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Rallying makes up the majority of the "grassroots" of amateur motorsport, especially in the United Kingdom. Motor Clubs will usually run one or more rallies each year. Rallies fall into many categories each with different rules and aimed at different skill levels. The two basic categories are special stage rallies and road rallies.

Special stage rallies

In a stage rally, competitive driving takes place on closed roads or off the public highway. Stage rallies are the basis for WRC and professional rallying. The emphasis of stage rallies is on speed and driving ability. Navigation of such events is based heavily on pacenotes.

Many Stage rallies also include super special stages where two cars compete head to head on mirrored courses with a crossover. Although the cars are on separate courses, the crossover allows them to drive each side of the course once and travel the same distance. Such stages are usually held in stadiums so both spectators and press can see the entire stage unfold and emulate the excitement of wheel to wheel racing.

Stage rallies evolved from Road Rallies - motor rallies in the early days were all road rallies, but gradually they started to incorporate the idea of a "special stage", which would consist of a competitive section off the public road or with some other unique quality. More and more of these special stages were added to get around the increasing number of restrictions about what could be allowed on the public road, and eventually the entire sport evolved into the two separate forms that exist today.

Road rallies

In a road rally, competitive driving takes place (in part or whole) on the open public highway. Road rallies were historically the basis of all rallies, and stage rallying evolved from them. However, these days they are strictly reserved for the amateur, due to the obvious danger that could arise to the public. The emphasis of road rallies is on navigational accuracy and teamwork. Indeed, the navigator is often seen as someone playing a minor role when in fact he or she is actually the key member of the crew.

There are other types of rally which are popular at club level:

Most of these involve varying degrees of map-reading and navigation skills. If you're interested in finding out more about rally navigation and techniques, check out the links below.

  • Rally principles and definitions
  • Rally navigation techniques, tips and tricks


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