Rally Notes: Variations on the Theme

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by Dave Fellman
SportsCar, July 1979

The relatively standard type of rally is the TSD, or time-speed-distance, involving simple course following and staying on time. But there are numerous popular variations on this concept.

Obviously, the National Rally Championship needs to be based on similar rally concepts-the TSD rally. But outside the championship trail in the regional programs, there is plenty of latitude. In fact, it is important for the regional programs to include a variety of events in order to build and maintain an active interest in the region's activities.

The new Regional Rally Development handbook describes a few variations on the basic TSD concept which have proven popular in many SCCA regions. There is no limit to the types of rallies that can be used. Rallying inspires invention.

Here is a summary of some of these variations. If you have additional ideas, I'd be interested in hearing from you.

Tulip diagrams can be used to show the path of entry and departure from intersections.

A grab bag contains a few unordered instructions and references which are to be implemented in whatever order they are found along the rally course.

Numerology is a method of assigning a number to each road at an intersection (usually by clockwise numbering). The path from the intersection is defined by a designated number. For example, the road of approach is 0, left is 1, etc.

A stick map consists of a base line which graphically depicts all roads encountered to the left and right of the rally course.

Mole tulips are the same as tulips, except each diagram is a mirror image of the actual intersection (as though viewing the intersection from underground.)

Logic boxes are instructions presented in flow chart format.

Map rallies allow the contestants to plot their own courses, within certain limits, of course.

A regularity run is a rally in which written instructions describe a course that is run once and in which contestants are timed at various places along the course from hidden controls. Then the course is run again with contestants attempting to duplicate their first run by being early/late/on-time at the same points as on their first runs.

A walking rally is a popular after meeting event in which course directions through a motel or apartment complex are provided, and average speed is given in feet per second. Scavenger hunts are low pressure events that provide much room for innovation.

A metric rally gives speeds in kilometers per hour and distance in kilometers.

Combo. A short timed rally is run in conjunction with an autocross. Weighted scores for the combined rally and autocross are used. Select your own formula.

A poker rally is a true low pressure event with luck being everything. Contestants follow a rally route but stop at five or more points along the route to draw a playing card. The highest poker hand wins. It sounds like giving away trophies as door prizes, but a skilled rallymaster can put in minor variations to stimulate interest.

In a Hare and Hound, contestants (the hounds) are required to follow the route laid out by the advance car (the hare). The hare drops a bag of flour or lime at an intersection where he intends to change course, with another confirmation bag or marker a short distance down the correct road but not close enough to be seen from the intersection. Since the event is scored on a basis of low mileage and time limit, contestants have to guess correctly at a good number of multiple choice intersections.

Shortest distance. You are given a map and a list of three or more intersections to be found on the map, plus a list of questions that can be answered only by visiting said points. You can visit the points in any order, but the car with the lowest mileage wins.

In a picture rally contestants are supplied with a series of photographs depicting intersections and/or structures along the rally route. They mayor may not be in their proper numerical order. They are accompanied by directional instructions or a list of questions to be answered. Scoring is based on answering the questions with low mileage as a tie-breaker.

An economy run is becoming a popular form of motor sport, in light of the fuel shortages. These events are based on miserly use of fuel over a course that has a variety of driving situations. The SCCA is promoting its Economy Challenge in 1979, and interested regions are encouraged to contact the Denver office for more information.

In conclusion then, there are many ways to put variety into a regional rally program. Variations from the common TSD theme can be a welcome and sometimes necessary means of attracting new members and providing variety for the old (long-time) members.

-Dave Fellman

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