SANDOCROSS

Autocross on the beach

SANDOCROSS

Postby Pete Brace » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:41 am

This is a variation on Autocross, which is unique to Weston-super-Mare Motor Club as the only club running this type of event on the mainland of the UK. Because of its unique style, Sandocross is very popular with competitors in the South West and whilst it gives competitors the chance of experiencing speed, it does require a slightly different approach when driving on wet sand, which can be quite unforgiving. It still requires good driving skill as well as the ability to ’read’ the surface of the sand in order to achieve maximum traction and the best time.
Sandocross takes place on Weston Sands and the date is usually sometime in April/May dependent upon the tide times. The course is around 1200 yards and is usually in the form of an oval with just one chicane along the bottom straight. Like Autocross, each run is over a distance of 3 or 4 laps and competitors usually get 3 runs during the day plus a practise run of 3 laps. As with Autocross the competition is against the clock as opposed to pure racing, but because it is possible to have a wider track than on a grass field, it is usual to have four cars leaving the start line together. Although the sand surface of the track is smooth at the start of the event, there is still the risk of contact with your competitors and so it is recommended that competitors use cars prepared for Autocross i.e. at least a sump guard, probably uprated suspension and ideally, a basic roll cage, as sand can be alot less forgiving than you may think.
The Classes for Sandocross are the same as those for Autocross with 2 classes covering cars described as Economy Production Saloons based on engine size. Then there are the classes for more highly modified saloon cars with 3 engine capacity splits and finally the class for pure ’Specials’ and production based 4wd cars such as Impreza, Evo etc. The latter are normally modified to a rally specification.
The cost of competing in Sandocross is reasonable. The running costs are as much or as little as a competitor wishes to make it depending a lot, upon which class they run. The Economy Production Car classes are definitely the classes to start with and here you can probably have a car with which to have some fun for not much more than £1000 based on £500 for cost of the basic car. Your own DIY skills can save a lot of cost as well. You will also need a Crash Helmet and Fireproof Overalls, Gloves etc to a specific specification as laid down in the British Motor Sport Regulations. Oh, and you will probably need a trailer on which to transport the cars to and from events; beg, borrow or buy!
At the present time, Weston-super-Mare Motor Club run one Sandocross each year and to be eligible to compete, all you have to do is become a member of Weston MC. You also need to purchase a Competition Licence from the ruling body of British Motor Sport - The Motor Sports Association. All pretty straight forward and worth considering if you want to have some motor sport fun!
Pete Brace
 
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