Survival Guide: DirtFish RallyCross National Championship

People competing this weekend at the 2017 DirtFish SCCA® RallyCross® National Championship have a lot of fun awaiting them in Topeka, Kansas.  But to guarantee all goes well, drivers should make sure they’re prepared.  Below are a few “tips” to help those who may be attending their first RallyCross National Championship.

First, give your car a quick shakedown to make sure everything is in order.  A practice course will be set up from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday at Heartland Park Topeka so people can check out their cars and the terrain.  A single practice course run only costs $4, but $10 will get you three runs.

In advance of competition, drivers should also examine helmets to make sure everything is up to snuff, and don’t forget to carefully scrutinize your inventory of tools and spares. And of course, be double sure you’ve registered for the appropriate contingencies. Some of these tasks can be done even before arriving at the RallyCross venue.

Participants will be working for part of the event, so keep in mind you’ll need more than just racing equipment. For starters, you’ll want gear that will keep you comfortable in case of inclement weather. Rain gear is always a good bet. A jacket and hat, along with boots that allow you to move comfortably, are all advised. An umbrella is also a good idea, and not just for rain. Sometimes they can also fend off the sun and dirt.

It’s a good idea to keep abreast of impending weather. Check it in the morning and on your phone’s weather app during the day.  The best Topeka zip code to use in a weather search is 66619. Not only can this help you choose the right clothing before heading out on your work assignment, it might even help you make the right tire choice.

Certainly, it’s a bright idea to have some food and beverages on hand. A few folks like to go all out with grills and fixings. Others keep it simple with things like fruit, energy bars, chips and water. There will be a food truck on site Friday afternoon through the weekend, so bring some cash if you’re planning to go that route. Some people opt for bottled water, whereas others use hydration packs to keep their hands free for radios and flags. Bear in mind water has many uses, and not just to keep you hydrated. You might need it for your car (or your neighbor’s), so bring a few extra gallons. It’s a cheap insurance plan to keep you racing should you need it.

It’s always a good idea to have a camp chair or cooler to sit on. A pop-up tent can also add a lot of comfort during downtime and make it easier and dryer to work on your car. Just make sure you have enough weight to hold it down in case it’s windy. You can camp onsite at Heartland Park Topeka, but remember that there are no hookups and there will not be any security. And whatever you do, NEVER drive on the competition area after hours.

Upon arrival Friday, your first priority should be checking in at the timing trailer and going through tech inspection. At check-in, they’ll verify your car, class, work assignment, and that you made it to Topeka safely. Tech verifies that your car is in proper working order to compete. If this is your first DirtFish SCCA National RallyCross, they will also give you some mandatory decals to be put on your car. Both are open from noon until 4:30 p.m. on Friday. NOTE: Tech does not check for compliance to class rules.

Your next must-attend event is class inspection at 5 p.m. on Friday. Your grid spot will be listed on the info boards near the timing trailer by 3 p.m. Park in that grid spot with your disclosure form filled out. The class inspection will take about 30 minutes and once released, you can go take your first course walks. A representative must stay with the car during inspection.

The welcome party and town hall is Friday night, so head over to the big tent around 6 p.m. and get to know some of the other participants.

If you haven’t yet, go ahead and download the SCCA RallyCross App for iPhone and Android. You’ll have access to the event schedule, live results, and there will even be notifications going on throughout the event to keep you in the know. This is a must-do for anybody on site.

However you choose to enjoy the race, we look forward to seeing you there!  There are still a couple competition spots left at the time of this writing. Act quick and enter now so you, too, can have a great weekend of flinging dirt at Heartland Park Topeka!

Photo Courtesy of Greggar Helgeland

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