A few things to consider as you prepare for your Rally Round adventure
Entry form & regulations
The entry form will specify what is covered by your entry fee, and when it must be paid. 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 emails containing vital instructions, information and advice - please read them carefully. They are not to be confused with more general newsletters, which are not event-specific although they may contain useful and interesting updates. If you have not already done so, you can subscribe to Rally Round’s quarterly Newsletter service via the link at the bottom of this page.
Car preparation - rally plates and decals
See the Preparing your Car and Spares and Equipment pages; the latter may serve as a printable packing and Customs valuation checklist. Remember to pack fixings for your rally plates if you have not already attached them. For tips on applying self-adhesive competition numbers and other decals, see the Scrutineering section of the On the Event page.
Rally Round events are open to all. We have welcomed crews of all experience levels and none, individuals from 11 to 98 years of age, in cars of all shapes and sizes dating from 1903 to 2017. The one thing these crews had in common was an ability to 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. 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 for a week, let alone a month or more.
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 and excursions, not to mention leisurely stops for morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea - all guaranteed to put everything back into perspective! Nevertheless if you have any doubts about the crew relationship, whether you are partners, relatives, friends or acquaintances, it would be wise to test yourselves on a short event or driving holiday before embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
Successful rally crews share an ability to work as a team without too many arguments
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the date on which you will leave a particular country. In our experience this is a rule that immigration officials are unwilling to bend, even for a couple of days, and failure to comply will result in you being denied entry at the border. You must supply the rally office with copies of all crew passports in advance - the deadline is specified in the Competitors’ Obligations section of the event regulations. The information is required in order to obtain official permissions and hotel bookings, and cannot be overlooked.
Depending on your nationality, you might require one or more visas for an international event; you can check the requirements online at www.travcour.com. Obtaining visas for several countries in turn can be a time-consuming process; you might be without your passport for several weeks, so consider applying for a second one if necessary.
Carnet de Passages
A Carnet de Passages en Douanes is an internationally recognised Customs document entitling the holder to temporarily import a vehicle duty-free into certain countries (generally outside Europe), which normally require a deposit against import charges. Valid for a maximum of one year, it may contain five, 10 or 25 pages, permitting an equivalent number of border crossings – if you enter a country more than once (perhaps on a return journey) a new page will be used each time. Every page is divided into three sections; the lower section is removed by Customs on entry into a country, the middle section is removed on exit and the upper, counterfoil section is stamped once on entry and once on exit. These endorsements prove that a vehicle has complied with the temporary import conditions and discharge responsibility for any possible future import charges. Countries not covered by a particular Carnet are noted in a list of exclusions on each page and the back cover.
If you use an FIA-approved shipper such as CARS (www.carseurope.net) they can arrange a Carnet for you. The cost will depend on the estimated value of your car.
Rally Round’s event entry fees usually include third-party vehicle insurance, but you must arrange your own personal travel/accident cover, which is compulsory for every participant. Rally Round is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Tyser & Co Ltd (Tysers), an Insurance Intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (registration number 308648) and we are confident that they will be able to make any insurance arrangements you may require, including comprehensive cover. An application form will be sent to you on receipt of your deposit or entry fee; having received the completed form, Tysers will issue quotations for Motor, Transit and Travel insurance. You are free to arrange alternative cover if you wish.
You do not require a competition licence to take part in a Rally Round event, but any participant intending to drive must have (and carry) a valid road driving licence. An International Driving Permit can be useful in any dealings with local authorities abroad, as it contains translations in 10 languages and may be handed over instead of your real licence. For a small fee you may obtain an IDP from the Post Office or motoring organisations such as the AA and the RAC. IDPs are valid for one year, but cannot be issued more than three months before the departure date you specify on your application form.
If you are taking part in an event in distant lands, you will need to entrust your car to a reputable vehicle shipping or transport agent such as CARS Europe; we will of course inform you of any special shipping deals or recommendations in good time. You may also use a vehicle transport service for rallies closer to home, allowing you to fly to and from the start and finish (or spend more time exploring either location) unencumbered by anything more than overnight bags – but do make sure you have allowed space for those bags in the car unless you intend to use our luggage transport service.
As with all rally preparation, it’s essential to make vehicle transport arrangements well in advance. That ship to the far side of the world will not wait for you!
On our 2017 Samurai Challenge in Japan, several crews arrived to find that that their cars had developed minor electrical problems in the humid conditions of the Fukuoka port warehouse. If you are sending a car to an event in the tropics, it might help to give everything a liberal coating of water-repellant (WD40 or similar) or pack some dessicant material.
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. Comfortable, flexible clothing is essential for long hours in the car; modern lightweight ‘technical’ fabrics are ideal as they take up relatively little space and dry quickly. You will probably need a rest day to take advantage of any hotel laundry facilities, but if you carry a small bottle of fabric wash you may wash clothes in your room and dry them overnight (bring a wire hanger or two in case the hotel only has the theft-proof type).
What might be regarded as a bare minimum of clothing is obviously a personal matter, and may be influenced by your choice of car and the amount of space available alongside spares, tools and other equipment, the length and location of the event, the likely climate and necessity for warm layers and/or waterproofs, and any requirement for period dress or formal wear at the gala prizegiving; at the very least, given that Rally Round uses the best available hotels, you will probably want to change into ‘smart casual’ clothing for dinner.
Most Rally Round events are accompanied by a luggage bus, so for a small fee you may travel lighter during the day. If you prefer to carry your bags with you, check that both crew members can fit everything 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!
Racing helmets and fireproof overalls are not required on Rally Round events.
Some organizers require or recommend that you buy a series of sheet maps, on which you may mark the entire rally route by referring to information provided before the start. To mark a 1,500km route at 1:100000 scale (1cm = 1km) you will need a dozen maps and at least two fluorescent highlighter pens (orange or pink are the most legible colours).
However, Rally Round events do not involve much map work; the route information you need will be contained in a comprehensive roadbook, which may include supplementary maps in case you stray off route. If you wish to carry a road atlas or maps as a back-up, order them in plenty of time as even the best shops are unlikely to stock everything you are looking for. Except in very remote regions, the use of satellite navigation units is not permitted (and confers little competitive advantage anyway) but Rally Round will fit its own GPS tracker units to every participating vehicle, so we can find you if necessary; these must be returned at the end of the event.
On a Rally Round event, hotel accommodation and breakfast, some coffee stops and most lunches and evening meals (except on rest days) are included in the entry fee. Don’t assume that you will be able to pay for everything else with a credit or debit card, so bring cash for drinks, snacks and souvenirs; cash is also useful for swift hotel checkouts and fuel stops. You may wish to bring some local currency (which you should obtain in good time) although this is often available at hotel receptions. You should also carry a cash reserve for any emergency roadside assistance that might conceivably be needed.
Reasonable health and fitness are prerequisites for any enjoyable adventure, so it’s important that you take good care of yourself. Every Rally Round event is accompanied by a fully qualified and highly experienced Doctor, who can help you with everything from an acute illness to a minor case of Bolly Rally Rash (a skin condition identified on the 2016 Paris-Vienna Rally when several crews in open cars drove through a famous Champagne estate whose vines had recently been sprayed). Additionally all Rally Round staff have first-aid training. Nevertheless when preparing for an event it’s important to ensure that you have adequate supplies of any medicines you require, that all recommended vaccinations are up to date and that you pack a first-aid kit and medical supplies appropriate to the areas you will be visiting.
Answers to many frequently asked questions may be found in the event brochure, route recce report and competitor information bulletins. Nevertheless, if you are unsure of anything at all please contact the rally office for advice as soon as possible. We would much rather answer enquiries in advance than be faced with a difficult problem in a hotel car park on the far side of the world.