The Q&A’s below have been written primarily for the benefit of novice participants and classic rally enthusiasts coming over to us for the first time. There are significant points of difference between our events and those of other organisers. We hope that the below will give you a good idea of what to expect from our events and how to get the most out of your experience with us.
Are there opportunities to meet fellow participants before an event?
We don’t currently run event-specific gatherings however we do host several socials throughout the year, based in the UK, to which we invite past, current, and prospective participants. These are a great opportunity to meet fellow rally participants and reconnect with old friends. In addition to this we typically set up a participant’s WhatsApp group in the lead up to our rallies. We find this is a good way for participants to share ideas and information on preparation and have a degree of interaction before arriving at the start line. We always publish the entry lists to our events online in order for participants to see who will be joining them on the rally.
What is the balance between structure and independence?
The route for each day is broken up into multiple stages, each with a target driving time and a suggested start time. Each stage will end at, for example, a suggested coffee stop, restaurant for lunch, a place of cultural/historical interest, or a suggested experience such as a wine tasting. Whether you choose to stop for lunch at the venue suggested in the route book, or choose your own venue, or choose not to stop for lunch at all – that is your choice. Likewise whether you choose to stop and visit the various point of interest en route each day or not that is entirely up to you. We do not drive in mandated convoy unless in exceptional circumstances, though in practice you will probably end up driving in the company of other rally cars for some portions of the day, and at other times you will be on your own.
Some evenings we may organise a social be it drinks, dinner, a walking tour, or a visit to a place of cultural/historical interest. Some evenings you may wish to attend, and others you may wish to have a quiet night in or do your own thing. That is entirely up to you.
What group sizes can we expect?
We typically have 12-15 cars on our events. Sometimes a few more, sometimes a few less. Generally speaking though our group sizes are quite considerably smaller than those of other rally organisers and we believe this makes for a better participant experience. With these group sizes we are able to select smaller, boutique hotels where larger groups would be restricted to large, impersonal business hotels. You also genuinely get to know each of your fellow participants over the course of the event and form lasting friendships. Things are summed up perfectly by highly experienced ralliers and ROARR ambassadors Phil Garratt & Kieron Brown: “Whereas events with other organisers can feel like travelling on a vast cruise ship with little real sense of adventure, ROARR events feel like sailing with friends on a private yacht.”
What backup services do you provide?
Each event has different requirements depending on the location, terrain, difficulty, remoteness, and size of the participant field. As a minimum we have two members of the organisational team present and a professional classic rally mechanic with fully equipped service vehicles. On more remote events we take on trauma doctors as well as local fixers/interpreters, along with additional service vehicles where needed.
Are your rallies competitive?
Our rallies are all non-competitive. With that said, each day is broken up into multiple stages, each of which comes with a latest finishing time. The idea is to manage the distance between first and last car throughout the day in order for mechanical/medical aid to be provided in a timely manner in case of a breakdown/emergency. So while not formally competitive, participants endeavour to meet the stage finishing times throughout each day and this is at times difficult to achieve and does create an element of informal competition.
How do we get into classic car rallying?
Firstly you will need a suitable pre-1980 vehicle. What constitutes a “suitable” vehicle is dependent in large part on the style of event you wish to participate in: tough, remote, endurance events, or luxury oriented European tours (or both). As a first step to help you on this process we have published a “vehicle selection and preparation guide” which is available HERE. Our ROARR ambassadors would also be happy to talk with you on this and offer a “participants perspective” on the matter. Should you wish we will happily point you in the direction of various rally preparation workshops that we work with. They will be able to talk you through some of your requirements and give you an idea of what to expect.
Next you will need the right event to get you started. Generally speaking we would advise that you trial a shorter, more forgiving event for your first rally. This will enable you to get to know your car and learn to fix or find solutions to mechanical problems in an environment where spare parts are easy to source and where conditions aren’t as harsh.