Most racing enthusiasts can name a few of the most famous off-road races. The Baja 1000 and Dakar Rally are famous, but do you know any others?
If you want to race a vehicle, there’s likely some racing series or an event that you can enter. Humans, by nature, are competitive and will often insert races and feats of strength into activities to find a clear winner. All racing isn’t done on a paved track or on these famous off-road courses. With that in mind, we present some amazing off-road races you probably don’t know about.
The same people that put on the Mint 400 also organized the California 300, which is held for the first time this year. This race is run over a 70-mile desert course of three laps each. The racing allows UTV classes, trophy trucks, and Unlimited Trucks to compete. This race took place n Barstow this year, and it should return next year, giving many racers a chance to see how they can fare with the other off-road drivers out there on the desert floor.
The HARDI Australia 24-Hour Trial
Do you want to enjoy some unique off-road racing? Check out the HARDI Australia 24-Hour Trial. This is an event with two people on a motorcycle, one in the sidecar and one on the bike. This race takes place in South Australia, and only half of the competitors ever make it to the end, creating a true event of attrition. This race has been held since 1924 and includes some of the world’s best endurance motorcycle riders. The race takes place in the middle of winter with some seriously cold temperatures.
The Rally Jameel
The Rebelle Rally is an excellent race for women in North America but imagine being a woman in a part of the world where you’re told you can’t drive. The Rally Jameel was created to push that idea down and get rid of it altogether. The race is held in the Arabian Desert, and it’s a women-only rally in Saudi Arabia through the desert. This is one of the hottest and most inhospitable terrains in the world, but this race is a joyful celebration of women in motorsports as they race their way to victory.
The Trophee Andros, or Andros Trophy
Extreme conditions and tough terrain are a huge part of off-road racing. Most of these races are held on sand and dirt, but how about a race that’s held on ice? The Andros Trophy is such a race. This French race began in the early 1990s, featuring some of the best designs ever. Today, this series continues to be a wonderful race that’s fun to see, now with fully-electric racing machines.
Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
More race fans than you might expect know this race, but because it’s later in the season than the Dakar Rally meaning there are fewer casual fans paying attention to this race. This grueling desert race is held in the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Desert, where drivers see nothing but miles and miles of desert sand in front of them. Tensions run high during this race as most of the participants from the Dakar Rally come to this race to battle it out.
The GP Ice Race
The Zell am See area of Austria is home to the GP Ice Race, which makes perfect sense. Of course, we want to race on ice, and this event has been held for nearly 50 years. The setting is a frozen lake in the Austrian Alps, which has close ties to the Porsche family. This race has grown quite a bit and has hosted famous cars and drivers during its time in existence. If you’re looking for some incredible off-road racing, this is the race for you.
Coupe de France Camion Cross, or Truck Cross French Cup
This is a racing series held in France that’s a lot different from most racing you’ve ever witnessed. Unlike the open course racing of desert events, this racing series takes place on a closed course which is short. The oddity of this racing series is that cabover trucks are racing and competing against each other. Yes, these are the trucks that normally pull a heavy load, but during this race, there doesn’t have a trailer to hold them back.
Some of the races that have competed in this race are household names. When you think of off-road racing, the names of Travis Pastrana, Tanner Foust, and Ken Block come to mind, all of whom have competed in this race series. For the most part, Nitro Rallycross is relatively new, but there are bracketed tournaments and heat laps to give racers and spectators a full slate of events. Many times, cars will run into each other and slide or jump around on the high-banked turns and ramps of the dirt course.
This incredible and tough race features big rigs. The Breslau rally has been around for a long time, and it’s considered the oldest amateur off-road rally in Europe. In this race, one vehicle reigns supreme, and nearly all racing teams use this machine. The Mercedes-Benz Unimog is at the top of the list and handles the job of getting through the mud, and the muck found on this racing course. You won’t find any polished trophy trucks during this race.
People that love the outdoors also love off-road racing, but the vehicles typically used are harmful to the environment. The goal of the Extreme E series is to use sustainable technology for racing machines. This could mean that all vehicles in the race are powered by nothing but electricity, giving us a race that matches the goal of being sustainable and not harming the environment around the race. This series could turn some off-road fun into a guilt-free sport for those that love to race around on the sand in a desert environment.
Did you know about these different off-road racing events? If not, now you do, and you could spend some time learning about them and enjoying the fun of racing in some extreme conditions.
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