The ACU has set up a dedicated department to assist all our member Clubs and Promoters to obtain the necessary authorisation, either directly to the MSA or if they prefer through the ACU. Several of our Clubs have been applying for authorisation for many years and the system works perfectly. However, the ACU recognises that for “first timers” it may be a little daunting, hence the reason for a friendly voice to assist.
Please click here to download a copy of the E404 application form.
Please click here for the guidelines how to complete the E404 application form
Please click here for more information with regard to the MSA Authorisation
Please click here to see a copy of The Motor Vehicles (Competition and Trials) Regulations 1969
Please click here for a list of MSA Route Liaison Officers and contact details fo the Police & National Parks
Frequently Asked Questions
Some frequently asked questions about the MSA process are outlined below:
Why are the ACU imposing the MSA Authorisation on Clubs?
The ACU are not imposing the MSA Authorisation on our Organising Clubs. The Motor Vehicles (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 require that any motoring event which utilises the Public Highway is subject to Authorisation under UK law. The MSA are the sole agent appointed by the Department of Transport and as such has a statutory duty to the Government to ensure that any event that takes place on or uses part of the Public Highway follows the legislation as laid down by the government in the Regulations quoted above under the Statutory Instrument No 414 of 1969. A copy of the legislation can be viewed and/or downloaded from the ACU website.
Why have ACU Clubs not been notified of this before?
The requirement for an Organiser to apply for MSA Authorisation is stated in the ACU Handbook under the Trials Standing Regulations and is also printed on the reverse of every Permit Application Form, so Clubs should be aware that this requirement is required for any event which takes place on or uses part of the public highway.
Why has the MSA Authorisation suddenly become an issue?
This year a couple of events came under the radar of the MSA when it was discovered that MSA Authorisation had not been applied for and these events were using part of the public highway. This then led to one of the events being cancelled as the Authorisation process could not be completed in time. Following a recent meeting with the MSA to discuss this issue further, it is clear that any ACU permitted event taking place on or using part of the Public Highway needs to have MSA Authorisation unless it is an event that is automatically authorised (see further down this FAQ sheet for the criteria for those events automatically authorised) or unless the event is exempt under Schedule 4 of The Motor Vehicles (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969.
What is Route Authorisation?
The Motor Vehicles (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 require that any motoring event which utilises or uses part of the Public Highway is subject to authorisation under the legislation. The Department of Transport has appointed the Royal Automobile Club (MSA) as the controlling agency to undertake authorisation on its behalf in England and Wales. This legislation is handled by the Competition Authorisation Office (CAO) at the MSA. This function in Scotland is undertaken by the Royal Scottish Automobile Club.
Does my Club need to apply for Route Authorisation?
The legislation states the requirement that all events, with the exception of those detailed below are authorised by the CAO.
The types of events which are authorised automatically, and do not therefore need specific authorisation through the CAO are:
- An event in which the total number of vehicles driven by the competitors does not exceed twelve, no part of which takes place within eight days of any other part of any other event, where either the other event has the same promoter or the promoters of both events are members of the same club in connection with which the events are promoted (see Regulation 5a of the Motor Vehicles (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969) for full details.
- An event on which no merit is attached to completing the event with the lowest mileage, and in which as respects such part of the event is held on the Public Highway, there are no performance tests and no route, and competitors are not timed or required to visit the same places, except that they may be required to finish at the same place by a specified time.
- An event in which, as respects such part of the event as is held on the Public Highway, merit attaches to a competitor’s performance only in relation to good road behaviour and compliance with the Highway Code.
- An event in which all competitors are members of the Armed Forces of the Crown, and which is designed solely for the purpose of their service training.
Whilst the legislation grants automatic authorisation for the above events, it is recommended that Organisers advise the local police of such events to ensure that the minimum inconvenience can be ensured whilst the event is in progress.
When can I apply for Route Authorisation?
Applications for Route Authorisations (except Schedule 4 events) can be received a maximum of six months and a minimum of two months prior to the proposed start date of the event. Applications outside of these timelines will unfortunately be rejected by the MSA.
Contact must first be made with the Route Liaison Officer for that area in which the event is being held to ensure there are no date clashes before submitting an application for Route Authorisation to the MSA. A full list of Route Liaison Officers can be found on the ACU website.
What fees are involved?
- £1.80 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway does not exceed 10 miles
- £3.50 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway does not exceed 100 miles
- £4.60 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway does not exceed 150 miles
- £6.50 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway does not exceed 200 miles
- £12.10 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway exceeds 200 miles
The fee is calculated on the maximum number of competing vehicles given on the final Authorisation document. This number must not exceed the maximum number of vehicles stated on the original application unless prior agreement has been sought with the MSA. It is not necessary to forward the fee on first application as charges are advised during the course of the Authorisation process.
Fees from 1st January 2020 will increase and the new rates affect all routes (or part thereof) using roads within the boundaries of England and Wales:
£1.85 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway does not exceed 10 miles
£3.60 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway does not exceed 100 miles
£4.75 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway does not exceed 150 miles
£6.70 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway does not exceed 200 miles
£12.95 per vehicle for events the route of which on the public highway exceeds 200 miles
What is Section 33 of the Road Traffic Act?
Section 33 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that a person must not promote or take part in a Trial of any description between motor vehicles on a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway unless authorisation has been sought and obtained from the Local Authority under this section. When submitting a route for Authorisation you are advised to check the definitive maps held by the Local Authority involved in order to ascertain whether or not you are required to obtain Section 33 permissions.
What is a Schedule 4 Event?
A Schedule 4 event is an event that is listed under Schedule 4 of the Motor Vehicles (Competitions and Trials) Regulations as a specified event. These events are held not more than one per calendar year and include events such as a the International Rally of Great Britain and the Banbury Run promoted by the Vintage Motorcycle Club. A full list of those events on Schedule 4 can be viewed on the Regulation found on the ACU website.
What do I need to provide when applying for Route Authorisation?
The legislation states that when applying for MSA Route Authorisation, the Organiser must supply the following:
- Contact must first be made with the Route Liaison Officer for that area in which the event is being held
to ensure there are no date clashes before submitting an application for Route Authorisation to the MSA.
- A completed E404 Application form for Authorisation of a Motoring Event on the public highway.
- Two identical tracing of the route drawn from an Ordnance Survey 1:50000 Landranger map which should include the following information:
- The number of the Ordnance Survey sheet
- Two intersecting grid line appropriately numbered so that the tracing can be placed accurately over the relevant map.
- The location of any start and finishing points.
- The times at which the first competitor is expected to leave the start point and arrive at any finishing point or control (all times to be shown using the 24 hour clock)
- The location of any control point on a public highway (marked with a Capital letter – C)
- The location of each rest halt (marked with a Capital letter – R) and also the length of time the rest halt is expected to remain in operation.
- Any point where the route leaves and rejoins the public highway (marked with a Capital letter – X) and the time which the first competitor leaves and rejoins should also be shown.
- The above information should be discussed with the Route Liaison Officer in the first instance to ascertain whether there are any clashes of date before submitting the traces and the application form to the MSA for authorisation.
All completed Application Forms , together with the Items listed above should be sent in the first instance to:
Tel: 01788 566419
How do I go about applying for Route Authorisation?
Applications for Route Authorisation must be made with a minimum of two months to the start of the event or a maximum of six months to the start of the event. Any application received outside of this timeframe will unfortunately be returned. In the first instance, the Organiser needs to contact their relevant Route Liaison Officer to discuss dates with a view to avoiding clashes with other events. Once this has been done, the Organiser then completes the E404 Application Form together with two identical copies of a trace of the proposed route and then sends the form and traces to Debbie Walmsley at ACU House at the address given above. Debbie will then check that the correct information has been given, contact the Organiser if necessary and then send the E404 and trace to the MSA. The ACU is recommending early contact with the ACU office to ensure route authorisation is given, as it is the first one to apply if two organisations are using a particular route, which will be granted.
Those Clubs who are well versed and have experience in completing the Authorisation process may send their completed application forms and traces direct to the MSA as before:
Do I need to apply for an ACU permit before I apply for MSA Authorisation?
There is no requirement to apply for an ACU permit before you apply for MSA Authorisation. The quicker you can apply for the MSA Authorisation means you will stand a better chance in getting the route you want to run your event. The MSA work on a ‘first come, first served’ basis so the later you leave applying for your Authorisation may entail you having to amend your route if your route clashes with another Organiser.
What defines a Day time event as opposed to a night time event?
A night time event is defined as an event or part of an event which is intended to take place between the hours of 10.00pm and 7.00am. If an event started at 2.00pm in the afternoon and ran through to midnight, this would be deemed a night time event.
Once submitted, am I able to amend my route?
Yes, once an E404 application form and two copies of the trace has been submitted you are able to amend your route should you wish to do so. Two copies of the trace showing the new amended route would need to be supplied along with a covering letter explaining why the amendment is required. Prior discussions would need to take place with the Route Liaison Officer in the first instance. It should be noted that any route amendments would ideally need to be made three to four weeks prior to the start of the event, however in exceptional circumstances route amendments can be made with less time to go to the event. The important thing to remember is to give the Competition Authorisation Office as much notice as possible so that the relevant agencies can be informed. Nothing is insurmountable as long as people know what is going on.
Do I get my fees returned if the event is cancelled?
If the event is cancelled due to an ‘act of god’, weather etc, then the MSA Authorisation fees will be returned to the Organiser. However, it should be noted that fees will NOT be returned for lack of entries.
Is there anything I need to do once the event is finished?
Once an event has finished, a list of competitors needs to be sent to the Competition Authorisation Office at Motorsports House. Alternatively, the list can be sent to Debbie Walmsley at ACU House who will then send the list onto the MSA.
Can I contact the MSA direct regarding any questions I might have?
Yes of course. The MSA can be contacted as follows:
Competition Authorisation Office
Motor Sports House
Tel: 01753 765075
However, for organisers who are new to this system are urged to liaise through the ACU Office:
Tel: 01788 566419
If I Organise a Trials Event with no Fixed Starting point and there is No Fixed Route, do I need to get MSA Authorisation?
In a word – no.
If for example you were organising a Trials event with a Course that included some use of the public highway and consisted of say – twelve groups of four sub-sections each of which riders had to attempt 36 (therefore not having to visit them all) and the riders were able to sign on at the Group of their choice – and there was no designated route for them to follow, there would be no requirement for this type of event to apply for MSA Authorisation.