We recently sat down for a two-part interview with DirtFish Rally School instructor Kathy Hardy to talk specifics about getting into RallyCross®. Previously, we discussed vehicle options. Today, we’ll tackle basic car and driver preparations.
Q: What’s the first thing to address for car prep?
A: “Tires are a key performance factor. Snow tires are generally ideal, but rally-specific tires designed for gravel can perform better on some RallyCross courses. Monitor your tire pressures throughout the event, especially in the morning. They will tend to heat up early in the day, and then they generally stabilize. You want to try to get the pressure low enough for good grip, but not so low that you risk de-beading a tire. Keep in mind that using gravel tires may move you up a class, so it might not be a good option for you, especially if you’re new. Speaking of this, it’s very helpful to read the rules in their entirety before preparing your car. This will answer lots of questions, including what is required and what is or isn’t allowed in each class.”
Q: What about driver prep?
A: “Two things make the biggest impact on my DirtFish students. First, look where you want the car to go, not at the cones you’re trying to avoid. Next, look as far ahead as possible, but don’t just stare forward. Move your eyes constantly between far ahead and your current position. If you practice this during your daily street driving, it will help you when you get to the RallyCross. The other thing that people new to RallyCross sometimes need to work on is reducing hand movement. It helps to turn your wheel only as much as you need, keeping your hands as ‘quiet’ as possible.”
Q: Suggestions for the first race?
A: “Most competitors are there to have fun, not win, so they’re not trying to hide any magical racing secrets. If you introduce yourself and ask questions, you’ll find them to be incredibly welcoming and helpful with event and car questions. Some people are competitive and do develop rivalries, but it’s still all in good fun. The same people that try hard to win also root and cheer for others. Just get out there and do it. Once you go to your first RallyCross and meet all the amazing, fun people, you will be hooked for life!”
Words and Photo Courtesy of Greggar Helgeland