In-car and on-board rallycross

Riding in rallycross from Group B to Supercar

by Tim Whittington |

Onboard video from rallycross is commonplace these days, slap a GoPro or similar into a car and off you go. Back in the day it was the preserve of broadcasters and some fancy equipment, although live broadcast quality onboards today remain relatively specialised. Media and a few fortunate individuals have been able to experience rallycross from a passenger seat, some lucky enough to sample the shocking performance of Supercars.

We recently rediscovered a set of in-car pictures from the press day for the 1986 British Rallycross Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. A fairly average 28mm lens and all hand-held shots means that quality isn’t great – particularly from Mark Rennison’s Ford RS200 in which the lens misted up – but they are of their time.

A misted up lens in Mark Rennison’s Ford RS200.

Modern safety concerns mean that when this kind of thing happens today it’s most often one-car at a time on the track. Sitting alongside Will Gollop in his first MG Metro 6R4 we caught and passed Colin Richards’ Porsche (driven by Rod Birley) and chased John Welch’s Xtrac Escort; unless you have raced, this is the best experience of rallycross you could ever have.

From the passenger seat of Will Gollop’s Metro 6R4.
Catching up to Rod Birley in Colin Richards’ Porsche.
And passing the Porsche.
Rallycross World | Gollop, Brands Hatch, 1986, in-car lap
A lap hunting down John Welch’s Xtrac Escort.
Turning into Langley’s Gap chasing Welch’s Xtrac Escort.
Gollop applies an armful of opposite lock exiting the Esses.

As well as Gollop’s 6R4 and Rennison’s RS200, there were a couple of laps in John Waghorn’s Citroen Visa, a different experience from the Group B cars, but one that highlighted just how much work goes on even in a relatively low-powered two-wheel drive rallycross car.

The 1986 Grand Prix press day also provided laps in Rennison’s RS200.
Less of an assault on the senses, but still impressive, John Waghorn’s Citroen Visa.
Even in a small two-wheel drive car there’s a lot of work for a rallycross driver.

Group B cars were shocking and not at all easy to drive. Supercars have progressed enormously and are now much easier for their drivers to manage. The experience from the passenger seat remains no less surprising, specially for those who may not be expecting this kind of performance.

Rallycross Supercars provide a shocking experience for those lucky enough to sample them.

Today the internet is full of good quality onboards, we’ve selected a few from the FIA World Rallycross Championship, but there’s enough out there to keep you happy until your eyes go square.

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