With the 2016 rally season here, we are constantly getting questions about how someone can get more involved in the sport of rally, above simply spectating at one of the many events around the country. If you’ve ever watched a rally in North America in person, you’ve most likely noticed that the spectator areas are very limited. There are many reasons behind limited access for the general public, mainly due to the safety of the fans. For those of you who want to see more of the action and get involved, there are a few different ways of doing this.
The first course of action is to find your nearest rally! Your best bet would be to check out the three main rally series in North America: Rally America, Canadian Rally Championship and NASA Rallysport. Once you’ve found your “local” rally, navigate your way to the website for that event. There, you will find contact information and instructions for volunteering.
If you’re interested in more information on how to get into racing click here to find out about having a car built by DirtFish, or feel free to give us a call at 866.285.1332.
Within each series there are a few different options and levels when it comes to helping out. The easiest way that doesn’t require any previous experience, is to become a Course Marshal. Course Marshals are a pivotal part of making all the individual stages run smoothly. They are responsible for everything from setting up the stage and managing crowds at the spectator areas, to blocking roads and trails that intersect with the road being raced on. Course marshals will even be asked to help count down at the start line, start rally cars and help with timing at the finish of each stage. Without people like you manning these positions, a rally wouldn’t be able to go off safely (or even happen for that matter).
Tying the start and finish control together are the rally communications volunteers, these positions require each person to be a licensed HAM radio operator. While they are the main communication between the start and finish, there are multiple radio operators strategically spread across each of the stages acting as radio repeaters and an extra set of eyes in case anything were to go wrong on the stage. This network of people is also key to making sure important information is being communicated to medical staff and rally organizers at the rally HQ.
The third type of volunteers are the medical staff. Without them, there is no way for the rally to safely operate. The medical staff are people who are certified to provide Basic Life Support in the unfortunate event of drivers, co-drivers, spectators or volunteers being injured or having a medical problem during the race. To become a part of the rally medical team there are a few requirements; proof of your certification, medical kit and a form of transportation.
Finally, there is always the option of offering your services to directly help one of the teams competing in the event. The grassroots level teams are always looking for people to help with anything and everything. Having some mechanical knowledge is always a plus, but wouldn’t be required. There will always be some way of “getting your hands dirty”, whether it’s changing wheels and tires, flat-towing a car that is broken or simply making sure everyone on the team is fed and has everything they might need. This is a great way to learn about the logistic and amount of work it takes behind the scenes to make a team function properly.
As you can see, there are different options for anyone to get involved in rallies. Not only are volunteers a huge part of making a rally run successfully, they also get great views of the racing that most don’t get to see. After volunteering for any one of these positions, you will look at the events differently and have a newfound respect for the amount of work and planning that goes into making an event happen.
For more information on getting involved head to the links below:
Article by: Trevor Wert (DirtFish)