There has been a long and successful history of teams stemming from the British Forces in motorsport, from competing during the infancy of motorbike trials through to the modern day, high-profile Armed Forces Rally Team, competing alongside the best rally drivers in the world.
Officially recognised as a sport by the military since 2010, military motorsport is finding traction with the public and now gaining well-deserved promotion. This enables access for people as they would any other sport – opening up a whole host of events.
Merely a taster of what’s on offer, the Festival of Army Motorsports took place at the famous Millbrook Proving Ground, with attendees engaging in a full range of competitions. From karting through circuit racing and motorcycling, as you would probably expect, the riders and drivers didn’t hold back.
For Land Rover owners, interest sat with the Armed Forces Rally Team and the 4x4 navigation event. The team itself is open to personnel from all army sections, with places allocated on merit and commitment to the team and sport.
Hot laps were offered around Millbrook’s handling circuit by crewmembers, permitting a taste of how it feels to be in one of the ‘Romeos’, the Army’s Rally Defenders, on the stages themselves. Land Rovers weren’t the only rides to be offered, as saloon cars took to the circuit and were pushed to their limits, drivers demonstrating exactly how much excitement can be had.
The 4x4 navigation side was a bit less fast or furious, but gave visitors the opportunity to navigate their way around the off-road training area. Steep climbs, descents, side-slopes – you name it – were included in the route to help disorientate navigators and channel pure adrenaline to reach the finish line. A small trial section also threw in a skills test for drivers, in probably the lowest mileage Wolf Land Rover around.
Trial riders effortlessly coaxed their bikes over a wide array of man-made obstacles, while the road bike crews were on hand to chat about what’s involved and how to get started.
Not only is the Festival of Army Motorsports a hugely memorable experience and a massive amount of fun, but skills are also taught and employed, alongside navigation and vehicle maintenance, which will be only a benefit to those during active service.
For more info on the Armed Forces Rally Team, visit the Armed Forces Rally Team Website.