Off-road racing


Off-road racing

Off-road racing is a format of racing where various classes of specially modified vehicles (including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buggies) compete in races through off-road environments.

Contents

North America

Off-road racing began in the early 20th century.[1] An early racing sanctioning body in North America was the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA). The body was formed in 1967 by Ed Pearlman. The first event was a race across the Mexican desert. The event was first called the Mexican 1000, and it later became known as the Baja 1000.[2] The event is now sanctioned by SCORE International.

In North America there are several other formats. There are races on a circuit of less than five miles (such as Crandon International Off-Road Raceway), which are sanctioned by CORR (or its predecessor SODA), and by World Series of Off Road Racing (WSORR). The races held by CORR and WSORR take place on short (1½ mile or less) tracks incorporating left and right turns of various radaii, and jumps and sometimes washboard runs and gravel pits. Another format made popular by the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group was called stadium racing, where offroad racing vehicles were used in a temporary offroad racetrack was constructed inside a stadium. The general idea of "offroad racing" can also extend to include hillclimbing or any other form of racing that does not occur on a specified, paved track. A simpler, shorter track format is popular at many county fairs, and is called Tough (or Tuff) Truck competition. These tracks are ordinarily much shorter, and usually, competitors make individual, timed runs.

As of 2009 there are two major organizations promoting short course off road racing. The TORC Series, owned and promoted by former motocross champion Rick Johnson, holds races from California to Wisconsin. The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series focuses on promoting events on the west coast. Both series feature professional off road drivers and race teams. There are also several grassroots organizations, one of the longest lived is the Mid America Off Road Association that promotes short course off road racing in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

A popular type of off-road racing is what is also known as desert racing or Baja-style racing. Most desert races are set up on government recreational land and have tracks that run anywhere from 25 to 50 miles. Various classes of vehicles run a different amount of laps depending on the size of the engine or the set up of the suspension system. Currently, there are several smaller organizations which are growing quite rapidly in this scene. One of the most popular is the Best in the Desert series, which is known for the Vegas to Reno race (the longest off-road race in the US with the 2009 Vegas to Reno race measuring 1000 miles). Also popular is the Mojave Off-Road Racing Enthusiast series. Started in 1997 as a small family oriented race series, it has grown to nearly 200 per race. MORE uses tracks set up on desert land in the Barstow and Lucerne Valley regions of the Mojave Desert in California. Mojave Desert Racing series has drawn many competitors from the now defunct CORR races.

On August 14, 2010, a modified Ford Ranger pickup truck, racing in the MDR sanctioned "California 200", careered off the track into a group of spectators, killing eight, and raising questions about the future of offroad racing on public lands.[3]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, offroad racing runs its own class structure and has a multiple-round national championship. Its flagship event, the two day, 1000 km Taupo 1000, is a stand-alone international endurance race which is currently held every two years. The most successful racer in the sport's history is multiple outright and class national champion Tony McCall of Manukau in Auckland. The sport is about to enter its 30th year. Images and information about offroad racing in New Zealand are available at the sport's official web site, www.oranz.co.nz

Europe

"Erez Raider", Israeli T1 4x2 Rally Raid champion (2006)

In Europe, "off-road" refers to events such as autocross or rallycross, while desert races and rally-raids such as the Paris-Dakar, Master Rallye or European "bajas" are called Cross-Country Rallies.

In Scandinavian countries, "off-road" racing can refer to a type of motorsport known as Extreme Off-Road, which involves driving extensively modified vehicles through a difficult course up an uphill terrain.

See also

References

External links


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