# Road rally tips for beginner

My sister has roped me into driving in a road rally with her tomorrow night. I know nothing about it except that I’m supposed to be following a signed route in exactly the correct time. Any of you have pointers for an absolute beginner?

That’s what’s called a Time-Speed-Distance rally. You can Google on that term. Here are a couple of sites that come up: Welcome to time-speed-distance road rallying; What is a Road Rally?

If you have a chance to compare your car’s speedometer/odometer with some accurately marked distance (perhaps mileage posts on a highway), that may help you determine if you need to mathematically adjust your speedo readings to mimimize any discrepancy.

You’re going to have a great time!

I went on one local Road Rally and had an absolute BLAST! There were lots of local trivia questions to answer that would help prove you were taking the right route and there were prizes for the first one back, closest mileage, and closest to matching the rally designer’s time.

Not long after I created one of my own and I think my friends had a good time with it.

Anyway, the only tip I could give is to really pay attention to the instructions and your passenger has to really pay attention to the what you’re looking for.

In my rally, there was an area that I always sped through (not very much, but it does make a difference if there’s a prize for coming closest to the time it took the rally designer’s time to drive the course) and there are always supposed to be traps like that built in.

I goofed the instructions in my road rally and accidentally told people to take a left instead of a right near the end of the course and it’s lucky that most people had somehow figured out where they were supposed to go and made it. Only two people out of 10 had to open their emergency envelopes to find out where they were supposed to meet up.

Wow. I haven’t thought about that in years. Hmm, maybe I should have another one!

Very cool, Rocketeer! If this is a time-speed-distance rally, those are often done in pairs, with one person driving and another person navigating. Which job is yours?

Whereabouts are you, by the way? I’m the webmaster for the Georgia Sports Car Club and have never done any TSD rallies anywhere else. It’s such an unusual little hobby I’m always surprised to find other people who do it.

I’m slated to drive and my sister will be the navigator–she’s smarter than me so we gave her the tough job.

I’m in the Pacific Northwest; there’s some sports car group (I forget their name) here that holds rallies regularly, and we’re going to one of theirs.

Heh, you say that… I’m usually the navigator and **SeptemberDay **is the driver whenever we rally. Once last year she was unavailable and so I invited a friend to come along; I drove and she navigated. I had no idea how tough the driver’s job is! Ember makes it look easy.

I found that it helps as the driver to go about ten percent faster than the rally speed. That helps makes up for time spent slowing down and speeding up at stops. It’s more important to be at the correct speed when you’re going slow than it is when you’re going fast; I found that to be a little counterintuitive at first. If your sister is very experienced, she’ll be able to give you updates along the way (“Your odometer should say one mile in three, two, one, now.”). If not, just follow the course as best you can and don’t sweat the exact timing.

Have a fantastic time, and make sure to tell us about it afterward.

Couldn’t you just do the whole course a little fast, and then park and wait for X seconds just a little before the destination?

Nope, at least not at Georgia Sports Car Club events. If you come up on a checkpoint you’re welcome to slow way, way down or even stop. If the checkpoint crew waves you ahead, though, you have to immediately speed up and cross the control or else you’ll be penalized.

When I used to do this, back in the 60’s and 70’s, the participants did not know in advance where the checkpoints were located. They were NEVER placed where they were visible from very far down the road.

We sometimes used a hidden checkpoint were it was not visible at all. The checkpoint crew would just observe the numbers and record the time of passing.

A TSD rally usually consisted of three or four legs, each independently timed and scored.

This was before electronic calculators or digital stopwatches so we used a circular slide rule developed specifically for rallies.

Let’s move this to IMHO, where you can get facts, tips, opinions, etc.

samclem Moderator, General Questions

Ah, I didn’t know there were checkpoints other than at the finish. The only road rallies I’ve ever been part of have been very amateur affairs, with the only “reward” being that the first person to reach the picnic site at the end would end up lighting the grill for everyone else.

Well, if this is for beginners, it might be that there is only one leg. But the more legs there are, the easier it is to recover from a bad performance on one leg.

Here’s another site with standard rally rules.