Guide to A–B Gimmick Rallyes

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We hope this guide helps you understand and successfully run A–B gimmick rallyes. However, this guide offers only general advice, and describes gimmick concepts commonly found in A–B rallyes. Nothing in this guide should be considered a rallye instruction. If anything in this guide conflicts with your rallye instructions, then your rallye instructions prevail.

At the Start

First, read your General Instructions (GIs). Then re-read your GIs. Among other things, the GIs will specify the types of valid instructions and will define key terms.

The Route Instructions (RIs) are the instructions that direct you along the rallye's route. Most rallyes have several types of instruction that are of higher precedence than the RIs:

  • Vehicle Code: Always obey the law and drive safely.
  • Special Instructions (SIs): There are never any gimmicks on SIs. Just do them in the obvious manner.
  • General Instructions (GIs): The ground rules for the rallye.
  • Notes, Bonuses, and/or other themed instructions: Just to keep you on your toes.

After reading and re-reading your GIs, go through your RIs (and any other instructions) and mark anything that seems to conflict with the GIs. For example, if the GIs specify that the words North, Avenue, and their abbreviations do not exist on signs, then you should pay particular attention to an RI referring to "N Maple Ave".

Take good notes. It is often easy to forget things on route. Many rallyists find that it helps to use colored pens/pencils or highlighter pens.

Note that rallyemasters often post last-minute SIs and addenda to the GIs at the start. Be sure to check for any such updates before leaving the start.

Route Instructions: A, B, or C?

Generally, each RI in an A–B rallye has two parts labeled A and B. You will do only one part of each RI: the part that you can validly do first. You will mark your choice (A or B) on your score sheet. Or, if you can do both parts at the same time, then you will mark C on your score sheet and do part A.

At the finish, an A–B rallye is scored like a multiple-choice test. The correct answer (A, B, or C) for each RI earns points, and your final score is the number of correct answers you selected. The rallyemaster will try to trick you into choosing an invalid RI part, or into denying a valid (but suspicious-looking) RI part. That's part of the rallyemaster's "job"!

Sometimes, both RI parts will seem to apply at the same point. If so, then your job is to determine whether each part is valid.

Other times, only one of the parts will apply at a time. Depending on what you do when you encounter the first option, you may or may not encounter the second option. Some gimmicks even create separate loops where it is possible to encounter one option or the other, but never both.

Keep this in mind: If the first RI option you encounter is not valid (according to your GIs), then you should ignore it and continue to look for a valid instruction. Both alternatives "work", but only one will be worth full credit.

Indicate your choice by marking the corresponding A, B, or C on your score sheet. Usually, the GIs will tell you to blacken or cross out your choices, rather than circling your choices. (Blackened or crossed-out choices are easier to score accurately than circled choices.) Make sure your choices are dark and clear, and that they are marked as instructed in the GIs. You may lose points if you do not follow the directions in the GIs, or if your choices are not marked clearly.

You should also mark your choices on your RI page. That way, when you read the rallye's critique at the finish (after you've turned in your score sheet), you'll have a record of what you did on the route.



The following are typical examples of A–B Route Instructions (RIs). For each RI, assume that you start at the bottom of the map, driving in the direction of the arrow.

60. (A) L on SMYTH (B) L on BLACK
There is no street named "Smyth" (a spelling gimmick), so continue past Smith Ave and do part B at Black Rd.

65. (A) R at T (B) R at "DOE"
You can do part B at Doe St before you can do part A at Jones Blvd. Usually, quoted signs must appear on the right, and the "Doe St" sign is on your right.

70. (A) R at T (B) R after "BLACK"
Usually, quoted signs must appear on the right, but the "Black Rd" sign is on your left. Therefore, you cannot do part B.

75. (A) L at T (B) L at "BLACK" SA
Usually, SA indicates that the quoted signs can be anywhere (on your right, left, ahead, or overhead), rather than just on the right. Therefore, the location of the "Black Rd" sign does not matter, and you can do part B before you can do part A.

80. (A) L at T (B) L at "BLACK" SOL
Usually, SOL indicates that quoted signs must be on the left, rather than on the right. But check your GIs carefully! If you turn left on Black Rd, then the "Black Rd" sign will be on your left as you enter the intersection, but on your right as you pass the sign. Do your GIs require quoted signs to be on the left or right as you pass them, or as you enter the intersection?

85. (A) R at STOP (B) R at TEE
It appears that you can do both parts at Jones Blvd, but check your GIs carefully. Your GIs may define T but not TEE, in which case you would not be able to do part B. If your GIs do not define STOP, then you may or may not be able to do part A at the stop sign.

90. (A) L on BLACK (B) L at second OPP
Usually, you can turn on Black Rd without worrying about where the "Black Rd" sign is located, so you can do part A. But carefully check the definition of OPP in your GIs. It is possible that Black Rd is not the second OPP. For example, either Smith Ave or Black Rd might not meet the definition of an OPP.

95. (A) R after "DOE" (B) R ON JONES
The first opportunity to turn right after Doe St is Jones Blvd. However, the first opportunity to turn right after the "Doe St" sign is Doe St, so you can do part A first.

100. (A) R at DOE (B) R at first OOP
"Eh, what's OOP, Doc?" This is another spelling gimmick. Your GIs probably define OPP, but not OOP. On the other hand, if there is an Oop Blvd in the neighborhood, you can be sure your rallyemaster knows about it...

105. (A) R at JONES (B) CS at DOE, R at JONES
When you're deciding which RI part you can do first, usually only the first action counts for an RI part with multiple actions. You can CS (Continue Straight) at Doe St before you can turn right at Jones Blvd, so do part B. However, once you start executing an RI part with multiple actions (like part B), you must execute all the actions of that RI part before beginning the next RI.

Forced Turns



Forced turns are a common rallye gimmick. A turn is forced when you must turn to stay on a valid rallye road. The examples to the left show a forced left turn and a forced right turn.

The concept of a forced turn gimmick is that you cannot execute an instructed turn (that is, an L or R instruction in an RI) at a forced turn. Some rallyes simply state that instructed turns cannot be executed at forced turns. Another way to set up a forced turn gimmick is to require that instructed turns be executed at Intersections, and to define Intersections in a way that excludes forced turns.



Note that not all forced turns are as obvious as a bend in the road. Whenever you can proceed in only one direction (not counting a U), it is a forced turn. For example, at a T-shaped intersection, if the road at the top of the T is a one-way street, then you must turn right. Since you can proceed in only one direction, this is a forced turn.

In another variation of this gimmick, your GIs can specify that certain roads are not valid rallye roads. For example, some GIs specify that roads marked "Not a Through" or "No Outlet" do not exist. Other GIs specify that all valid rallye roads are "paved, public, and through", so only through roads are valid rallye roads. Since you cannot proceed along roads that are not valid rallye roads, you may find yourself at an intersection where only one road is a valid rallye road. Since you can proceed in only one direction while remaining on valid rallye roads, this is also a forced turn.

Other Common Gimmicks

The GIs may require that valid rallye streets be named. Alternatively, Intersection may be defined in a way that requires named streets, or that requires differently named streets.

Never assume that quoted signs are spelled correctly just because they match your map. Sign makers sometimes make mistakes too, and rallyemasters love to use unusual signs!

Parallel signs are signs that are parallel to your direction of travel, and are often easy to miss. For example, at an intersection, the street sign for the cross-street is perpendicular to your direction of travel, but the street sign for the street you are on is parallel to your direction of travel.

Notes, Bonuses, and/or other themed instructions, if any, usually "float" after they come into effect. That is, you may act on one or more RIs before you can act on one of these "floating" instructions. The Order of Precedence will tell you which type of instruction you should act on first if you encounter two at the same point on course.


You may encounter other rallyists traveling in different directions, but you should always run your own course. Others may have selected different RI options, and may be off the correct route. Beginners may be just as confused as you are. Experts sometimes explore multiple options to check their understanding of an advanced gimmick. Others may also be taking a short-cut to (or from) a section of the rallye they want to re-run.

The GIs usually specify that valid rallye roads are paved and public. However, unless your GIs state otherwise, roads are still valid even when road repairs/construction leave them temporarily unpaved. Likewise, signals are usually valid whether or not they are operating at the time, and vandalized/defaced signs are usually used as originally intended.

Don't panic if the road you are on ends. Just U and continue with your instructions. Often there are places where the route will validly go into a dead end (or into an intersection where none of the other roads are valid).

Also, the GIs usually tell you to make a U where safe and legal, but to consider it made where instructed. Sometimes you must drive a bit before you can make a U safely and legally. (Making a U over a cement divider can really mangle your car!)

In A–B rallyes, most of the signs used will be government or commercial signs. Later, if you want to review part of the rallye (or show off your new gimmick rallye skills to a friend!), the signs will still be there.

Before you leave the Checkout, be sure you know what a CP sign looks like (there are a few "tricky" CP signs out there). You also need to know what to do at a Checkpoint (e.g., answer questions, recite a saying, sign a CP log). Give CP workers a cheery greeting—they are there rain or shine, so you can enjoy the rallye.

Not only is it unsportsmanlike conduct to share information with others on the rallye, it is also grounds for disqualification. Local law enforcement agencies are notified of the event, including the rallye route. (Wave as you pass!) Receipt of a traffic citation will result in disqualification. Always obey the law and drive safely.

Teamwork is important in order to do well on any rallye. Both the driver and navigation should read and discuss the instructions, marking or highlighting portions that need special attention. Neither of you can do it alone. When you go through the GIs and RIs again, you might find something you missed.

Time invested studying the instructions at the start can help you once you are out driving the rallye course. There should be ample time to drive the rallye course, although you may not have time to check all possible interpretations of every instruction. In other words, unless you know you have time to spare, just drive the most correct route, consistent with your rallye instructions. (Some options will be off course.)

Should you have any questions, feel free to ask the rallye personnel at the start. Rallyemasters often provide their cell phone numbers as well, but please do not abuse this privilege.

We enjoy presenting A–B rallyes and hope you'll find them both entertaining and challenging. For information on our next event, please visit our web site:

See Also

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