Jump to content

Building for the future


Paul Wightman
 Share

Recommended Posts

I’ve been thinking about building a new truck and having seen the many new vehicles on the challenge scene from the likes of Simon, Jim and many others I’m not sure which way to go. Bathtub has gone through a metamorphosis into a tractor and the likes of off-road God Jez with Petal have pushed the boundaries so far he no longer needs to compete, he KNOWS he would win.

The subject of rules and regulations is a major factor. There has been much talk of rules, some people are for no regulation at all, others are keen on tyre size limit, what about rear wheel steer?

If I build a truck with full hydraulic steer front and rear, with portal axles and 48” tires will I be eligible to enter all winch challenges?

One big stumbling block is where entry to an event requires the vehicle to be road legal, I assume this is a requirement for insurance? A vehicle that is road legal is NOT one that has managed to pass an MOT, an MOT tester can pass full hydraulic steering if there is no play in the mechanical links (ball joint, rose joint etc), the ram is securely mounted to the axle and the hydraulic hoses do not leak. There is nothing in the MOT manual regarding chassis modifications other than the chassis is sound with no serious corrosion or distortion.

I would go so far as to say at least 75% of vehicles entering challenge events ate not road legal!

Full hydraulic steering is NOT road legal unless the vehicle is classified as agricultural in which case it would be restricted to 25 mph.

The ‘new’ Simex in the form of Super Swamper Boggers are NOT road legal as they are not E marked.

For a vehicle to retain it’s original identity it must have an unmodified chassis, if the chassis is modified it must pass SVA. I’ve not seen many Q plate challenge vehicles!

Those who try to play the ‘agricultural’ card, do you honestly pass the criteria?

The 'agricultural machine' tax class includes:

* an agricultural tractor - a tractor used on the public roads solely for the purposes relating to agriculture, horticulture, forestry or activities falling within cutting verges bordering public roads and cutting hedges or trees bordering public roads or bordering verges which border public roads

* an off road tractor - means a tractor which is not an agricultural tractor and which is designed and constructed primarily for use otherwise than on roads; and incapable by reason of its construction of exceeding a speed limit of 25 miles per hour on the level under its own power

* agricultural engine - a machine specially designed and or converted to perform an agricultural operation on the land (eg a combine harvester)

* light agricultural vehicle - means a vehicle which has a revenue weight not exceeding 1,000kg, is designed and constructed so as to seat only the driver, is designed and constructed primarily for use otherwise than on roads, and is used solely for the purposes relating to agriculture, horticulture or forestry

* agricultural lift and loading vehicles - vehicles that are designed for off road use; designed to lift and load; and used solely in agriculture, horticulture or forestry.

Could a farmer please confirm if there is an agricultural taxation class? If there is then displaying an agricultural tax disc would confirm the vehicles road going legality.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing the current vehicles (or vehicle builders) but if I build a vehicle from scratch I would like to get it right. I would like all the bells and whistles I can legitimately have but do not want a vehicle which could possibly be excluded from entering events.

There have been numerous discussions on this and other forums on this subject but no conclusion as yet.

My view would be anything goes so long as it is road legal, this would ensure event organizers meet the requirements of their insurance. We would not need a rule book although clarification of the law would be handy! This should come from a grown-up and not ‘my mates uncle is a farmer and he’s been doing it for years.

Well that’s thrown a pebble into the pond, let's watch the ripples!

Wouldn’t it be nice to resolve this situation once and for all?

(Also posted on Devon)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest WALFY

Paul

It all comes down to interpretation of the rules. The organisers of events state that veh should be road legal to satisfy their insurers but what that veh does the rest of the month is of no concern to the organiser. When in a challenge event do you exceed 25mph. Perhaps you'll get the odd speed section but not that many, I've only done 1 speed section and that was when JBS were doing events.

If the builder of the veh can get away with his designs for day to day use then good luck to him/her. How many RRC/Def are running around on tax exempt plates when they clearly don't meet the criteria.

At the end of the day you, Jez,Giggle and Simon all build very competent trucks that are the best you can achieve within the set criteria. But it is your interpretation of these rules and regs which define the way you build. I as a complete novice will view rules with a different eye to yourself. Ithink you just need to sit down with the various rule books of the different organisations holding events and try to build a truck to comply with them all. Or you could build a vapour truck and send the specs to the various groups to get their take on the truck to see if they would allow it to compete. I think by asking about the agricultural rule you have an idea what the answer is.

If all the above seems drivel then please ignore and wait for a grown up ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have wondered about trying to get my landy classed as an aggro vehicle for some time. I know someone who has/is trying and has heard nothing from vosa for 2 months. I know of a farmer who has 2 foden lorries, ex gritters that have ag remoulds on super single carcess' with a hydraulic hitch on the back along with air and hydro brakes. I could be wrong here but if you are not a farmer surley it is going to be hard to register it as an agri vehicle as theoreticly you do not need it to be and therefore it will be frowned upon.

Lastly when you look at the rules most new tractors are actualy illegal ie unimogs, fastracs and larger farm tractors as they all usualy exceed 25mph uphill with a bloody big trailer never mind on the flat.

I think its one huge grey area wich reguires some forthought to build a vehicle to adere to the rules. You could say build a truck looking very similer to petal BUT get some small old agri tyres on it and a proper hydraulics systen which would not be hard as you would already want hydro steering (and of course proper winches :P ) with this system you could then put a demountable 3 pint linkage on it aswell as proper brakes running off your on board air B) put a 1.6 tranfer box in it so it does no more than say 30mph and then it could be tested and look as if it were a proper tractor then you can demount the 3 point linkage, swap th t' box for a 1.2 and put some 44" tyres on and you have a challenge motor capeable of 50mph :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that's a hell of a post :blink:

As you say, not much that turns up to challenge events is 100% legal - from things that really should have Q-plates to non-E-marked tyres, I'm sure if you got a man with a clipboard he could give almost everyone a hard time. Hell - even supposedly standard stuff could be on dodgy ground, what about those who turn up with "normal" 90's but the engine is not the original, the axles are from a RR, the transfer box is from something else... how much of that is recorded on their V5? If it was, would the DVLA care enough to force a Q-plate or is it all in the run of normal replacements?

It seems that your question about what to build is more a question of what the rules are, I think it would be difficult to build a vehicle that satisfies an SVA man yet has the "features" to enter a top level winch challenge where the rules only require an MOT.

Where to draw the line is also tough, the MOT is a convenient yardstick of the bare minimum requirements such as brakes, steering, structure etc. and although it's open to some interpretation(!) there are very few MOT men who will pass something that's clearly a death-trap, even those who write their own MOT's have enough sense to ensure their truck won't kill them.

As the sport evolves (and it should be allowed to evolve) people will build more radical stuff that could lead to the "little guy" being priced out of competing, and that would be a very sad day. Some sort of basic class system would be the easiest - tyre size would be a prime target for class definitions as tyres are something that you can't make in a workshop, and it prevents the "arms race" of bigger and bigger tyres (and stronger axles), he with the biggest chequebook wins.

So - you need to know where the goalposts are, but one event's regs may not apply at another. I don't know about the regulations for all the different challenges out there, but it would seem some sort of open standard is required so that people know where they stand, and building a vehicle you have some certainty of being allowed to enter the events you want to without having to jump though different hoops for different organisers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

will a class system be the next step then?

silhouette of orig vehicle

unlimited etc

organisers need insurance and hence the MOT requirement

The AWDC event I think insurance/tax were also required.

Site damage needs to be added to the considerations as sites being torn up will soon

become unavailable to organisers.

PS I turn up in a fully legal vehicle, drive it there and to date home again.

seeing some vehicles at the MWWC amazes me they have registration numbers let alone MOTs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thought that might cause a ripple.

Walfy, there are many events which involve road travel between sites where the 25 mph restriction could be a distinct disadvantage!

The reason for suggesting a vehicle be road legal is that there would be no need for a rule book as there is already one in existence, it just needs translating into English!

Muddy, could you ask your mate if there is a taxation class for agricultural vehicles?

Fridge, the SVA requirements are a minefield on their own but at least with the piece of paper to say you have passed the police and insurance company will have no complaint.

Tony, I want to clarify the basics to begin with. Once a standard is set event organizers can choose to run an ‘open’ event or run with restrictions. If they choose ‘open’ then they and competitors will know what is allowed.

The subject of classes can come later, if comp safari events were limited to 20 mph I might be tempted to enter……. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that's a hell of a post Paul.

as you say a huge amount of vehicles that attend challenge events aren't road legal- BUT perhaps not to the degree one might think.

for example. tyres do NOT have to be E (or e) marked, but have to meet equivalent specs. As long as tyres have equivalent international approval then you can pass them through SVA- the sva manual (page 136) states that, for example, tyres that meet US spec FMVSS 109 and have a marking such as DOT XXX XXX XXX are fine for SVA. boggers meet this standard and thus meet SVA requirements, MOT specs are the same- or were when i researched this a couple of years ago.

Whilst you might be able to register a vehicle as ag spec, you can't just use that vehicle on the road. Agric spec vehicles (taxed as such- or actually tax free, but you know what i mean) can only be used on the road if transiting between agric areas, carrying on agricultural (or related work) etc etc. Driving them down to the shops would be a big big no no. Any sort of commuting to sties would be illegal. there is an intersesting HMCE doc here http://www.zil131.com/dnl/fuelforroadvehicles.pdf that has a list of definitions for tax purposes- look in the appendix bit- i can't really see any way in which a challenge vehicle could realistically meet any of these specs without seriously comprimising the purpose and usefulness of the vehicle.

having said all that, i don't think that sva is something to be scared of. Eventually my vehicle will be presented for SVA as a commercial goods vehicle (a la les B ) and i fully expect it to pass. i don't see any reason why any vehicle can't be fully and properly road legal in all areas. Their may be a class which is not road legal eventually but i think it would be fair to say that there aren't many challenge spec builders who would like to be in this class- it's not as if we are all into proto triallers is it?

anything that stifles innovation and originality is surely a bad thing? the challenge scene is quite narrowminded already and is ripe cfor some really interesting ideas and plans. realistically any one with a big enough cheque book is going to win anyway- just look at the ALRC stuff- yes the vehicles are the same but you just get people spending more and more money refining say a RV8 to the nth degree. so, don't bother trying to prevent people from doing new stuff- just let them get on with whatever they want to build and see what comes of it.

the tyre size debate is going to rage for ages- but the ONLY real problem with large tyres is that they alledgedly cause more damage. However i really don't know that a 38" boggers is really going to cause much more damage than a 36" simex- realistically it isn't the tyre that is the problem, it's the power of thr right foot which allows you to spin the tyres- a 200tdi with 40" boggers is going to do far less damage than a big block chevy turning constantly spinning 36" ETs.

it is clear that there is not consolidated ruling for challenge spec trucks to build to, but what is mot worrying is that people might start to be very conservative in their builds so that possible future regs are taken into account. personally i'd rather see builds pushing the envelope for innovation rather than shying away from originality.

as has been proven again and again, team ability (ie driver and co-driver) counts for far more in challenge events that in many other motor sports (in almost complete opposition to F1 for example) and that a good team with a crappy truck will always beat a crappy team in a good truck. if you put this fact as the most important, the necessity of regs in regards to vehicles themselves start to pale.

(edited for spelling, literacy, grammar, nonsense, typos and for "not saying what i mean"ness)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fridge, the SVA requirements are a minefield on their own but at least with the piece of paper to say you have passed the police and insurance company will have no complaint.

Paul, I doubt a requirement for SVA would work - An old hybrid with a TDi (so for all practical purposes a 90) may be made to have the pain of an SVA, yet something like a Tomcat or D-Lander may just need a VIC. Is the owner of the 88" going to bother? Why should he - really? He has no advantage over a similarly specced 90. Hell, if the 90 has some non-SVA-incurring tweaks then he's at a disadvantage.

If you make rules too strict it strangles the sport - if you go too far, people will avoid the events and run their own and you'll have more types of event and blurrier guidelines than when you started.

There should be a distinction between entry criteria and classes;

Entry criteria for any vehicle should be, for example, "Road legal (MOT'd) with a battery cutout and an extra throttle return spring" - easy, everyone can manage that for not much money.

Classes need to be easy to understand (and hence comply with) to keep the field level. Put a cap on tyre sizes, number of winches (both more related to budget than engineering). Limiting the use of agri tyres is a good idea out of sympathy for the sites if nothing else.

Some sort of standard is needed, but it needs to be simple and open otherwise it will discourage people from using it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well said Puggie!

The last thing I want is to stifle vehicle evolution, I want everyone to agree basic standards. As you say, playing the agricultural card is a none starter and should be put to bed once and for all.

The tyre size debate will continue, larger tires do less damage to virgin (can I use that word?) ground but on well hammered sites the ruts are deeper. Same argument goes for portal axles.

Thanks for the info on Boggers and US tires, should have read my manual.

When are you expecting to endure the wrath of the SVA inspector?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Simon says, in the Challenge Trophy series we have an Unlimited Modification class which does not require vehicles to be Taxed.

At the moment however the sole occupant of that class is one driver who simply does not want to go the expense of taxing, testing and insuring his motor.

Next year I hope things will start to change as we will be putting all Hydro-steer cars into that class plus there are at least two radical new build with full hydro 4WS due to break cover.

Although a 'standard' set of classes amongst organisers would be a good thing, I also think its unlikely, lets face it there is still no standard class structure for Trials or Safari after all these years.

What could be more likely is if all the organisers chose to adopt the same set of technical regulations - approved by a governing body like the MSA, that way technically your vehicle should be acceptable to all organisers even if the class structure varies.

Certainly in the AWDC we are all for innovation and evolution and will continue to provide a structure that these vehicles can be used, as long as they meet the safety criteria.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

more classes required otherwise people will lose interest just turning up to come last every time with no hope of a placing

then courses set out with such difficult sections that no progress can be made without an extreme vehicle.

Paul

you regularly win or place very highly with Piggy this isn't just down to the vehicle but your experience/co driver.

if more extreme events are the way forwards maybe you'll need more than one vehicle.

road tax/MOT/Insurance are a leveler for most people IMHO.

huge tyre/vehicles would come unstuck on a tight twisty course.

And Jim larger tyres = larger depth Ruts just go and test drive Bampton the deepest sections are impassable by vehicles on tyres less than 35" high

as larger tyred vehicles get in there these ruts will only get deeper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And Jim larger tyres = larger depth Ruts just go and test drive Bampton the deepest sections are impassable by vehicles on tyres less than 35" high

as larger tyred vehicles get in there these ruts will only get deeper.

absolutely- i'm not debating that big tyres make a big difference, but the marginal difference between a 36" simex and a 38" bogger is quite small- an extra inch when you are talking about 3 foot diameter tyres is pretty irrelevant. The time for worrying about tyre sizes is past- to have made much of a difference we would haev had to limit tyre sizes about 10 years ago when 9-16 were considered large!

what is it about big tyres that causes the most damage? surely it is the digging effect of very big tyres? the more a tyre can dig the bigger the rut- the more power you have in your engine- the bigger the ruts you can cause because you can spin the tyres that much quicker. have you seen that vid of the icelandic formula vehicle in a swamp that revs it's engine and just disappears downwards by digging a very very big hole? that is caused by the 900bhp nitro'd BBC not the relatively small 30" tyres. The land owner who owns Culmhead suffered the worst damage to his land from a load of motocross bikes- he won't have them back. the reason they did so much damage is that they spun their tyres almost all the time and most of the mulch re-appeared on the trees above. found a vid to show what i mean:

i'm pretty sure that these things run quite small but wide tyres (formula 1 stylee but with big bits of rubber melted on) and i know they run huge BBC V8s running nitro. The result is ground damage you wouldn't believe and all because of engine power and NOT tyre size.

damage to the ground has to be controlled by other means, not limitation on tyre size- am i rignt in thinking that the OBC and related challenges penalise competitors for excessive spinning of they tyres?

surely considering the above, the fixation with tyre limits shoudl be now be passed and a more intelligent approach to circuit preservation should be taken? Mor intellingently would it not be sensible to at least try and measure the effect that big tryes have on a sight before banning the out right? the most sensible reason for tyre limitation is from a competitive point of view- guys on 31" will find it very hard to compete with guys on 40".

i won't be hitting up against SVA for at least another 2-3 months yet (and quite possibly much longer- you know how these things go). There are worrying rumours abounding in the kit car world that there are about to be a load more regs inplemented for SVA, so i want to get the 98% completed truck through sva as soon as possible before the government implements a load of changes that i can't feasibly compete with. Les Bs experiences with commercial SVA would suggest that that is the route to take for SVA. The manual is well worth a read though- because you can't get all sorts of things thorugh as long as you can prove the items meet "e" mark regs. lights, tyres etc etc can all go through if DOT or TUV marked (usually- you DO need to check first).

Tony- you make a really good point about big vehicles and small course- the vehicle i am building will excel in boggy sections, steep hill climbs, sandy sections, etc etc but will be stuffed where the course gets small and narrow. I lose in certain places and gain in others. As long as people like James keep making their courses as they do, there won't be ONE vehicle design which is the best- this is why i don't feel that much regualtion is needed- my truck is going to get abosolutely munched by the small zooks sometimes.

Budget- let's be realistic guys, even those with 40" tyres, chevy V8s, portals etc etc won't have spent much more than £10k on their trucks- alot of people spend £7k- £8k on a base truck alone! We are nowhere near that point where budget is going to be a huge issue. 40" boggers can be imported from the states for less than a 35" simex can be bought for in the UK!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jim

I've no objection to changes/large vehicles/tyres etc

and true Motorcycles cause far more ground damage when driven badly.

and 2-3 months I look forwards to competing alongside your creation as I do with all others.

more classes same event everyone will be happy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

so Jim if we say 38" tyres are OK as only an 1" bigger where do you draw the line? as 40" is only another 1" on that and so on.

yes it does depend on the driver and the right foot but bigger tyres make bigger ruts, if, 36" ht was imposed then that pretty much knocks out all current challenge competitors, so 36" seems a good place to draw the line for those wishing to impose ht restrictions. i run tyre sizes limits primarily to limit the damage to the ground. bigger tyres DO make a bigger mess/deeper ruts.

Paul the other problem you will get is that organisers will/are likely to change the rules just as you build a truck to maximize them. 4WS for example would need considering as class/limitations etc.

There needs to be something as a leveler so that the guys starting out can also compete. ideally its good to get all vehicles over the same course (ie the same 40 punches) therefore the same area can be used and setting up time and costs can be mimimised giving everyone a good day out. (for the small event organiser anyway) if you are looking for big stuff then yep AWDC etc can cater with lots of different classes and sponsorship/entry fess to support all those classes and prizes.

For me a vehicle must be MOT'd. taxed and insured as per my rules and regs which is solely a requirement of my insurance. It also aids drivers so that they dont have to trailer vehicles on the public roads that link sites.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me a vehicle must be MOT'd. taxed and insured as per my rules and regs which is solely a requirement of my insurance. It also aids drivers so that they dont have to trailer vehicles on the public roads that link sites.

So James, if a vehicle turned up with 36"tyres (measured or actual?) 4 wheel full hydro steer, portal axles, God's winches front and rear (a bit fast!), full space frame (Yank rock crawl stylie) you would be happy for them to enter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul, great thread! I think this is a very serious problem for the sport at the moment and it’s only going to get worse in the future. It is a shame that the agricultural route isn't a go-er as it'd be a good way of getting vehicles fairly legal. The speed limit would be an issue but you could have the vehicle SVAed in low range with no lever attached and then just be naughty when you'd got the piece of paper. If you took Les B's truck now I doubt it'd pass the SVA now its been tweeked! It really is a big issue as most of the vehicles that will be pushing the limit will be trailer queens that will do very limited road miles every year normally on quiet roads. Until now I think a lot of people have just taken the risk that they won't get caught however I think a few will think twice after Steve Lloyd's 'experience' in Germany! Personally I can't see an obvious solution as external cages and full hydro steering will both fail an SVA. The route I'm taking to try and minimise problems is to stay with a standard silhouette although I'm technically into SVA territory. My hope is that this way I'll have few issues with a roadside stop although if I was in an accident it might be dodgy. However, having a valid MOT (ie done with all the mods done) is still a reasonable defence here as the vehicle has been passed as 'sound' and, as long as all the mods are registered with the insurance company, I think you'd be able to argue they should pay up even if they try and wriggle out of it. Obviously it’s not an ideal situation but I think even people with standard vehicles involved in an accident on the way back from a pay and play site would be in trouble as many wouldn’t be considered road legal with broken mirrors / lights, bent and sharp bodywork, dodgy brakes and so on.

I think classes are a logical step and I'm guessing they're going to fall into prototypes and standard silhouette vehicles with maybe a couple of classes for each. However, where do you draw the line and who's going to decide? Is a 100" full body a standard silhouette vehicle? What about the stereotypical trayback? I totally agree that innovation shouldn't be stifled and, if there are too many rules, this will happen. Also, it'll also stop people getting into the sport as a massive rule book will be a big off put. IMHO I think the best way to help the sport progress is to introduce classes and offer larger prizes for the lower classes to prevent them feeling like ‘also rans’. As far as tyres go I don’t know where its going to stop as there’s always going to be an element of one-upmanship. I guess the only way of getting round the issue is to design events to favour narrower vehicles as that’ll naturally help people with smaller tyres. Site maintenance will also help as a lot of the problems with some of the popular sites is they’re pretty impassable on 35” tyres at the beginning of the day let alone at the end!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Simon says, in the Challenge Trophy series we have an Unlimited Modification class which does not require vehicles to be Taxed.

Certainly in the AWDC we are all for innovation and evolution and will continue to provide a structure that these vehicles can be used, as long as they meet the safety criteria.

I have to agree with Neil. If the challenge scene is to move on in terms of vehicles then there need to be unrestricted events for vehicles that don't need to be road legal. Yes you may need a class structure, not based on whether vehicle is road legal or not but on certain spec/mods. This works for trail and comp safari scenes where there are some very trick vehicle developments, some even road legal!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Neil. If the challenge scene is to move on in terms of vehicles then there need to be unrestricted events for vehicles that don't need to be road legal. Yes you may need a class structure, not based on whether vehicle is road legal or not but on certain spec/mods. This works for trail and comp safari scenes where there are some very trick vehicle developments, some even road legal!

What about transit stages, Mark? Any event based over more than one day is going to struggle to be completely self contained over a single site.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One question I would like to ask is, Has the integrity of any of the various insurance policies that supposedly cover 3rd party injury/death and property damage been tested?

Some years ago I had a protracted internet argument over the well known tough truck challenge. My view was that the Insurance underwriters criteria that all competing vehicles be legally registered, insured and all modifications covered by an engineers report was there for a good reason and could be used by the insurers as a possible escape clause if any one of the competitors who's vehicle, as presented for the event obviously was not street legal or insurable, had a mishap and rolled over on top of spectators causing serious injury or worse.

After copping abuse from exerciseers and being accused of being a killjoy, attempting to stifle development of the sport, I received a personal message from a 4wd magazine journalist who was also employed to help in organising the event, telling me ''off the record'' that my concerns were right on the money, and also telling me that many other club sanctioned events over here relied on individual competitors 3rd party insurance to provide cover in the event of an accident. 3rd party insurance does not cover injury/death/ property damage if the accident occurrs in motor sport competition.

I should stipulate that this was about 4 years ago, and that hopefully the events are now properly covered.

Bill.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website you agree to our Cookie Policy