An all new motor sport category has been given the go ahead as part of the 2012 Bosch Australian Rally Championship with a four event Side x Side Rally Challenge to be run as a part of the National Rally series.
The regulations for the all new Australian Side x Side Rally Challenge, have now been published with potential competitors being urged to become a part of this exciting new low cost rally competition.
The Australian Side x Side Rally Challenge is a new motor sport competition that will be fought out by crews competing in specified Can Am Commander or Polaris' RZR side by side vehicles.
The Australian Side by Side Challenge has been devised as a relatively low cost way of becoming involved in rallying but is still a full specification national series for Side x Side vehicles to be run in parallel with the traditional Bosch ARC competition.
Key protagonists Can Am and Polaris are billing the Australian Side by Side Rally Challenge as like "a Holden versus Ford, Carlton versus Collingwood, Wallabies versus All Blacks" battle.
The Side x Side Challenge will be run on closed road stages as part of four of the six rounds in the 2012 Bosch ARC with rounds at Rally Calder in Melbourne in early March, the Quit Forest Rally in WA at the end of March, The International Rally of Queensland in May and the Coffs Coast Forest Rally in October.
Polaris is likely to enter its long time ambassador and three times Australian rally champ Cody Crocker in the Challenge while Can Am will be entering its ambassador and former World Championship rally driver Michael Guest in the four event Challenge.
The sport of Side x Side racing has exploded in North America in recent times with tens of thousands of side x side vehicles now sold each year.
In Australia many Side x Side owners have been welcomed at events all over the country such as the Finke Desert Race and The Cliffhanger to state and club khanacross events with a growing number attracted to the simplicity compact size and cost effective aspects of the Polaris and Can Am machines.
According to Polaris national marketing manager, Neil Anderson, one of the key factors that has led to the introduction of the Australian Side x Side Rally Challenge ARC is the development of a set of national guidelines by CAMS including a nationally recognised safety cage specification.
"From 2012 owners will now be able to enter a host of different CAMS sanctioned events not just the Australian Side x Side Rally Challenge with the one specification of vehicle" said Neil Anderson.
"This will effectively be a stock class, basically everything is standard apart from the necessary safety changes such as the approved safety cages and harnesses," he added.
"We are very keen that this not become cheque book racing and as a result, there will be no engine or transmission modi?cations allowed and even the alloy wheels have to be stock," he added.
Kym Pardey, marketing manager for BRP/Can Am says that with Side x Side vehicles offering outstanding consumer value, the company has every confidence that there will continue to be rapid growth in this market.
"Working with the Bosch ARC and CAMS is a great chance to build the recreational and sporting side of the SSV category, offering power sport enthusiasts a new entry point into the exciting world of off-road racing, " said Kym Pardey.
According to CEO of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship Scott Pedder, the Australian Side x Side Rally Challenge is an exciting development and addition to the Bosch Australian Rally Championship that will expand the reach and participation of the sport.
"I can see the Side x Side Rally Challenge becoming the breading ground for future rally champions allowing young drivers and co-drivers to learn car control and the intricacies of the sport in a controlled competition at a fraction of the cost of top level rallying," said Scott Pedder.
"As well as young drivers it will also be a great way for crews of all ages to become involved in rallying without the large commitment required to campaign a traditional rally car," he said.
"The Side x Side Challenge will not only be an exciting rally category in its own right but will also be a platform for particularly younger crews to showcase their skills and raise awareness amongst sponsors and manufacturers," Scott added.
Polaris has commissioned Brown Davis to build the cage to be used by Polaris Racing's number one driver Cody Crocker however competitors are free to choose their own manufacturer or build it themselves, so long as it complies with CAMS Schedule J.
Sporting and technical regulations are published at www.rally.com.au along with supplementary regulations and entry information for the opening round at Rally Calder.