Autograss 2016 The best kept secret in motorsport

Autograss (noun): motor racing on natural surfaces such as grass or mud
Featured images: Michael Barratt/Chaz Edley Class 7 coming together | Stephen Thomas (Class 7) | Chris Allinson (Class 3) throwing flame | Jade Russell-Allanson (Class 8) BAS | Brad Ellison (Class 6) in the wet | Class 8's off the line at Yorkshire Dales Autograss
Autograss is one of motorsports best kept secrets. FACT.

No-one really knows why it's such a secret as it's a fantastic entry level/grass roots sport and there are plenty of clubs and tracks around the UK. The people are friendly, the marshals and organisers work just as hard as those at circuits and, believe me, it's no slouch when it comes to speed and entertainment. All classes have both men and ladies (run separately) although the ladies can race with other classes depending on numbers on race day.

Class 1: Unmodified 1000cc Minis, Micras, Yaris' and Citroen AX's

Jody Lovatt

Class 1's have the smallest engines in Autograss however don't be fooled, these cars are pretty quick and certainly make up for the lack of power with pure entertainment. They are not the cheapest class either, with some Championship winning cars costing in excess of £6000 although you can pick them up a lot cheaper to get yourself into the class. It's a good spot to start though if you like fun and thrills plus there are always a lot a local meetings so plenty to race against.

Class 2: Any car upto 1300cc. Limited modifications allowed.

Class 2 don't always abide by the non-contact rules

Class 2's can be such a good class to watch. With most being on a pretty level playing field, it can lead to some superbly close racing. That said, with it being so close and fast it can lead to the inevitable incident (or two). It's fairly fast and furious too when they get them wound up so sit back and enjoy them, you won't be disappointed.

Class 3: Over 1421cc. Front engined, rear wheel drive modified saloons.

Chris Allinson

Awesome class. These unlimited beasts are superb to watch and normally incredibly entertaining. With unlimited engine size and tuning (and a fantastic selection of cars) they never fail to put on a good show. Powerslides, flames and noise is probably a good way to sum these guys and girls up. Seems to be a growing class too which is always good for the sport.

Class 4: Front/rear wheel drive up to 1130cc. Unlimited tuning modified saloons.

Adam Henley

First of the space framed class and generally front wheel drive. These modified cars are only up to 1130cc but with the unlimited tuning modifications, they certainly don't act like they have a small engine. If I were to sum them up, I'd probably say small dog syndrome. Might have a small engine but they pack one hell of a bite. With these being lighter at the back end, they are not shy to travel most of the track on three wheels when being driven hard.

Class 5: 1131cc to 1420cc. Front/Rear wheel drive. Almost unlimited modified saloons (must be car engines & no more than 4 cylinders).

Ian Thorndyke

First of the rear engined classes, these must be car engines (with no more than 4 cylinders and 2 valves per cylinder) and making it slightly easier to set-up than those classes with twin motorbike engines although still by no means easy. There doesn't seem to be as many as there were at the moment which is a shame. Not sure what class would substitute for similar outlay? Maybe someone could enlighten me. Good class to watch and certainly a good stepping stone to the more powerful class 7's if that's the route you want to take.

Class 6: Over 1421cc. Front wheel drive, unlimited modified saloons.

Brad Ellison

The bigger brother of the class 4. These space framed saloons have unlimited tuning and produce some fantastic close racing. With engines above 1421cc they are not shy on power and with the lighter backend again are prone to cocking the rear wheel. Some of the best racing I have personally seen has been in class 6. One last thing too, probably not quite an entry level class and certainly not one if you like keeping your car in pristine condition (purchase a hammer if you take the plunge)

Class 7: Over 1421cc. Rear wheel drive modified saloons. Unlimited tuning.

Abi Mosley | Keith Kelly

The 'Super Saloons' as they are commonly known, are pretty spectacular both to watch racing and to look at as a car. There is no better place to watch these monsters than from behind a post in the middle of the track. The feeling as they scream past rubbing paint of each others bodywork is pretty awesome. These are commonly twin motorbike engines but there are also V6's, V8's, V-Tec and other turbo or supercharged variants. No matter what engine they use, they shift and god forbid anything that gets in the way. The thunder as all eight go off from the startline is special. Great class but without a doubt not an entry class and certainly not for the fainthearted.

Stock Hatch: Up to 1600cc. Limited modification standard hatch backs.

Kris Hobson

What to say about Stock Hatch. Entertaining is probably the best and most polite way of describing this class. Buy a car, take the windows out, put a roll cage in, leave your sense in the pits and go for it. Ok it's not quite like that or that simple but it's a proper good class to watch. It's also another close racing class as with limited modifications, they are generally fairly equal leading to everyone turning up at the first corner, eight abreast and all wanting to get into it first. Yes, I think you probably see where I'm going with that. Brilliant to watch and occasionally called Bash Hatch although I can't quite figure out why...

Class 8: Up to 1420cc. Purpose built open wheeled special.

Class 8's off the line

The first in the specials class and incredibly exciting to watch. These purpose built, open wheeled machines have to be driven with purpose and without fear. Watching these guys and girls drift both corners inches away from their rival is second to none. I've looked back at photo's where the wheels are in between each others and the cars are drifting at exactly the same pace and style and just thought, wow. It's an immensely fast and furious class and well worth every second of your time as a spectator.

Class 9: Over 1421cc up to 2070cc. Purpose built open wheel special (no motorbike engines allowed).

Roger Jefferson

Slightly larger engined than the class 8's these open wheeled beauties are car engine based rather than motorbike engined but with up to 2 litre's there is plenty of choice and with unlimited tuning available they are not exactly shrinking violets when it comes to racing. Always good racing from these and pretty good to look at to boot.

Class 10: Over 2065cc. Purpost built open wheeled specials (includes twin engined).

Giles & Gaz Cooper

Class 10's are monstrous machines. There's no other way to put it. These things shake every bone in your body all at once when racing is on. Unlimited engine size and tuning some of these beasts are producing 400bhp+ and still managing to get most of that to the ground. Having said that, along with all that power, there does seem to be an air of grace about them too. Personally I can't actually imagine what it's like to bolt a massive V8 onto some wheels, strap yourself in and hurtle round a track. Epic sound and superb to look at close up just to get an idea of what goes into fitting an engine to one of these things.

F600: Up to 600cc motorbike engine. Purpose built open wheeled special.

Josh Tickle

Often called 'budget class 8's', there is nothing budget about the entertainment. If you're into bikes you'll know what a 600cc engine sounds like at full revs. Now multiply that by eight, throw in some open wheels and often slightly mad drivers and you've got yourself a race. Good class to watch and sound like a swarm of deranged hornets.

Junior Saloons: Class 1 rules.

Jess Rowbotham

Juniors are aged between 12 & 16 but don't let their age fool you. These lads and lasses can throw a car around a track and couple that with the lack of fear we all have at that age, it can make for some pretty entertaining racing - albeit sometimes a little too competitive. Without a doubt a great place for youngsters to start and get a feel for competitive racing - plus they can car share with an adult who runs class 1. All the fun but none of the bills. Again, I'm suggesting purchasing a hammer for this class as panels do tend to get a little, well, bent.

Junior Specials: Under 1200cc - Vauxhall Corsa engine. Purpose built open wheeled special.

Erin-Jade Steggles

The same age as the Junior Saloon drivers, these Corsa engined, purposed built pocket rockets are a superb starter class for those looking towards an open wheeled autograss future. They are no slouches either, imagine what your road Corsa can do then strip away all the weight and let a 12-16 year old loose in it. Exactly. It certainly a class where you quickly pick up and learn about spacial awareness. Very unforgiving when you accidentally catch wheels with someone and certainly not a habit to get into, barreling through the air once is probably enough. Good class and like mini class 8 just without the fury.

When it goes wrong....

It's not that often but sometimes things go a little wrong. Whether it be a moments lack of concentration, over exuberance or mechanical issue accidents do happen. Thankfully, the high standard of build of these cars, the safety gear and being safety checked before every meeting, means that most get out and walk away with nothing more than a dented wallet and feeling a bit sore. I'll leave you with a few from the 2016 season.

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