Test/Sprint/Race. A guide



TSCC runs regular Autotests and Speed Events – Hillclimbs, Sprints and Races.

What is an Autotest?

A track of perhaps half a dozen cones is set out and a map supplied, telling you which route to take. It may look a bit like this –

Starting from behind the start line (top left), you follow the route as quickly as possible – to the right of the first cone, left of the next, then right, left, right, then left of the last one, doing a 180 degree turn to come back to left of cone number 4, another 180 degree turn to left of cone 5, another 180 degree turn back to the left of cone 2, a 360 degree turn but going round cone 3, to the right of cone 1 and head 30 degrees to rest astride the finish line.  Distance travelled about 600 metres; time taken about 55 seconds
If you hit a cone, 10 seconds are added to your time; as does not stopping astride the finish line and if you take the wrong route you score a maximum, which is the slowest time in the class plus 10 seconds.  Oh, I forgot to say – you have to memorise the route – you don’t have time to map read!
Of course, this causes loss of tyre rubber (unless you are very smooth) and raises the adrenaline level to an unusual degree, but you can’t have everything!

What sort of car do I need?

You are racing against the clock, but also up against competitors driving similarly classed cars, so it is more a question of expertise than just having loads of grunt. Any car – roadgoing or not – can take part and stand a chance of winning the class.

Any other requirements?

No special licence is required – the Junior Class is even open to (accompanied) underage drivers.  You don’t need special clothing or even a helmet.  This is the cheapest form of competitive car sport open to members.  There are five or six events held throughout the year, with points allocated for the Club Championship as well as prizes given at the end of each event for class winners. You could even win a “First in Class” Badge for an entry fee of just £10.

What is a Hillclimb?

You start at the bottom of the hill (on your own, so all eyes are upon you!) and sink the wellie to cross the finishing line at the top.  Timings are electronic and to the hundredth of a second.  For example, our own Croft Hillclimb is 845m (924yds) from start to finish and, last year, the winner in Class 6 drove a Peugeot 106 and finished in 40.17 seconds – an average speed of 47.05mph.  Don’t try this at home!

And a Sprint?

Again, this is a solo event, racing round less than two laps of a circuit against the clock, with a few chicanes thrown in to test your ability to handle the car.

What do I need for Hillclimbs and Sprints?

To compete in ANICC Classes 6 and 7 (Road going saloons and sports cars) – any car, provided it is capable of passing an MOT  in terms of safety and suitability, subject to a scrutineers inspection.

Minimum preparation required

1.     The ignition switch (preferably an exterior mounted safety cut off) marked ON/OFF.  Cost £12, if you fit it yourself.
2.      Vertical timing strut fitted to front bumper.  Cost – DIY?
3.      Set of road legal tyres, as per List 1A or 1B MSA Blue Book – from about £250, if not already on the car.

Recommended preparation

1.      MSA approved, hand held fire extinguisher.  Cost about £50.
2.      Competition seat – does not have to meet the same specifications as for racing or rallying, so can be second-hand or outdated stock.  Say, £50.
3.      Four point safety harness – as for seat – maybe another £50.
4.      Bolt-in rear roll bar or complete roll cage – from £200 to £400.
5.      Welding 3mm reinforcing plates to floor – £100.
Of course, there are modifications possible to make the car go faster, but they must not exceed the limits laid down in the ‘standard’ specification and the scrutineers are quite strict about this.

That’s the car – what about me?

You will need a Non-race National ‘B’ Speed Licence, obtainable by simple application to the MSA and costing £40.  No medical examination is required – self-certification is sufficient.
You will also need an MSA approved fireproof suit for Speed Events – cost from about £100, but looks the part – and an approved to 2010 standard Competition Helmet at a cost of around £125.  Stick-on decals are usually a bit extra!
Total cost less than £1000, if you are prepared to go the distance, but you do not have to spend a lot in order to try the sport out.  Entry fees for speed events are anything from £60 to £90.
Racing is a different (and more expensive) kettle of fish.  Try any of the above first.
For advice on any of the above, contact our Competition Secretary, George Clarke, on 028 9186 1086.