On a recent roadbook check we saw quite a few sandy patches. So we asked a well known former Australian and Victorian Rally Champion and outback trail organiser for some sand driving tips to share with you. Note that these are The Bogmeister’s suggestions and we do not necessarily endorse them – especially the last one!
In the unlikely circumstance that the organisers require you to drive through deep sand (they woudn’t do that, would they? Ha ha ha…) here are a few general hints about handling the situation.
For getting through deep sand, momentum is everything. This means attacking as hard as you can in the correct gear (first or second, depending on the length of run up you have).
- If you have time and you are on firm ground, stop and assess the situation. If there are cars already bogged, plot a straight course around them before you launch off, but do not try to change direction. If possible, back up to get a longer run and build up as much speed as possible.
- If you come across deep sand unexpectedly, all you can do is grab the lowest gear and go for it.
- Sometimes the edge of the track will be firmer than the already churned up middle, especially if there is grass or low scrub.
- Never use a higher gear than first or second.
- Keep your foot flat on the accelerator pedal. Do not lift off for anything. If there is a hole or a ditch, ride it out. Let the valves bounce.
- Never try to change gear. As soon as you take the power off, the car will slow dramatically, and you have lost valuable momentum.
- Keep the steering as straight as possible. Turning the front wheels will also wash off speed rapidly.
If there is a chance, dropping your tyre pressures down to around 12 psi will definitely aid traction, but this is not always realistic in a rally where time is vital.
The same principles apply when driving up sand dunes. As you get to the top of the dune, don’t back off too soon, wait until you can see over the hill. The last bit before the top is usually the worst. Often over the top of the dune there is a double bounce, try to nurse the car over this if possible.
If all of this does not work and you become stuck, try to block the track so that others have to help you to get going to get out of their way. Bad sportsmanship is always worth a try…