The Kurt Caselli Foundation is involved with several projects to improve the safety of off-road racing. One of these is to unify course markings with a standardized system. The National Hare & Hound has already adopted the system and the 3- Bros 24 Hours of Glen Helen on October 19-20, 2019 will be using it as well. Here’s the official KCF course marking guide. Riders should familiarize themselves with the markings before lining up.


The Desert Racing Course Marking Guide was first introduced at Round 1 of the 2019 National Hare & Hound race series.

Many were skeptical of the changes, following their first experience with the new markings implemented, riders expressed that they are happy with the improved system.

Introduction to the KCF Course Marking Guide

In the interest of consistency and safety, The Kurt Caselli Foundation, with the help of many desert racing clubs and racers of all skill levels, has developed this Course Marking Guide.

Because there is no pre-running at desert events, racers count on clubs to provide a race course that is consistent and clearly marked. We hope that clubs will use these guidelines in order to provide some consistency between all races, but feel free to use any of this information in your rule book.

As of the time of this writing, The Kurt Caselli Foundation has additional tools available to help make your races safer. Please have your club contact us at [email protected] to obtain the below materials.

  • Course Marking cards and Ribbon. The Foundation has care packages available with all of the markings and ribbon colors discussed in this guide.

    • We recommend using the Presco highly visible flagging rolls. The best price we have found is with Full Source –

    • We used JART printing in Anaheim, CA for our markers. Call Art at 714-666-0136 to order your own custom markers.

  • Safety Vests. Course workers at checks, road crossings, start finish, etc should be wearing safety vests.

  • Yellow Caution Flags.

  • Race in progress signs. We urge all events to post signs at every possible entrance into OHV areas and throughout the heavily congested trails to alert recreational traffic that there is a race going on that weekend.

Course Marking Guide FAQ

Why change?

Over the years, course marking has become inconsistent from loop to loop and club to club. Without a clear guide on how to mark courses, it has been left to interpretation.

While course marking has become more inconsistent, the consistent use of the color orange has created confusing and dangerous circumstances. Currently, directional makers, danger markers and road crossings are the same colors. Several races have been delayed because we couldn’t find youth riders lost on the big bike loop. Several pros have almost had head on collisions coming backwards on the course because they ended up on the youth loop or an intersection was not properly marked.

Our safety team rides the race course on race day. Often cards are blown away by wind or eaten by cows. Some clubs rely solely on cards and should be using more ribbon.

It is very difficult to read text or event a direction of an arrow at speed. We have put time and effort into research and strongly feel different colors with different meanings will help all levels of racers.

Why Blue? Why not Orange?

At speed and in the dust it’s incredibly difficult to read what direction an arrow is pointing. It is much easier to see a different color means danger than try and read a sign or determine which direction the arrow is pointing. Making danger markers a different color also means a different color ribbon. If 50mph winds or a hungry cow removes a danger marker, there is now Blue ribbon there to denote the danger where there would otherwise be no marking left from bad weather.

Why Blue? Why not Yellow or Pink or Red?

Ribbon. Neon pink, yellow, orange and red are all incredibly bright, awesome colors. But they are all very close on the color spectrum and at speed they look the same. The ribbon colors are even harder to differentiate in that color spectrum at speed. This course marking initiative will stress the importance of using ribbon. While we are using Blue cards at dangers, everywhere we mark a blue card – there is blue ribbon in case our desert winds blow them away the night before or morning of a race. Blue is the farthest away from Pink/Orange in the color spectrum. During several weekends of testing all of the available colors in the desert, Blue was unanimously chosen by dozens of racers and club members as the most blatant danger.

Why not use Neon Green or Yellow?

We have tested green and yellow in several geographic areas. While they may be great for the So Cal desert, they blend in with the terrain in the Northwest US. We also found cows eat more yellow and green markers than orange. Yes, really.

Why 3-2-1?

Some clubs mark 1-1-1, some 2-2-2, some 1-2-3, some 3-2-1. This is another area of inconsistency that needs to be set to a standard. We realize you may not be used to 3-2-1, but it makes the most sense. In the other scenarios above, you don’t know how many arrows to expect. 1 may mean to turn, 1 may not mean to turn. Same with 2 or 3. If 1 is ALWAYS The turn, then you know to turn whether it’s just one turn arrow for a slight turn, a 2-1 scenario for a moderate turn, or a 3-2-1 turn for a high speed turn.

This method is used in ISDE races and has received a lot of positive feedback from racers. (It was recommended by our US racers that raced there). It has also been thoroughly tested and debated.

Why are road crossing colors changing?

A road crossing doesn’t always mean there is a danger. Currently road crossing signs are the same color as directional signs. Road crossing signs should be easily visible to alert the rider to look for traffic. If it is also dangerous, it will accompany a danger card.

Why an exclamation point instead of a down arrow?

We have been to several races this year where we come up to a hill and see an up arrow and a down arrow. This is confusing to most riders. With the new blue cards, the symbol on the card is completely irrelevant. Blue = Danger. We want down arrows to mean downhill to avoid confusion and keep clubs from using the danger cards as directional markers.

Riders would appreciate knowing which direction the course leads over a rise. If they ride up to a hill and there is a down and left pointing arrow, they know to set up for a left downhill turn.

Comments, questions, advice, feedback? Please email David Kamo at [email protected].

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