“X” Marks the Spot!

The 2022 Lock & Load Alpine will be introducing the X Board.

No, it’s not a new management committee… it’s a rally sign that we’ll use in conjunction with caution boards to show crews the exact location of a hazard.

The X board has been used very successfully on the Classic Outback Trial,  where the terrain often disguises a hazard and makes them difficult to see. The caution board is placed on the approach to a hazard and the X board is placed right at the hazard itself.

The Alpine will use three levels of caution for hazards:

  • CARE, signified by “!” in the road books,
  • CAUTION, signified by “!!” in the road book and a “!!” board before the hazard on the road, and
  • EXTREME CAUTION, marked with “!!!” in the road book and a “!!!” board before the hazard on the road.

The definitions are in line with Motorsport Australia guidelines and will be described in the Guide to the Event.

As well as a “!!” or “!!!” board before a Caution or Extreme Caution, the Alpine will use an “X” board located at the hazard itself.

Rally Car approaching a hazard
Approaching a jump… CAUTION board in the distance and an X board at the jump.

“There’s always discussion about where the caution board should go” said Alpine Clerk of Course, Owen Polanski.

“A fixed distance of 100 metres can take a long time if you’re in tight twisty forest – but may be too close if you’re flat out in top gear on a fast East Gippsland forest road!”

On the Alpine, a caution board will be placed somewhere between 150 and 50 metres before the hazard, depending on the speed of approach. An X board will be placed at the hazard.

“Yes, it has worked a treat on the COT” said COT Event Director, Philip Bernadou.

“There’s no guesswork for drivers and no peering ahead for a hard to see dip or rut. Crews always have a timely warning and always know exactly where they need to take action.”

“I’m very pleased the Alpine is using them” Philip added. “You want some more boards?”

The COT’s X board innovation has proven itself and is popular with organisers and crews in events that have used them.

X will mark the spot on the 2022 Lock & Load Alpine!

Originally published in 2021. Updated for ALP22 in July 2022

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