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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.

Cross Country

How does Cross Country work?

The top-level events such as those in the MSA 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.

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 kind of car 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.

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. To begin in Cross Country events, all you will need is use of a standard production 4×4 vehicle without any additional safety items.

What equipment do I need?

First of all, join your local Cross Country club. There is 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 can take part in some types of Cross Country Events, such as Tyro, RTV and CCV/Modified Trials, simply under club membership, which can be applied for on the day. For other events such as Timed Trials and Competitive Safaris you will also need a Non-Race Clubman Competition Licence.

So how do I start?

Cross Country
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