How do I get my rally licence?
.. and what sort of licence do I want? Do I want to be a rally driver and get all the glory, or do I want to be the co-driver/navigator, ‘the office manager’ in the car?
The first step, for aspiring drivers anyway, which is now common across many branches of motorsport, is to buy the starter pack from the sport's governing body, the Motor Sports Association (MSA), or from one of the members of the British Association of Rally Schools (BARS).
Equally as important, for the real newcomer, is to join your local motor club. The club and its members will be a fantastic source of knowledge and experience that you will not find anywhere else; all recognized motor clubs (and they must be recognized to organise events) are listed on the MSA website.
The starter pack comes at a price of £62 and includes the all-important licence application form and a DVD about rallying, which will be invaluable when you come to take the mandatory test. Try and watch the DVD several times, and pay particular attention to the basic rules and things like warning signs on special stages, as this knowledge will come in useful when you take the test.
When you have digested the contents of the DVD, you will need to book the BARS test at one of the member schools, details of which will be in the starter pack. It's worth getting a clear idea of the timescale for booking and taking the test, to make sure you know when you will be ready to compete if you plan to start as soon as possible.
Applicants over the age of 18 will need to complete a medical before taking the test, which can be done by your GP. It's a pretty straightforward process, with both you and your doctor filling in part of the form. The downside is that it will cost you around £90.
You won't be surprised to discover that the BARS test also carries a price tag, currently £180, which includes the use of a school car for the practical part of the assessment. Don’t be too worried about the test, as most people who have done a little preparation will pass without a problem. If you fail, you can arrange to re-take the test at a later date. There are two parts to the test; a practical driving session and a multi-choice exam type session covering the regulations.
The last job is to send off your licence application with proof of passing the BARS test. The form goes to the MSA with a cheque for £48 for a National B rally licence and, when it comes back in a couple of weeks, you are ready to enter your first rally
Some people think that having a disability will stop you from having a race licence - I am pleased to tell you that, mostly, that is untrue - Look at Nik Hamilton, Lewis Hamiltons brother; he suffers from Cerebral Palsy which hampers the strength in his legs. After passing his medical and being assessed for safety he was given his first race licence and now he is in Renault Clios supporting the BTCC.
The BMSAD (British Motorsports Association for the Disabled), whose Chairman, David Butler, a triple amputee himself, exists to help disabled people obtain their MSA licence. Please contact David personally at email@example.com
· How do I get my rally licence?
· What equipment do I need?
· Which championship is right for me?
· What type of rally car?
· Do I rent or buy a rally car?
· Do I run it myself or go to a team?
· How do I improve my skills?
· How do I get sponsorship?
· What about the co-driver/navigator?
· What can I put back into the sport?
· Where can I find out more?