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  • UTVs in RallyCross

    SCCA UtilityCross (UX)

    During the last few years, the membership has approached the RXB about including UTV into RallyCross. The RXB looked at the issue and found those types of vehicles are not compatible to run at RallyCross events.

    At the 2018 SCCA convention, the RXB discussed it again. The following initiative is being brought forward after receiving approval from the SCCA Board of Directors-

    To create a separate UTV program with an advisory committee under the RXB. Eventually, this may become a separate program/board.

    The guidelines of this new program would still have to follow the safety and common sense course design of the RallyCross Rules.

    This program would not run with or at current RallyCross events but hold completely separate courses and events. They would not be new classes under the RXR.

    To further this new initiative, the RXB is looking for 4 to 6 persons to form a committee. This committee will be charged with creating the rules both for safety and classing. One item to be included will be a limited junior class for children under 12.

    Please comment and reply if you’re interested.


    Steve Hyatt,
    RXB Chair

  • #2
    Originally posted by rallycross View Post
    SCCA UtilityCross (UX)

    The RXB looked at the issue and found those types of vehicles are not compatible to run at RallyCross events.

    Eventually, this may become a separate program/board.

    The guidelines of this new program would still have to follow the safety and common sense course design of the RallyCross Rules.

    This program would not run with or at current RallyCross events but hold completely separate courses and events.


    Steve Hyatt,
    RXB Chair
    The above comments are contradictions unto themselves. I like the idea that SCCA wants to expand into new areas, but what this should be referencing is wheel to wheel utv racing, ie, like crosskarts. Guaranteed UTV's will be spending time not on their wheels. So if this opens up the idea for wheel to wheel "club rally", like "club racing", except in the dirt, I see this as a whole new program. Right now this is a hot motorsport, they even get permission to rally side by sides.

    One question I have is with the new open rallycross class, would it be logical that those vehicles fit better with this UTV concept? Also, if the new open class is rallycross legal, would they be allowed to enter RallyTrials and or RallySprint?

    Brent

    Comment


    • #3


      The above comments are contradictions unto themselves. I like the idea that SCCA wants to expand into new areas, but what this should be referencing is wheel to wheel utv racing, ie, like crosskarts. Guaranteed UTV's will be spending time not on their wheels. So if this opens up the idea for wheel to wheel "club rally", like "club racing", except in the dirt, I see this as a whole new program. Right now this is a hot motorsport, they even get permission to rally side by sides.

      This is not wheel to wheel racing


      One question I have is with the new open rallycross class, would it be logical that those vehicles fit better with this UTV concept? Also, if the new open class is rallycross legal, would they be allowed to enter RallyTrials and or RallySprint?

      The engine/drivetrain does not fit in with the new class.
      If the cage design meets the RT/RS safety rules then yes.


      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the info.

        Comment


        • #5
          I like the idea of a program.

          My Coworker got a Polaris Razor because it was cool and fun. Paid over $20,000 for the thing. It sat in his garage for a year, he drove it twice, and then traded it in on a challenger because he never used the thing. He asked me several times if it would be rallycross-able, but of course it wasn't.

          So, having known someone with that problem, I can say there's a HUGE market out there for giving these things a place to play. Trails are super sketchy (and have speed limits), so most owners just let them sit in the garage for most of the year on the off-chance that they can put aside an entire weekend to go play in the woods.

          I'd be curious as to the format though. Is it going to be like rallycross, but on a smaller scale (cones, times, etc)? Is it going to be more like a stage rally where you've got a course but no penalties? Lots of options. I could see at least our newest rallycross site hosting one of these (Bundy Hill in Michigan) as it's already an offroad park.

          And, as I posted on the FB page, there's always the chance that someone with a UTV will know of other places we can race rallycross. Networking is key to finding new sites!

          Comment


          • #6
            It's an under-served market, and I can't fault the club for taking the lead on a motorsports trend rather than playing catch-up (see budget enduro racing, time trials, pro touring autocross, etc.). The era of self-driven, self-owned personal vehicles doesn't have many decades left, and the potential market of SCCA members will only shrink in generations to come. The SCCA as a race sanctioning body would be wise to include more things that can be raced.

            However, organizing in the normal Solo and RallyCross manner could make this a slow start. You don't want to primarily leave it up to local regions to fund, organize, and staff UTV events. RallyCross has enough trouble getting continuous activity in a majority of regions, even with the crossover potential of people who already like having fun with cars. It's a human resources scarcity more than a fundamental problem with RallyCross itself.

            Accommodating a new vehicle type is the smallest part of the challenge. People will figure out a safe, viable formula to run UTVs. The hard climb is building a duplicate and parallel volunteer leadership structure. There's not a lot of overlap between car people and UTV people. We the SCCA volunteers would be tasked with recruiting and assimilating a UTV group, then probably not participating much ourselves because we're largely not UTV owners. I like the concept, but I honestly don't have the time or inclination to help promote this task. More power to those that do.

            Comment


            • #7
              What is the reason to not run UTV's with the Rallycross program? because UTV people want jumps? Besides that it would seem that the surface/course would be the same and could be easily integrated into the program, similar to how karts are integrated in with cars in autocross.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'll reiterate here a version of what I said on the Facebook post, which I hope RXB is reviewing. SCCA stands for Sports Car Club of America. Where do we draw the line? Is the club going to start allowing Motorcycle classes for AutoX, TT, and Club racing? Is the club going to change its name to SVCA, Sport Vehicle Club of America? The line always used to be cars and light pickup trucks. The only exception were karts because they are a logical feeder into road racing. Karts are generally engineered for youth, who are physically too small to drive full size cars. UTVs have no logical progression path since they are engineered for adults and they wouldn't feed into an existing program like karts do. Also, UTVs are just as expensive as cars so there is no logical cost based rational either.

                Also, I think there is enough struggle for RallyCross programs to find and retain sites that adding another series that would also have unique site requirements is only going to make that worse.

                I think the RXB should focus on supporting the existing RallyCorss programs and growing the RallyTrials and RallySprint programs, and leave the UTVs to the "off-roading racing" community.

                (Also, this whole thing confuses people quickly because it's titled "UTVs in RallyCross" but then in the body it's really a separate program not to even be run on rallyx sites. Should be titled something along the lines of Proposal for RallyCross style UTV series.)
                Last edited by RallyKeith; 03-12-2018, 09:42 AM. Reason: Added the comment about how confusing the title of this can be.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As long as the UTV's would be COMPLETELY separate from the rallycross program I don't see it being a problem. It should have it's own organizers who are familiar with the vehicles, classes, already existing programs, issues, etc. I don't even see why this is being brought up to us if it is going to be a separate program. This should be tabled to all SCCA members, not just us. I just don't want to see it interfering with our rallycross program, and taking away some of the already limited resources we have. They should not be running at our venues, even if it's a separate event. We already have enough trouble finding, and keeping sites. The nature of their racing will lead to a lot more course degradation then we typically see in rallycross. On the other hand, that demographic may be helpful for us finding new sites? But I don't think it will go the other way. Your average UTV "racer" is going to want to navigate our boring courses anyways. They want woops, and jumps, and rocks and all the other fun stuff that they can tackle with ease. Also think a lot of them are looking for wheel to wheel racing. Are we going to provide that? That is where the big draw is right now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    RallyCross and autocross exist independently of stage rally and road racing, and draw greater numbers. The motivators in UTV racing may be the same. Cone-style time trials offer a lower threshold for more frequent participation (and participation includes both the competitive and social aspect). More appealing entry fees, travel distances, equipment prep and attrition, etc.

                    The sentiment I get most often from RallyCross-ineligible vehicle owners is that their limited purpose machine is underutilized. People spend money on UTVs, sand rails, trophy trucks, etc., only to park them in a shed most of the time. They see RallyCross as an additional place to participate, and come to people like me actively wanting to show up, pay, and compete. I see a missed opportunity for the club every time we have to turn them away.

                    I'm concerned about site wear, though.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I’ll chime in having ridden in, and operated a UTV, and having a father who has owned multiple UTVs and currently organizes and leads UTV trail rides.

                      UTVs absolutely obliterate the surface they run on. They monster terrain more extreme than RX could ever imagine. (In my mind the Iowa site is the most extreme terrain we’d ever use.) They are much louder than most modified class RX cars.

                      i whole heartedly agree that IF the SCCA decides to pursue the UTV machines they need to be wholly independent from all other programs. I think the UTV people the SCCA wants are those that use them as adrenaline machines rather than utility and exploration vehicles. Those people want X-treme terrain and a magnified sense of speed. Think Arena Cross meets King of the Hammers. Is the SCCA able to accept that?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Following up from what was discussed at the 2019 SCCA Convention:

                        What is the tentative process for getting UTVs approved for RX use? I've already received some fantastic feedback on setting up and tech'ing UTVs to keep them wheels down, based on experience with non-SCCA rallycross events in our area. I just need a place to direct it now.

                        Comment


                        • rallycross
                          rallycross commented
                          Editing a comment
                          This is the best place to post for discussion. Email them to rxb@scca.com so we can keep track

                      • #13
                        I'm in the planning stages now of looking what to build, but if a UTV/SxS style platform was legal in Rallycross I would go that route and modify it accordingly. Similar to how you setup a ATV to race flat track, lower, stiffer suspension, anti-roll bars, and widen. I dont understand the rationale that the SCCA should only cater to only production style vehicles. Look at all the open wheel classes that are throughout the SCCA, they are nothing like a production vehicle. A properly setup UTV/SxS would be tons of fun in Rallycross and it would almost bullet proof.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Yes, utv/sxs are fun. They are different than cars and need to be treated as such. Propose a rule set and ask for some sort of charter for an experimemtal program. Quit trying to force a trapazoid to fit into a round hole.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            For the past five years I was the event manager for a local non-SCCA rallycross group who ran at a venue that didn't have enough run-off room to be run under SCCA rules. This group had a class for UTVs, so I have a lot of experience with what they do on course. Over time, I grew to admire how they were so much better built for this type of use than the typical street car so I did a lot of research and last year bought one that I set up specifically for rallycross use.

                            Modern sport-oriented UTVs are purpose built for this type of use. They are tough, safe, quick, and relatively cheap. In RallyCross we are using cars for something that they are not designed for. Add in a Stock class where we can't run the tires that are designed for the use, and it gets expensive and damaging quickly.

                            Some say that "this is the SPORTS CAR club of America". Many of the cars run in RallyCross are certainly not sports cars however you define it. The karts in autocross and formula cars in road racing are good additions to those programs. I see no reason that RallyCross should be limited to production-based street legal cars if the rest of the club isn't. In this day and age it's not uncommon to have a dedicated track car. For some that's a modded street car and for others it's a kart, a Radical, or a Formula car. With the Constructor class and acceptance of logbooked Stage cars, the community has seen the need to allow for dedicated track cars in RallyCross. UTVs are the easiest route to this for those who want to focus on driving over building and repairing.

                            Others say that they're too expensive. Not compared to the Stock classes which I'm most familiar with. The top three finishers in Stock All at Nationals this year were in dedicated rallycross cars that were each worth around $30k. At least two of the top three last year as well. Most UTVs are closer to $20k ready to run. I ran my newer SA car in three local SCCA events this season and due to the surface and fragility of modern road cars, those three events cost me $400 in tires and $1,100 in body parts. In past seasons when running Stock class I spent thousands of dollars per season trying out different street tires since none of them are made for use in dirt.

                            I note the suggestion above that they eat up the course more than cars. This wasn't our experience. They were on par with the Mod cars in our events. On the tight twisty courses that we ran in the early SCCA RallyCross seasons they may have caused more issues in the tight hairpins, but on the modern flowy RallyCross courses that we now use to avoid major course degradation they would be no different than the high powered Mod or Constructor class cars on crazy modded dirt tires that we now see people running.

                            Then we have the safety argument. This is the biggest difference between UTVs and street cars, but neither have a clear-cut advantage.

                            In the non-SCCA events that I helped run, due to the rougher surface and layout we had way more rollovers than would be allowed in an SCCA event. This was shocking to me coming in, as in all of my SCCA experience I'd only seen one (2008 Nationals in Tennessee). This group averaged a couple rollovers per season. More rollovers from cars than UTVs, but we had more cars. Not having the specific stats in front of me, I'm sure that we had a higher percentage of UTVs roll than cars. But, the only injury that we ever had was in a car due to broken glass. UTVs were a lot easier to get back on their wheels due to their lower weight, and they tended not to have any damage in comparison to the cars generally being ruined. On an SCCA-compliant course with some simple setup rules I don't think they would be a problem.

                            By and large UTVs are shorter, narrower, and taller than street cars. They are easier to roll over as they sit on the showroom floor because they have more ground clearance and suspension travel to suit the wide variety of surfaces that people want to use them on. Coming from street cars all of the setup work on my UTV was specifically to get it to drift more and want to tip less. I've never rolled it. I've found that a couple simple adjustments made it better than any of my street RallyCross cars. First, I simply lowered the stock suspension to the lowest ride height. That put it a full 6" lower than it started and made a huge difference. Next, I put on a set of stiffer swaybars. Finally, I went to smaller diameter tires with the same width front and rear. Now I have a machine that I could run for ten seasons without breaking anything. A machine that has safer dimensions than a couple of the taller/narrower Stock class cars at Nationals this year and that can't have a de-bead.

                            I also think that they make a lot of sense when looking at the future of the sport. In the next few years almost none of the major manufacturers will be offering sedans or coupes. The industry is moving to taller and more fragile CUVs. Since 2006 when the program started the enthusiast aimed cars have gotten lower with longer front overhangs, now run much larger wheels that even with the new +/- 1" rule don't work for safe RallyCross tires in Stock class, they're all going to electronic emergency brakes and harder to defeat electronics, and they're all much more expensive. Those cars from 2006 are still dominating our sport 13 years later because the needs of this sport are counter to the needs of the industry at large. Those cars are getting harder and harder to find, but we have more and more major manufacturers building sport UTVs. In Stage rally we're seeing UTVs with minimal prep beating the much higher dollar cars overall with 100% of them finishing compared to a 40% attrition rate for cars. Stage has seen the need to offer a UTV class and now all of the sanctioning bodies have rulesets for them.

                            Based on my experience at both the event management and driving levels, I think that a properly configured UTV class would be a major benefit to the SCCA RallyCross program. They would give all of the existing drivers a tough/safe/cheap platform as an option, give regions that are trying to grow their programs a larger pool of potential participants, and give the National office more potential sponsorship/contingency options. I heartily recommend that a pilot program be allowed and have offered my assistance with formulating a rulebook.
                            Last edited by JWA; 02-17-2019, 04:23 PM.

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