Many have heard of 4x4s, but few actually know what it\'s all about.
The term \"4x4\" refers to the drive trains found on automobiles that have been around almost as long as the motor carriage that was introduced during the late 1800\'s. These drive trains were developed to provide additional traction for a motor vehicle to negotiate difficult natural terrain, usually for commercial or military purposes. It used to be that 4x4s were relegated to tilling farms and fighting wars, but over the years it has evolved into a legitimate form of recreation. Brought about by the new-age craze for extreme sports, motor heads have come up with their own \"extreme motorsports\" in the form of off-roading (or \"greenlaning\", as the Brits call it).
Off-roading comes in different forms. Here\'s a quick rundown of the most common types in this country. Tread lightly and see you on the trails!
Short course competitions
The off-roader\'s version of circuit racing is usually done on an empty, excavated dirt track. Participants compete on the basis of fastest lap time. The format of these races is based on rally-cross competitions. Almost every week, there is a race of this type going on somewhere in the country. Some races are done as part of town fiesta celebrations, but there is also national race series that travels all over the country like a circus road show. The lap time of each participant depends on the degree of difficulty of the track. This type of off-roading activity is immensely popular since it is relatively inexpensive and easy to prepare for. If you\'re out looking for an adrenaline rush, short course competitions give the best bang for the buck.
Trailing requires more preparation and planning than short course competitions. Enthusiasts like to trail because of the many side activities that can be built into a trip--camping, diving, rock climbing, and all that. If you\'re the type who likes to get out of the urban comfort zone and explore what lies outside civilization, then trailing is definitely for you. Among the different types of off-roading, trailing has the best potential for socially relevant activities because most clubs make it a point to include \"missions\" (medical, educational, environmental) in these trips.
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Probably the most complicated overall in terms of preparation, cost, and time, adventure competitions are also the crown jewels of off-roading. Famous adventure races such as the Camel Trophy, the Land Rover G4 Challenge, the Australian Outback Challenge, the Rainforest Challenge of Malaysia, the UAE Desert Challenge, and the Paris-Dakar Rally have captivated huge audiences worldwide. These events last for several days or weeks, and take the participants thru the most beautiful and treacherous terrains on the planet. The format of these adventure races is based on auto rally competitions where participants compete for points in several \"Special Stages\" which can be combined with other outdoor extreme sports.