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INTRODUCTION TO SPRINTING
Sprinting is a race against the clock held mostly on race
circuits and specialised sprint tracks such as Curborough.
Cars start singly and are timed by electronic equipment
accurate to 100th of a second. Cars compete in classes
relative to their design, engine capacity and any modifications.
Classes start with standard saloon cars and go through to
Formula 1 type racing cars. This allows you to compete
against cars of equal standing, so everyone has a chance of
winning their class, with a special trophy for the overall fastest
time of the day.
In the following pages we will endeavour to provide all the
necessary information to prepare yourself and your car for a
In order to compete in sprints there are certain requirements laid
down by the Motor Sports Association (MSA) who govern all
motorsport in this country. Firstly you will need to join an MSA
affiliated car club (preferably Shenstone & District Car Club Ltd), you
can then apply for an MSA Competition Licence, which is required in
order to compete. Mandatory safety measures include the need for a
Crash Helmet and Fire Resistant Overalls, both to minimum
The next stage is to get your car prepared to the minimum standards
in order to pass scrutineering. A scrutineer will check your car over at
the beginning of every meeting to ensure that it complies with the
necessary safety regulations.
PREPARING YOUR CAR
To enable your car to be timed it is mandatory for you to fit a
timing strut (more commonly known as a beam breaker) to the front
of your car.
MSA Rule I67:
Timing Struts Where timing is activated by a light beam, the vehicles
will be fitted at the front with a vertical timing strut, minimum
vertical height 254mm, the bottom of which shall be not less than
180mm and no more than 200mm from the ground. The strut will be
in matt black on both sides, over its total area, which shall be not
less than 254mm by 51mm. No other, or further forward, part of the
vehicle may interrupt these dimensions or actuate the timing.
It would be impossible for us to list every detail necessary to get
your car through scrutineering, we shall however list the main points
which will help you to prepare your car to the necessary standards.
The first thing to remember is that the
job is tocheck your car for anything that might make it unsafe for motorsport,
i.e. loose wheel bearings, worn steering or suspension etc. (very
similar to an M.O.T. test).
All cars competing in Hillclimbs or Sprints must have a valid
MSA Log Book unless the car is currently licenced for use on the
public highway and competing on the event in a road legal condition
Log Books are available from Nat A and Nat B Grade Scrutineers.
He will also be checking many other points such as:
Driver seat must be securely fixed.
Must have Ignition Cut-Off switch with position clearly
marked and must be operable by the driver when normally seated
with seat belts secured.
Competition numbers (Black or White) must be displayed clearly on
a contrasting background on both sides of the car. Ref I30, minimum
Greater technical specification is given in the MSA Yearbook.
It would be prudent to have your car inspected by a
scrutineer before your first event in time for you to rectify any
problems that might arise.
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS ONLY A GUIDELINE AND MUST BE
USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE CURRENT MSA
HOW TO GET AN MSA COMPETITION LICENCE
Having already joined an MSA affiliated Car Club, you can
obtain a licence application form from the address below.
THE MOTOR SPORTS ASSOCIATION LTD
MOTOR SPORTS HOUSE,
Telephone: 01753 765000
There are basically two types of licence applicable to sprinting.
Non Race National B costing 37.00
This will allow you to enter most sprints and hillclimbs with
the exception of the higher grade National A events.
Speed National A Ã�ï¿½Ã�Â£72.00)
This allows you to enter all types of sprints and hillclimbs
but cannot be applied for straight away. You must upgrade
from a National B.
For a driver to compete in a Racing or Sports Libre car
manufactured after 31/12/60 of more than 2000cc (or 1428cc if
forced induction) he must hold a Speed National A (OPEN) or
Race National A Licence [C(a)-35], unless the car is currently
licensed for use on the public highway, and competes in the
event in a road legal condition.
Clean, flame resistant overalls must be worn which can be
manufactured from Nomex III, Proban or equivalent materials.
For full specifications see section [C(c)-78 to 86] of the current
Although not yet mandatory, flame resistant gloves, socks,
balaclavas and underwear are STRONGLY recommended.
Goggles or a visor must be worn at all times unless in a closed
When you receive your licence you will also get a copy of the
MSA YEARBOOK which gives the technical specifications for
all types of motorsport. This book is often called the BLUE
BOOK and we will be referring to some of the relevant
sections as appropriate.
For full type approval see Section [C(c)-87] of the latest MSA
A crash helmet must be worn during competition and it must
conform to certain criteria, including having the current MSA
approval sticker. Stickers are usually supplied by an MSA
Scrutineer for a small fee.
Please remember the following when buying or using a
(a) Correct Standard
(b) Correct Fit
HOW TO ENTER AN EVENT
After deciding which event you want to enter, and
ensuring that your car club is invited, you must obtain a set of
Entry Regulations. These can be obtained from either your
own, or the organising club's Competition Secretary.
Having filled in the entry form and sent it off with the
appropriate fee, assuming that your entry is accepted, you will
normally receive final instructions in the week prior to the
The final instructions usually give details of all of the entries in
class and number order, which enables you to purchase your
competition numbers ready for the day. They also detail the
timetable for the day and where you should park on arrival etc.
ON THE DAY
On arrival, park your car in the appropriate area and
proceed to the signing on hut with your appropriate documents
(MSA licence, Club card etc.). After signing on you must then
have your car checked by a scrutineer and walk the course
before the first practice runs commence. It is therefore
advisable to arrive early enough to allow for queues and any
minor adjustments that may be necessary.
You are now ready to compete and just have to wait for
your practice runs to be called before proceeding to the start. It
is most important that you listen to and obey all marshals and
officials on the day.
Once on the start line it is up to you, so put your foot
down and go for it.
But keep in on the black stuff!