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- Wie nimmt man an Oldtimerrennen teil
Wie nimmt man an Oldtimerrennen teil
Your choice of vehicle is of course up to you, but some are more suitable than others. The main requirements are strength and reliability, rather than outright speed.
Pre-war cars, especially vintage ones, have some things in their favour. Most cars made before 1930 were built to run on unmade roads, as these were the norm away from cities, and have strong chassis, large wheels and good ground clearance. However, our events sometimes cover long daily distances and we recommend that pre-war cars should be able to sustain 80 - 90 km/h (about 50 - 55 mph) Pre-war cars will need to be relatively strong and fast for their period. Big vintage sports cars like Bentleys are an obvious choice, but cars like Model A and V8 Fords, and other American saloons, have proven records.
Among post-war cars, obvious candidates are Mercedes, Volvo and Peugeot - all with an excellent record on old events in Africa and South America. Peugeot 404 and 504 are still fairly common in Africa, and spares are relatively widely available.
Citroen DS/ID models are useful performers if the complicated parts don’t break - the suspension system soaks up the bumps and protects your car and crew from the worst effects of the jolting; and the car can be raised to go over rough bits or deep water. Other good contenders might be bigger European Fords (Cortina, Zephyr, Taunus); Austin A90/A95 models (shades of Richard Pape); Humber Hawk/Super Snipe; BMWs: and various models of Rover (especially perhaps the V8 engined P5B).
It’s worth remembering, too, that an early Range Rover would also be eligible, as would some American 4WD vehicles. Other American cars may also be good. Australian cars are probably a useful bet - Holden for example. Datsuns, too, had a formidable record in rough endurance rallies in the 1970s.
Among the sports and GT cars, Mercedes coupés and cabriolets must again rank among the favourites; but a Porsche or a Datsun 240Z could do well, and a well prepared Austin Healey or MGB may surprise them.
Let’s not forget that some smaller cars may have a good chance, too - especially given that there is no overall winner, and that a gold medal can be won by performance in your class. Saab and VW Beetle are both strong cars with excellent records at rough-road rallying. Beetles have the advantage that they were made until recently in Brazil, so knowhow and spares are widely available.
These are a few of the more obvious choices - but you may be able to think of something else, or simply be the kind of person who prefers to do things your own way.
1 Golden Rules
We cannot possibly give detailed advice on vehicle specification and preparation which covers every type of 4x4 and classic car that might be entered for one of our events. These notes must therefore be regarded as general guidance only.
Three important principles are:
- KISS - keep it simple, stupid
- Travel light
- Prepare your vehicle from the ground up
Rule 1 Keep it simple.
Although it may be tempting to run a high-specification vehicle, the old hands will tell you that it is best to have as little to go wrong as possible.
For classic cars, this means not fitting a highly tuned engine - keep to standard specification, or only make modifications which improve reliability and efficiency (such as balancing and strengthening), rather than power output or performance.
Rule 2 Travel light.
This is the most important Golden Rule for tough long-distance rallies and drives. Excess weight is easily the single most common cause of mechanical problems, putting extra strain on chassis, springs, shock absorbers, brakes, transmission and engine. Leave the kitchen sink at home! This means cutting out most "contingency" items, like heavy spares and extra equipment. You aren’t going on an expedition across uncharted terrain. Except for those in smaller cars, you shouldn’t even need a heavy roof rack - if you do, you’re probably carrying too much! Don’t take too much personal baggage. Try and limit yourselves to one grip or small suitcase (airline cabin baggage size) per person. (All the rest-day hotels have a same-day laundry service, and we try to organise a baggage van whenever possible). A well-known saying is "Take half the clothes you think you may need, and twice the money"! On the other hand, there are important simple spares and tools you should take.
Rule 3 Prepare your vehicle from the ground up.
You should prepare for strength and reliability, not speed. Although we try to avoid bad roads where possible, there may be some rough going, and some miles of gravel or bumpy tarmac where the car will be subject to small stones, rattling and vibration.
The order of priority is therefore:
- engine and transmission
- other items
2 Tyres and Wheels
Your most important and most vulnerable component. Your biggest enemy is punctures, so choose tyres that are as near bombproof as possible.
The ideal tyre is one which is very hard wearing, with a strong carcass and thick, strong sidewalls (these last are especially important on stony or potholed roads). It must have reasonable all-terrain capability, but should not be a specialist mud, sand or snow tyre, as these tend to get hot and shed chunks of themselves at high speed on asphalt, especially if the vehicle is heavily laden. C arry two spare wheels if you can, plus one or more spare tubes. Carry at least one spare wheel where you can get at it without unloading everything else. Both should be securely fastened.
If possible, you should consider fitting 16" tyres (4x4s) or 13" (classic cars) as these seem to be the most commonly found tyre sizes in Africa and other places.
On a 4x4, use heavy duty (truck) wheels if these are available. Don’t use cast alloy wheels, as these fracture unless you have rally-quality high-grade magnesium ones, don’t use cast alloy wheels, as these fracture rather than bend; steel ones can be hammered straight when you hit a rock.
For classic cars, it is essential to ensure that:
- your ground clearance is good: the more the better, but for your own comfort and peace of mind we recommend a minimum of 20 cm (8 inches) - more if your car has big front or rear overhangs. (You will get there with less clearance, but you will have to drive more carefully and slowly in places.)
- your suspension has plenty of travel: life will be very much easier if your suspension can soak up bumps.
- your springs and shock absorbers are strong: heavy duty suspension is essential - but it should not be too rigid and transmit the shocks to the car.
Unless your car is a particularly strong model, the chassis should be strengthened at key points, especially spring and shock absorber mountings. Make sure that engine, gearbox and radiator mountings are also strengthened, with heavy duty rubbers.
Protect drain plugs, sump, fuel tank, brake liner and vulnerable transmission parts, with strong underbody plating. If the exhaust is low slung fit skid plates to vulnerable points such as clamps and silencers.
Use foam between skids and guards and the sump or whatever else is above to protect against impact damage, and to prevent stones getting caught in the gap and wearing a hole.
Fit strong bumpers and towing eye; these should be mounted quite high, and not too far under the vehicle, up for easy access.
Make sure the system is clean and free-running, and that the water pump is good and powerful.
You may also wish to consider fitting:
- a larger radiator and/or header tank
- an oil cooler
- an electric fan
- improved air circulation, in and out, by e g additional inlet/outlet vents; ducting; fastening the bonnet slightly open; etc.
- suitable thermostat
- high-pressure radiator cap
If you fit an electric fan, make sure it has a manual switch. Switch it off and cover it with a plastic bag before fording a river. Kenlowe electric fans are recommended, and are available from Demon Tweeks (see address list).
One major cause of punctured radiators is for the fan to act as a boat propeller and pull itself into the radiator when fording a river. To get round this, take the blades or fanbelt off if you have to go through deep water.
This is a vital component. Make sure all wiring is in good shape and that all electrical components are correctly selected and installed. Do NOT economise on electrics - have it checked and if necessary have it professionally rewired. Fit a new battery.
Ensure that the electrics are well waterproofed and carry a plastic bag to tape over the distributor, and a can of WD40, just in case! If you have to ford a river or drive through torrential rain, give all the under-bonnet electrics a good spray with WD40.
All leads and the ignition cap must be made waterproof. If the distributor cap is sealed tightly, you will need to fit a breather tube to enable oxygen to flow in. Carry a spare set of ignition leads, distributer cap, condenser etc sealed in a waterproof container. Consider fitting a spare coil alongside the original so that you can swap the leads across quickly in the event that the coil fails.
On any vehicle it’s a good idea to fit an extra cigar lighter socket, to give you somewhere to plug accessories into.
7 Exhaust System
A vulnerable component of classic cars. They must comply with the events noise regulations, or you will not pass scrutineering; and if your exhaust gets too noisy during the event, you may be penalised, or even excluded from the results, on the spot.
You must ensure that the exhaust is in good condition, and that it is not too close to the ground and will survive bumpy roads.
Paradoxically, exhaust systems which are slightly loose-fitting are less likely to fracture than those which are welded up solid. Steel battery-straps slung from the chassis under the exhaust will keep it from falling off altogether if it does break.
On most of our events there isn’t much driving at night in theory (apart from Le Jog!), but it’s probably a good idea to have a decent pair of spotlights and a good reversing light. Good under bonnet, boot and interior lights are also a boon.
Obviously, make sure that the car is generally in tip-top mechanical shape, especially brakes and steering.
Make sure everything is carefully stowed and fastened down, especially the heavy items like spare wheels, spare parts, fuel cans and luggage. The battery must be well fastened down.
Make yourselves a plan of where everything is stored in your vehicle.
Carry spares in sealed plastic boxes where possible.
Ensure that everything is stowed neatly and tightly and in its correct place, and cannot move around, and is PUT BACK THERE after being taken out.
Remember that fuel cans must NOT be carried inside the passengers compartment.
Ensure that the car can be securely locked up, with no valuable or desirable items left visible or accessible.
12 Crew Comfort and Safety
Make sure that
- your seats are comfortable and give good support
- the ventilation is good
- you have amply secure and handy stowage for the navigator's paperwork and paraphernalia
A fire extinguisher of at least 2 kg is compulsory for all vehicles. This must be securely fastened, within reach of a crew member.
A first aid kit is compulsory - see separate Medical Notes.
Seat belts are compulsory for cars of a certain age in most countries, and we recommend that you fit and use them whatever the age of your vehicle.
We do not recommend fitting a roll cage unless you have an open or soft-top vehicles.
If you do fit a roll cage on any car (i) you MUST wear tight full-harness competition-style belts at all times; (ii) you must pad the tubing well at all points where your head or body might make contact in an accident.
13 Period Authenticity
Classic cars taking part in a HERO Classic Reliability Trial should be to correct period specification, except where otherwise permitted by the Regulations. This does not mean totally standard: modifications used at the time are allowed. We turn a blind eye to minor anachronisms, given the difficulty today of finding genuine period bits when restoring a car, but we will expect major items to be correct, like the size and state of tune of the engine; the size and type of brakes (especially, whether drum or disc); the wheel and tyre sizes; the body style; etc.
We also in general allow the specification to be uprated by fitting components from a later variant of the same model (e g 1800cc engine and disc brakes to a 1950s Volvo PV544), but these will place the car in the Age Category at which these items became available. Cars in any given Age Category may NOT have major components of more recent date.
You MUST declare on your entry form all variations from the specification of your car as it was manufactured as these may place you in a different class, or be prohibited altogether. (This does not apply to pre-war cars, where different eligibility rules apply, based on those of the VSCC).
We do not like cars to have more modern road wheels than would be correct for the period. Please do NOT arrive with (e g) a 1950s car on Minilite wheels.
The rules by which our sport is governed in the UK require the car body to be free of advertising (unless you can show that the advertising is period and was carried by the car when it was first made - such as on a "works" car). The car must also be fitted with a full set of interior trim. This can cause a problem when fitting a roll cage as the rear seat is often removed. However, for events in the UK, the rear seat must be replaced - the rules do not say that the seat must be usable and it is permissable to cut a small section out of the seat pad to provide clearance for the cage.
Spares & Equipment
It is easy to overload your car with spares and tools. Excessive weight adds a great strain to its suspension and transmission. "Travel light" is always the best motto. So in a small car you may be better off not taking all the items below.
But there are some basic items which everyone should carry. What you actually take depends in part on the carrying capability and power of your car, in part on its known weak spots, and in part on your own ability to work on it!
Here is our suggested checklist for classic cars
- 5 litres of drinking water (preferably bottled mineral water) per person
2 Spare Parts
- two spare wheels (both properly mounted; at least one accessible without major unloading).
- spare fuel container(s): designed to carry fuel and securely mounted. They must not be carried in the passenger compartment.
- additional spare inner tube(s)
- fanbelt (or 2)
- top & bottom radiator hoses
- extra coil (NB this can be wired in place so it can be connected quickly if required)
- extra fuel pump (NB this can be wired in place so it can be connected quickly if required
- distributor cap (possibly, distributor unit too)
- rotor arm
- set of points
- set of spark plugs
- voltage regulator
- spare electrical switch(es)
- light bulbs (full set, including interior/map lights!- in some countries, it is a legal requirement to carry a spare set of bulbs)
- wiper blades (fit new ones before the event, too)
- spare radiator cap (and/or wire/chain the cap to the bodywork)
- spare fuel filler cap (and/or wire/chain the cap to the bodywork)
- speedo cable (especially if relying on speedo-driven Halda)
- extra set of wheelnuts (or centre-lock spinners, one for each direction)
- extra set of wheel studs
- gasket set
- temporary windscreen
- if you can spare the weight: bigger items such as dynamo, an alternator, battery, halfshafts, etc., especially if these are weak points on your car
3 Tools etc.
- 2 electric torches, with spare batteries and bulbs
- warning triangle (compulsory in some countries - a cheap light one is best, as you’ll probably leave it behind if you have to use it!)
- High visibility "waistcoat" - compulsory in some countries
- top quality tow rope: long and strong, and preferably with shackles at each end: (A winch is not essential)
- jump leads
- engine oil: 1 or 2 litres (replenish by buying en route)
- tube of grease
- funnel (cranked, if necessary, or add old rad hose - plastic funnel is lighter than metal)
- top class fuel filter (possibly combined with above)
- heavy duty jack - a trolley or high-lift jack if your car can easily carry it - together with strengthened and accessible jacking points
- strong flat bit of wood, for putting jack on
- axle stands - heavy but desirable if you can carry them (get aluminium ones if possible) (NEVER get under the car when it’s on the jack alone - put the spare wheel under the sill, if that’s all you’ve got)
- reasonably strong plastic sheet or old sack, for lying under the car on
- usual toolbag: spanners, socket set, screwdrivers, pliers, snips, Allen keys, star drives, plug spanner, feeler gauges, adjustable spanners, Mole wrench, sharp knife, hand drill, etc.
- tyre levers (optional - they are heavy) - again consider aluminium ones
- magnet on flexible stalk
- good wheelbrace (not the flimsy standard item - carry that as spare)
- spare nuts, bolts, washers, etc.
- half a dozen bungee straps (the rallyman’s no 1 friend!)
- big roll of genuine, strong canvas tank tape - the real article is VERY expensive, so don’t lend it!
- lots of cable ties (strong nylon ones are the most versatile)
- good lengths of electrical wire, for emergency repairs (including tying things back on)
- insulating tape and/or masking tape
- armoured plastic tubing
- aerosol of puncture mousse
- Jubilee clips, medium and small, for (i) rad hoses; (ii) fuel lines
- screen cleaning detergent
- screenwash/antifreeze fluid
- radiator welding fluid
- gasket leak ditto
- tube of Gun Gum
- tube of Swarfega
- leather/cloth for cleaning screen
- Araldite/superglue/JB weld
- de-icing fluid, and scraper
- your vehicle’s owner’s manual, and preferably workshop manual
If you can, go round the vehicle to check what spanners/sockets/drivers you actually need to work on key components, and take just these.
You will note that a lot of the above items are for crudely lashing things back together, when they break or fall off. Well, that’s rallying!
Navigation and Communications
1 Road Book
On most events, a detailed, rally-style Road Book is provided for the bulk of the route. It gives a diagram for each key junction, together with the distance to it to the nearest 10 meters, and the road number and signpost to be followed.
Easy link sections on main roads will not necessarily be covered by a full Road Book to the same amount of detail, but this should not present problems as the route will generally be easy to follow.
2 Navigation Equipment
For a Classic Reliability Trial, the following are suggested.
- dashboard-mounted compass (shielded from the car’s metal or electrics)
- good flexible map-reading light
- lightweight hand-held spotlight, with plug for cigar lighter socket, which can double as an inspection light
- at least one good time of day watch or clock, plus spare
- at least two stopwatches, for regularity timekeeping (NB dashboard mounted clocks/watches may look fancy but are harder to use and read in a bouncing car that those on your wrist or in your hand)
- mapboard and/or clipboard(s) - (preferably one with a transparent plastic cover)
- several large bulldog or foldback document clips
- several large bulldog or foldback document clips
- two or three pens
- lots of soft pencils (B or 2B), or a couple of 0.9mm B or 2B mechanical pencils with spare leads
- 2 or 3 large soft rubbers
- if using wooden pencils, good pencil sharpener
- electronic calculator
- possibly, average speed tables (not essential)
- miscellaneous stationery: notepad, sellotape, scissors, stapler-staples, glue stick, etc.
GPS units, such as Magellans, are not permitted
Dashboard mounted equipment should be fastened with Velcro, enabling it to be easily removed at night.
3 Communications Equipment
Our Regulations permit participants to carry satellite phones, mobile phones and/or radios, provided these are registered in advance with the Organisers on the form which will be provided, and are used for emergencies only.
However, note that many countries have laws and regulations concerning the importation and use of radios, mobile phones and satellite phones. It is your responsibility for ensuring that you comply with allsuch laws and pay any necessary import duties or licence fees.
If any participant is detected transmitting information which might give a competitive advantage to another participant, such as the location of a secret check both participants will be excluded from all further participation, and the Organisers shall have the right to impound their communications equipment.
4 Paperwork Checklist
The navigator should ensure that the crew have the following at the start:
- club membership cards for HERO or 4x4xplore, for ALL crew members
- outside Europe, International Driving Permits for all crew members driving during the event
- insurance documents as applicable
- vehicle registration documentation
- outside Europe, Carnet de Passage en Douane
- event Regulations, Final Instructions, etc.
- documentary proof of the period authenticity of modifications
- "SOS/OK" board
Breakdowns and Emergencies
Any HERO long distance event is a serious challenge which involves a real element of risk to you, your crew and your car. You should not take part unless you accept this.
We reiterate the point made in the Regulations: if you have an accident or breakdown on any part of the event, you should NOT expect help from the organisers as of right. All HERO long distance events are in part a test of your own resourcefulness, initiative and determination, and you are primarily expected to get yourselves out of trouble if you get lost, break down or put your vehicle into a ditch. Whilst HERO will always try to help, the organisers do not have the resources to be able to deal with emergencies.
Sweeper cars follow the route. Each of these cars will normally contain at least one medically trained person with some basic medicaments and medical equipment; and a trained mechanic with simple spares and tools. It will also normally be equipped with a satellite telephone.
The function of the sweeper cars is merely to provide immediate first aid, a "quick fix": to pull your car out of a ditch or waterhole, to tow you or give you a lift to the next town or telephone, to treat minor wounds and ailments, or to make on-the-spot simple repairs. They are there to help all participants, and so they must keep roughly to rally schedule - they cannot afford to spend much time at any one incident unless there is a serious emergency.
They will travel within and behind the convoy, and may be delayed in helping other crews in trouble, so they may thus arrive anything up to three hours after you. They will therefore almost certainly NOT be the first vehicle to arrive at the scene of an incident or emergency. The next people along are most likely to be other participants - maybe you.
All participants must carry a two-sided A4 board, with "SOS" on one side and "OK" on the other. If you stop by the roadside but there is no emergency, please show the "OK".
Even on competitive rallies, the tradition and ethics of rallying are that competitors stop to help each other. If you see anyone in trouble, or signs of a car having left the road, STOP and make sure that no-one is injured before proceeding. If someone is hurt, looking after them takes absolute priority. In the case of a timed event, we will normally waive penalties for time lost helping injured persons.
In less serious cases, please stop and help if you can do so without affecting your own performance. Someone on a competitive event who is in trouble but not in danger has no right to expect another competitor to forfeit an award to help them out, but if you have time in hand or if you are not in the running for major honours, you should always stop and assist.
If you are the crew in trouble on a competitive rally, but do not need emergency medical help, please put out your warning triangle, show your OK board in your window and wave other competitors through, so that they if they are pressed for time they do not lose marks by stopping to check that you are all right.
You should of course also stop to help other road users in trouble, especially in remote areas, but be very careful about possible bogus breakdowns or accidents, set up by hijackers.