Guide to Rallying: Gimmick Rallies

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by Larry Reid

In order to add a little of the spice of life to their activities, many clubs enliven their programs with an occasional "gimmick rally." A gimmick is a trick, and the variety of tricks that can be used is limitless. The only thing these no-holds-barred events have in common is an emphasis on sheer fun rather than on navigational skills.

One typical form is the fox hunt, or hare and hounds. Starting out half an hour or so before the first competing car, the rallymaster marks the course by dropping "torpedoes" of powdered lime. Or, if there is doubt as to whether the local authorities will appreciate having their roads spotted with blobs of white powder, he may tack small paper arrows to trees and poles. Object of this game is to follow the leader's route and finish with the lowest possible mileage recorded. If the rallymaster cunningly leaves his spoor only after the turns, you will have to do a lot of investigatory footwork at the intersections in order not to accumulate extra distance on your odometer. In addition to finding your way you may be required to maintain an average speed or to observe a time limit.

In a treasure hunt you are given a list of "treasures" and a certain length of time in which to collect as many of them as you can find. The treasures may be more or less improbable physical objects, or they may be bits of information to be obtained by driving from place to place.

A poker rally is a sort of mobile card game. At each of the five to eight checkpoints you are dealt, or allowed to draw, a playing card. At the last checkpoint you form the best five card poker hand you can make out of all the cards you have. The car with the highest hand is the winner.

Designed for fun, these and all the other offbeat forms of rallies tend to be easy. To be sure, they challenge one's ingenuity and resourcefulness; but because they are easy, luck plays a large part.

We cannot tell you how to be lucky, and so we are mentioning gimmick events only in passing. The rest of this book is devoted to showing you how to run the kinds of rallies where success depends on skill, not fortune.

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