Motorkhanas - The Basics

By Graeme Adams


The Motorkhana, Autokhana, and the like provides the Auto sport club member with their base level of motor sport at minimum cost and risk to themselves and their cars.

This grass roots level of motor sport is not as popular as it should be due to the "tightness" of the tests. If the sizes of flag placing’s were half as big again (1.5 times) then larger cars would be encouraged to run and all drivers would have more fun.

Motorkhanas require learnt and developed skills. It may be that most do not take the time and effort to develop the necessary skills; as there does not appear to be many drivers at the top level. This is one form of motor sport in which the driver is more critical than the car. Indeed any vehicle with an overdeveloped engine (i.e. lacking low down torque) is going to be disadvantaged.

In my order of merit, the needs are:

While the principles remain the same, the technique may change for different cars.

Motorkhanas can be run on all types of surfaces from grass/dirt to hard/bitumen. Most who have run for sometime prefer a hard surface as its cleaner (for the car and driver) and less variable (i.e. there is little or no advantage in running early or late in the field unless it rains!)

Remember that a motorkhana is to test the skill of the driver and the manoeuvrability of the car.

Basics – Tests fall into three groups

  1. Slaloms
  2. Manoeuvring
  3. Gates and Garages

Notes on the finish garage, which are important:

The aim is to complete the test in the least time. Penalties are added to your time for not completing the test correctly or displacing a flag. The largest penalty is the slowest time (of all other competitors) plus 5 seconds for going the wrong way, commonly called a WD (wrong direction). A 5-second penalty is added for displacing a flag, this being the smallest penalty.

The aim is to run penalty free, but early penalties are part of the learning curve. The plan should be – learn from each mistake and try not to repeat it.

You should walk each event before your run. I think you are best walking the lines that you are planning to drive; live the test in your mind. Feel yourself driving around the flags as you walk. By taking these simple steps you will be well on your way.

At the MG Car Club the standard is high which will leave you in good shape when an open event comes along, like the National. If you want to know more, there are a number in the Club who can help you. Find someone who has a car like yours and is quick.

You will notice that some do what is called a handbrake turn while others drive the lines. It may be best to ‘follow’ a quick non-hand brake turn driver until you have come to terms with the basics.

For most, the first few events are fun because of their newness, but in time the result will become more important. After every event I compare my times with the fastest times to see where I am losing time. Of most interest is the fastest car that is the ‘same’ as mine. These results will also tell you which cars to watch at the next event. What are they doing that you are not?

Setting up your car

The best bit is that the power of the car is not critical as the events are done in low gear where you have all the power you need. Car ‘set up’ however is important.

If I had to make just 2 changes to a standard modern MG it would be to stop the excessive body roll and upgrade the tyres. I feel that 60 profile tyres is the way to go, but overall gearing can be a problem (not so on overdriven B’s).

It was drilled into me in my young days that the brakes stop the wheel and the tyres stop the car.  While I understand that this not quite the case, good tyres are vital when the situation becomes critical be it on the road or race track.

Now you have the basics, its up to you.

Motorkhanas are a lot of fun at minimum cost, but you need to spend a little time learning the basics – it will make you a better driver.

Graeme Adams

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