Motor Sports Association

Cross Country

Cross Country events are the best reason for getting your 4x4 out of town and doing what it was designed for! This off-road discipline combines elements of rallying and trials, depending on the specific type of event.

How does Cross Country work?

The top-level events such as those in the MSA British Cross Country Championship take place on off-road course of up to 10 miles in length. A ‘bogey’ time, called the Penalty Free Time Allowance (PFTA) is set for the course. Each competitor completes the course several times and is given penalties for exceeding the bogey. As with rallying, the winner is the competitor with the smallest aggregate time penalty.

Trials feature courses, called sections, marked out by a series of gates. The further you get through each section without stopping or hitting the gate, the lower the penalty.

Team Recovery events allow teams of vehicles to traverse the course by means of self-recovery or team effort. The winner is the team who complete it in the shortest time.

How do I start?

First of all, join your local Cross Country club, which you can find using the Go Motorsport club search function.

There is a wide range of sub-disciplines under the Cross Country umbrella, so it’s best to check out each particular discipline to find out which one suits your particular interest or budget.

The All Wheel Drive Club has information on Trials, Competitive Safaris, Team Recovery and Hill Rallies, while The Association of Land Rover Clubs is dedicated to such events for Land Rovers.

You can take part in some types of Cross Country Events, such as Tyro, RTV and CCV/Modified Trials, simply under club membership, which can be applied for on the day. For other events such as Timed Trials and Competitive Safaris you will also need a Non-Race Clubman Competition Licence.

What kind of car do I need?

It depends on the type of Cross Country event but generally it will need to be four-wheel-drive and able to cope with rough terrain.

Tyro Trials can be tackled in standard showroom 4x4s, while for RTV Trials you will need a more aggressive set of road legal tyres and perhaps some modification to the car’s approach and departure angles.

Beyond RTV Trials the increasing competitive nature and severity of terrain tackled will require progressively the installation and use of a full roll cage then full safety harness.

What equipment do I need?

Whatever you do will involve a fair amount of walking around the course/sections so you’ll need a good pair of shoes or boots and some form of waterproof clothing close to hand.

While you don’t need fireproof overalls you should always ensure that your clothing is made from natural fibres rather than man-made and that your limbs are fully covered.

MSA-compliant helmets are required for all timed events.

Remember that it is the competitor's responsibility to ensure that their vehicle and equipment comply with both the MSA's General Regulations (detailed in the MSA Competitors' and Officials' Yearbook) and the Supplementary Regulations (SRs) of the event or championship.

If you have any questions about vehicles or equipment you can speak to a member of the MSA Technical Department by calling 01753 765 000.