scrutineer you can check with.
Russ (RED) at The New Brighton Sprint, © Steve Wilkinson Photographic
Ok the next thing to do is kit yourself out and as this is your own safety you are looking at I wouldn't compromise, as a base you will need a helmet and fire proof overalls and this is all you need to be able to compete and this in general should be enough, but you can also buy the following:
- Fire proof race boots
- Fire proof gloves
- Fire proof underwear and balaclava
Fireproof overalls can range from £150.00 up to £400; I use the Sparco sprint range which cost £195 in 1995, they will also have a Nomex badge and control label in the neck. Helmet, again this is very important and these range from £100 up to £500, again I use a Sparco ES full face, this will have a BS certified sticker and number on it, this cost me £195.00 in 1995. The rest of the options are as said options and I leave it to your own judgement on what to buy, one thing I would say is don't buy 2nd hand buy new from one of the major Motor Sport outlets around the country, these will advertise in the Magazines such as CCC and Motor Sport News.
Note: On arrival at your first event the scrutineer will look for a MSA or RAC approved for Motor Sport sticker on the helmet you won't have one and he will supply one for £1.00, stick this on and you will be ok for your next events until it runs out, don't ask??? Also don't be tempted to draw or write your name on the helmet it may not be passed.
Equipment for the car:
There is very little you need to do to the car but there are one or two items you will need and these are as follows:
1) TIMING STRUT
2) WHITE BACKGROUND AND NUMBERS
This is very simple to make and can be made of metal or plastic or any rigid material, it bolts to the front of the car and must be the furthest point forward on the car in a vertical plain, the size of the strut is 255mm x 51mm and must be matt black, max distance of the bottom of the strut from the ground 200mm, and the top of the strut a maximum of 454mm from the ground, if you look at the picture entitled timing strut this will show it better.
WHITE BACKGROUND AND NUMBERS:
These can be done in a variety of ways and as long as the marshals can see them and they meet the requirements in size its up to you, as an example a size A4 sheet of card and a black felt tip pen is the easiest and cheapest way to number the car and then stick it onto the inside of each back door side window. I use a magnetic white strip on the door panel I then purchased a set of numbers and stuck these to some of the spare magnetic strip I had left and then cut these out, I now have two full sets of numbers that I just stick on with magnetism it takes me no more than 5 min's to get the car ready for scrutineering.
With the above the car will be ready for scrutineering but there are one or two other things that you will need to do to make the passing a little easier:
1) Tag the battery negative with yellow tape
2) Strap your brake fluid reservoir with cable ties or a large jubilee clip
3) Inside the car mark your ignition switch with an arrow and show the OFF direction.
4) Make sure the fuel filler cap has a good rubber seal on it and its not looking a little perished, this came in as an inspection in 2001.
5) At this point they will also check your Tax disc is up to date, they may ask for the MOT document and insurance documents and the keen ones may even check the MOT vin plate number matches the one on the chassis. You may think this is a little keen but you will see for yourself some of the cars entered in the rd going classes may look a little more like race cars and will arrive on trailers, I will leave it up to you to decide if they are entering into the spirit of the sport??
So you've got your licence, joined a club, got the car ready and found a championship in your region you are ready to enter your first event.
Russ (RED) at The New Brighton Sprint, © Steve Wilkinson Photographic
Entering an event:
Entering your first event should be simple, as I've said with your club you've registered for a local championship and the fees vary from £10-00 and upwards, you should have received with your registration number a set of fixtures and regulations for the championship and all the classes, you will probably find that there is a set of details for your class read these carefully and make sure your car conforms, somebody in the club will no doubt be able to help. The championship will normally have different awards available for winners, eg:
1) OVERALL WINNER
2) SPRINT CHAMPION
3) HILL CLIMB CHAMPION
4) BEST LADY
5) BEST NOVICE
6) MARSHALS AWARD
So as you can see there is a chance for everyone, you will also find a handicap system in progress the idea is to give all competitors a chance to win the overall championship, I won't go into details on what is used as some do have a complicated system, but a base idea is as follows all classes may have a current class winning record for each class and the closer you get to the record the more points scored.
Inside the championship booklet will be a list of events for your championship along with contact numbers of the clubs organising those particular events, you may automatically go on their mailing list once you've registered but just in case your not on it tel the contact numbers and ask them to send you a set of SR's which are suplementary regulations, when these arrive they will have a set of entry forms possibly for the hole season so there may be more than one, check that the event you enter is on the correct form for date & event, there will possibly be entry forms for different championships just leave these and check for the events relevant to you as a lot of clubs run in different championships.
THE ENTRY FORM:
This is straight forward, you will be asked name and address, car details, novice/expert, competition licence number, championship registration number, and possibly a little about your self and the car etc, there will be a section on who to contact if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident etc, and on the back of the form you will be asked to sign a disclaimer which you should read so you understand your position should something happen, these last two items must be filled in or your entry may be returned, my advice is ask somebody in the club to help. Note there will be a minimum date by which the entry will be accepted up to the event.
This can vary from club to club, event to event and championship to championship but can start at £50.00 and above.
Note: To help with admin for the event I send 4 labels with my address on them, as these people do it in their own time.
You should receive a card with entry accepted on it, this means you are in the event, it may have some other info on it such as your final instructions will be sent a week before the event, this card normally comes with in one to two weeks of them receiving your entry.
So you are now ready to compete and all the relevant items above have been covered below is a small list of things you should take, don't go with massive tool boxes and loads of spares as some seem to do, do the work you need on preparing the car at home, remember you are going to compete not spend all day under the bonnet.
Check all the following:
1) Brakes and fluid levels.
2) Oil levels along with spark plugs and ignition etc.
3) Wheels tyres and wheel nuts.
4) Seat belt mounts and seats check all the locks work as the scrutineer will check they all open for obvious reasons.
5) Give the cars suspension and links etc a good inspection and check that all body work and trim is secure.
1) Torque wrench
2) Small socket set
3) Good tyre gauge
4) Pliers, screw drivers, and cutters
5) Insulation tape, tank tape
6) Foot pump or electric, I use electric - much easier
7) Spare set of plugs, leads, fan belt, and WD40 and oil along with can of Petrol and Water with anti freeze
I'll update this article as required or other people may contribute if they wish it would be much appreciated, I hope there is enough information to go and compete but in the main enjoy yourself, set your own targets for times as long as your own improve that is the main objective along with the fun.
Regards Russ.................sprinter / hill climber