competitor guidance, News

X marks the spot!

The X board is not a management committee… it’s a rally sign that the Classic Outback Trial uses in conjunction with caution boards to show crews the exact position of a hazard. The X board was an innovation in COT 2014, introduced to help crews see the location of disguised or hard to see hazards.

The X board goes exactly at the hazard.

The X board marks the location of a hazard

The Classic Outback Trial uses three levels of caution for hazards:

  1. Care, signified by “!” in the road books,
  2. Caution, signified by “!!” in the road book and a “!!” board before the hazard on the road, and
  3. Extreme Caution, marked with “!!!” in the road book and a “!!!” board before the hazard on the road.

The definitions are in line with CAMS guidelines and will be outlined in the Guide to Competitors and discussed at the competitors briefing.

As well as a “!!” or “!!!” board before the hazard, the COT uses an “X” board at the hazard itself.

“There’s always discussion about where the caution board should go” said COT Deputy Clerk of Course, Philip Bernadou.

“A fixed distance of 100 metres can take a long time if you’re in tight twisty forest but be way too close if you’re flat out in fifth gear in the great Outback!”

On the COT, a caution board is placed somewhere between 200 and 50 metres before the hazard, depending on the speed of approach. An X board is placed at the hazard.

Hazard boards in action - a !! board in the distance near the car and the X board at the jump.

COT hazard boards in action – a !! board in the distance and an X board at the jump itself.

“It worked a treat” said Ian Swan, third placed driver in COT 2014. “There’s no guesswork and no peering ahead for a hard to see dip or rut. I always had a timely warning and always knew exactly where I had to take action.”

So, the X board innovation worked and was popular with crews in 2014 and 2016. We’ll be using them again in COT 2018.

And remember… X marks the spot.