Whether you’re a huge fan of cars who reads the latest Land Rover reviews and Porsche Carrera articles or you just have a passing interest in quality SUVs, you’ll no doubt be aware that a number of strange rally events take place annually around the world. Hurtling towards the finish across all kinds of terrain can be wildly exciting, of course.
Some rally events are highly competitive races across unmade roads, deserts, shallow rivers and steep inclines, while others are more about getting from A to B in one piece without worrying about the time it takes to get there. Here are a few great examples of the strangest.
Blind Man Car Rally
What started out as a way of raising a little local awareness for the plight of the blind in the Indian state of Gujarat has grown into an annual event which attracts worldwide attention these days. Originally held in Ahmedabad, the 2013 event took place in the city of Vadodara in June. Over 100 drivers took part, thanks to maps that had been specially printed in braille.
This race is more of a test of endurance for the drivers as well as the cars, and the emphasis is on finishing rather than simply winning. It begins in Goodwood in the south of England and has various other starting points across Europe along the way. After around 10,000 miles of hardship and struggle, those that are still competing will arrive at the finish line in Ulan Bator.
The Baja 1000 is an annual race held in Mexico and covers some of the most difficult terrain imaginable. Bizarrely, local race spectators in the more remote areas have been known to sabotage parts of the course for their own entertainment. This has included digging a few holes, hiding obstacles so drivers only see them at the last minute and blocking rivers.
Originally run between Paris in France and Dakar in Senegal, the route changed due to security concerns and is now held in South America. There are several classes of vehicle which take part, including trucks and motorcycles, and several famous motoring names have emerged victorious over the years, including Carlos Sainz, Ari Vatanen and Jacky Ickx.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
What started out as a chance to meet up with a few friends in 1938 has turned into one of the world’s largest annual motorcycle rallies. These days, up to half a million people make their way to Sturgis, South Dakota every August. There are a number of races and stunt contests on offer, but the main vibe around the event is still that of a sociable get-together.
This event is another rally that’s more about taking part than winning. It’s open to cars which are of very little monetary value, so those who sign up need to know their way around an engine. The course takes them from Plymouth in England to Banjul in Ghana, and a number of vehicles perform perfectly well until they reach the heat and dust of the Sahara Desert.