Monday, May 18, 2009

Rally in the Rain

This weekend, I ran the Georgia Sports Car Club May rally.  I partnered with Robert Harvey and drove his BMW.

Read how we fought the elements to win first place and why I did not bring home the trophy....

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

GPS Rally

Here is an interesting story about a GPS rally for Jeeps.  Sounds like it was a fun event.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ways to loose a rally.

This weekend I ran a trap distance only event with the Georgia Sports car club.  It was fun to see every one but since I am not a big fan of these types of events I tried the navigator seat for a different driver to shake things up a bit.

Having two drivers in the same car was not an advantage as neither of us was really prepared.  Normally I let my navigator read the generals so neither one of us was really paying close attention.  We did read enough to know that all rail road tracks were named Bob.

When I run with my normal rally partner, we have set rule for checking spelling traps.  The driver reads the sign letter for letter and the navigator reads the route instructions letter for letter.  If we both read  the sign it will always match so we missed that Quiktrip was spelled differently on the sign than in the route instructions.  We got the Bob part right but still maxed the leg by missing the Quiktrip stuff.

We did really good at measuring the mileage using just the stock odo.  Both of use are used to using a computer so the stock odo is a bit of a novelty to us.  My driver managed to read a 3 as an 8 once but luckily it was on a leg that we had already bit the trap on so we did not have an extra added score.

Also, I made a very novice mistake of not noticing that an instruction was numbered and not lettered and I repeated it eleven times instead of doing it only once like the instructions said.

All in all we had a fun day and gave someone else a chance to take home a trophy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bell Buckle Parks Rally

On the Fourth of July I ran the Bell Buckle Parks Rally. I took along several friends so I had to drive my GMC Suburban. We entered int he "Car Load" class. I asked if they had a prize for the most people in a car.

We had fun running the rally as usual and ended up with our mileage score being only .01 off the correct number. That tied us for first overall and we won the car load class.

After the rally we were treated to grilled hamburgers and hot dogs provided by the town of Bell Buckle. There were also lots of home made side dishes and deserts to go with the meal.

After the score were announced, we had another treat!

The Bell Buckle thespians took a break from their presentation of a Mid Summer nights dream to present a spoof about RC and Moon Pie's romance called a Mid Summer Nightmare.

The play was very funny and very well presented. Thanks to all who worked to do that show.

Once again July 4th in Bell Buckle was huge fun!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

NEXT Road Rally

Mark your calenders and get out your rally equipment!

The NEXT group is planning an event for September that looks like huge fun!

They are currently accepting applications for the North Eastern Extreme Travel Road Trip Rally of 2008.

The Road Rally will begin on the morning of September 14th, every participant will be provided with a map leading them on the route our crew has meticulously planned to be scenic, engaging, and fun.

I'll post more details as I get them but for now go to to learn more and sign up for this road rally.

Update: See this article for more info on the next road rally:

Labels: , , , , ,

2008 Bell Buckle Rally

There will agian be a rally in Bell Buckle, Tn July 4th to benefit the parks and recreation program. Be at the park around 10Am Central time to run.
From the Bell Buckle Web site:
For more information, contact:Rally Masters: Bill Bingham 931-389-6944 or Charles Cooke 931-389-9551
Choose Your Category1. Never been on a rally2. Have been on a rally3. Car load-2+ adults in car4. Lost as An Easter Egg
Schedule 9:00am--10:00am Rally Registration10:15am Safety Briefing10:40am Rally begins(Cars leave in 2 minute intervals)12:30pm Awards Presentation
General InstructionsEntry Fee: $20 per car (lunch included)Each car has a driver/navigatorUnder18 Needs parent/guardian
GuaranteeThe Tri-Lakes Sports Car Club is so confident that you will enjoy the rally they will refund your entry fee if you are not satisfied after completion of the Rally!
From the Tri Lakes web site:

Rally 'Round The Park JULY 4th, 2008 to benefit the Bell Buckle Park Starting location:Peacock street, Bell Buckle TN. Classes: 1,Never been on a rally, 2.Have been on a rally, 3. Car load 2 or more adults in vehicle. Registration is 9am - 10am, 10:15 saftey breifing, Rally starts at 12:30. An awards presentation at the end of the rally. Entry fee $20.00 per car, lunch included. Each car has a driver and navigator. Under 18 needs parent/guardian.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Crow Mountain Hill Climb

While not a rally, this is a fun automotive event. The Crow Mountain Hill climb will be September 29th and 30th outside of Scottsboro, Al.

The route of the Coker Tire Challenge will follow the route of the hill climb in the down direction the weekend before.

For more information on the hill climb, see:

Great Race in Chattanooga

The 2007 Coker Tire Challenge, presented by Great Race is scheduled for September 21 – 23, 2007 in Chattanooga, Tenn., home to Coker Tire’s international headquarters.

For more information see:

GSCC Rally September 16

To Be or Not to Be
Rallymaster: Fred Hollinger
Registration begins at 9:00 AM in the Target parking lot on West Park Place just south of US 78 (Stone Mountain Freeway Exit 9).
First car off at 10:00 AM.

The rally is about 75 miles and should take less than 3 1/2 hours including a mid-rally break. The rally will end at the rallymaster's house, about 2 1/2 miles from the start.

Food and beverages will be provided. Usually the pool is still warm enough for swimming in mid September.This is a relatively easy trap rally. All of the traps are based on recognizing whether or not roads, signs or intersections exist.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Comments from a first time ralliest on the Bell Buckle Parks rally July 4 2007:

I had SOOO much fun Wednesday at my first road Rally in Bell Buckle,TN. I went with my best friend Mike and his wife Janice. It was different going somewhere with adults rather than kids!! For those that know me I rarely EVER go out and if I do my kids are with me. Not this time!! I had such a blast I just wish it would have lasted longer. Mike and Janice were such a hoot on the way there and back home although Mike was the one getting most of the attention. Mike got the tires he needed to get Scuffy II back off roading again. Mike was sooo happy to get those tires. It was so funny though to see peoples reactions as they passed by us after reading the sticker on Janice's jeep: Jeep girls do it in the mud! I'm still thinking about getting that wig for Mike.....


Labels: ,

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tennessee Back roads Heritage rally

Last weekend we ran the Tennessee back roads heritage rally in Middle Tennessee.

The course following navigation was a bit tricky in that they used an old set of general instructions and made the rally fit rather than the other way around. Complicating the course following was that route instructions might follow the main road or they might not. We made one bad turn that caused a .2 mile off course due to reading too much in to the pre event verbal instructions. However, we quickly recovered the route by simply following the instructions as written.

There was no time keeping other than an overall time limit for the event. Our strategy was to start early - we were the first car out of the parking lot - and to drive briskly on the twisty back roads.

We took time to read every sign and note the name of every side road along the route.

Our strategy paid off with a first overall finish and we finished well before the time limit so we had time to tour downtown Lynchburg while waiting for the results to be announced.

Rally Tennessee

A tarmac rally in the US? In Perry County Tennessee no less?

Yes, the world converged on Linden, Tn again this year for a very unique event in US motor sports.

While tarmac rallies are common in Europe, there are very few of them in the US.

This year 26 teams brought cars from all over the world to race the twisty backroads of Perry County Tennessee. And adding to the fun this year was an experimental class of Rally Moto bikes.

No one was really sure how the off road bikes would take to the tarmac but all the riders seemed to have a huge time on the roads.

Georgia Irishman, Shamus Burke took first place in a hard fought battle.

For more info see:

Bell Buckle Park Rally July 4th, 2007

Here is the inside scoop for this years Bell Buckle Park Rally:

The route will be a recreation of a historic route taken by an adventurer form around the turn of the century. Since thing have not changed much in the last 100 years in Bell buckle it may not be too hard to follow.

Charlie tells me that the route instructions will be in the form of a story about the old man and his mules.

The Bell Buckle rally is always a fun adventure and this year's concept sounds like a fun new twist.

GSCC Rally

The next Georgia Sports car club rally is May 20. The rally master is Robert Harvey so expect accurate mileage measurement and correct calculations for the times.

Course following should be relatively easy with every thing spelled out clearly in the general instructions. No mind reading required.

For more info see:

Spring Tour VSunday May 20, 2007The start and end will be at Johnny's Pizza on Ga 20 just east of Ga 400 (in front of Lowe's). The rally will be a simple, straight forward, non-trap, Time-Speed-Distance rally. Registration: 9:00AMDriver Meeting 9:40AMFirst car out 10:01AMEstimated finish 2:30 PMRallymaster is Robert Harvey

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

100 Acre Wood Rally

I was Event Steward at this year's 100AW rally.

Read my trip report here....

Tri Lakes Rally Schedule for 2007

May 12 - Rally begins at Motlow State community college south of Tullahoma

July 4 - Annual Bell Buckle Park rally starting in Bell Buckle at the park.

November 10 - Motlow

for more information on any of these rallies contact Charlie Cooke at 931-389-9551

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Rally in the 100 Acre Wood

I served a Event Steward in the Rally America championship event in Salem, Mo - the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood.

the 100Acre wood rally has a long tradition beginning many years ago as an SCCA rally. I have run the event as both a driver and a navigator.

Also, during a few years when regulations prevented the running of a Rally Race, I competed in the TSD rallies that were run on the same roads.

This years 100AW was the best I have ever been involved in. Due to the relatively large area of the rally, logistics are always a challenge. This years committee really did a good job of handling those challenges.

They had things so well in hand that the long time organizer and Rally co driver Kim Demonte actually got to navigate in the event instead of working. He looked much happier in that role.

I took very few pictures due to my busy schedule and the rain on Saturday. However, it was a very enjoyable experience to work the rally this year.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

100 Acre wood rally

I am headed out for the Rally in the 100 acre wood.

This performance rally is based in Salem, Mo.

I will be acting as Event Steward for Rally America.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

GSCC / BMW rally

Here is a note form Robert Harvey of the GSCC:

This past Saturday the Georgia Sports Car Club organized a question & answer rally for the Peachtree chapter of the BMW Car Club of America.

The event was a great success. We had 39 cars to run the rally.

In fact, the event was such a great success that they have asked us to do another rally. The tentative date is Saturday May 12th. Please note that this is the Saturday of Mother's day weekend.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nasa Rally Sport Schedule

I just got the NASA Rally Sport newsletter. Looks like Anders green is taking on more of a leadership position in the club. I expect only good things from him in his new position.

Cherokee Trails is not on the schedule again this year. I guess the best rally roads in the world are just too hard to access these days.

Rally Tennessee will again be in Linden so I am expecting another Tarmac event. I hope they can continue to race safely there.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tri Lakes Rally

Bill, Frank and Charles of TLSCC present a car rally for your pleasure . This will be an easy navigation rally in which you must know your T's and Opp's. It will last about three hours with a midpoint pit stop. This is a good rally for beginners. The route is on paved roads between Tullahoma and Shelbyville, Tn

Nov 11
Motlow College
10:00 to 10:30 Am

Entry fee: $20 per car

End point: Pickin Parlor in Wartrace ,Tn

For further info call:
Bill - 931-580-6944
Frank 931-389-6322
Charles 931-389-9551

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Great Race Chattanooga

The Great Race is coming to Chattanooga. And they need check point workers.

Get an up close look at some amazing old cars and watch them arrive at control just seconds off their perfect time even with no computers or even and odometer.

If you enjoy rally, this is a great opportunity to see some highly skilled teams compete in some really cool cars.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jeeps at Targa Newfoundland rally

Jeep entered a couple of competition vehicles in the Targa Newfoundland rally this year. There is an entertaining report of both vehicles at the following link.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Crow Mountain Hill climb

This past weekend I had huge fun working the Crow Mountain Hill Climb.

While it is technically an SCCA time trial event, the fact that they use a section of public road that is closed for the timed runs makes it operate like a single stage performance rally.

Because of my Rally experience, I was asked to assist in the function of course marshal.

This job consists of monitoring the safety and security of the course during the event. We also had Bill Perry's Jeep equipped with sufficient supplies to qualify us as a first response vehicle.

If anyone had an incident on the hill, we could respond quickly and determine the best course of action - like getting a wrecker or ambulance if needed or simply towing them ourselves if that was possible.

Our biggest surprise of the day was when turn nine reported unknown debris on the track. We were dispatched to investigate and discovered that a 44 inch timber rattler had made it on to the course and had been fatally struck by one of the race cars.

Sadly I swept the remains off the road. But after the event, I recovered the snake and mounted him on the front bumper of Bill's Jeep to show the unbelievers in the paddock area.

We used wire ties instead of duct tape so we don't really qualify as rednecks.

A photo is posted here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Review of Fred's Rally

The last Rally of the GSCC was very well executed by rally master Fred Hollinger.

Robert and I won first place by getting all the traps right except the last one.

Robert and I had switched seat s for this event with him driving and me navigating. My time keeping skills are not as good as his as was shown by our scores. Marty and Tom who got second, beat us at time keeping, but we got more traps right which is what a trap rally is about anyway.

Fred started us off with a pause at a sign that was on a truck. Since signs on vehicles did not exist, that one did not count. We still got a poor score on that leg because we failed to set out computer clock correctly.

Later Fred gave us an instruction to turn at a road sign. The sign was obvious, however since the road ahead was a dead end, the sign was not at an intersection so we had to wait until later to execute the instruction.

He hit us with a lettered instruction follow in the middle of a control. If you did not pay attention you would start the leg at the wrong out marker. We almost fell for that one as we were rushing to make our out time. We had to start the leg late and make up the time. Luckily there were some pauses later one that allowed us to catch up.

Fred got us on the last leg of the day on a trap he set up two years ago. For the last two years, we have gone into a checkpoint in front of his house based on the road existing as defined in the generals. This year he misquoted the sign and we were supposed to take the long loop. We did it like we have the last couple of years which was wrong this year.

Good Job Fred!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

GCSS Rally Announcement

Georgia Sports car club rally September 17

Annie Chandler and Leather Stockings

Registration begins at 9:00 AM in the Target parking lot on West Park Place just south of US 78 (Stone Mountain Freeway Exit 9). First car off at 10:00 AM. The rally is about 75 miles and should take less than 3 1/2 hours including a mid-rally break. The rally will end at the rallymaster's house, about 2 1/2 miles from the start. Food and beverages will be provided. Usually the pool is still warm enough for swimming in mid September.

This is a relatively easy trap rally. Mostly numbered route instructions with a few lettered route instructions. A description of the traps is provided in the Generals. ALL TRAPS ARE FAIL-SAFED.

Rally Master is Fred Hollinger

Hope to see you there.

Friday, September 08, 2006

What signs exist and what signs do not exist

Know what roads and signs exist and what roads and signs do not exist

Note that in the definitions, he specifies that words painted on vehicles do not exist. So if a company has used a huge semi truck as a billboard, that sign does not exist because it is on a vehicle.

Some businesses use signs in or on vehicles to get around city ordnances the same way.

So if you have a lettered instruction that says pause two minutes at "rally" and you pass Rally Trucking but their sign is on a truck, don't pause.

Thursday, September 07, 2006



Spelling traps are one of the oldest tricks used by rally masters. They are still used today because they work.

For example Annie Chandler Rd is not the same as Anny Chandler Rd or Anne Chandler Rd. County road departments are not always consistent in how the spell road names. Especially across county lines. Also, some business names can have spelling different from their sound.

In order to best prepare your team for this type of trap, before the rally, assign who will read the sign and who will read the route instruction when spelling is questioned. This way you can both quickly read the letters and compare the routes to the sign to see if it is the one referenced.

Just be sure you know which partner has which role before you begin. It will match every time if you are both reading the sign or both reading the route instructions. Ask Robert how I know that.

At and On is At

At and On is At

For an example of a trap based on this concept: Assume you are traveling along Rally Road. While on Rally Road, you are also AT Rally Road. So you can do the instruction "right at Rally Road" on any existing sideroad. You would actually execute this instruction at the first existing sideroad off of Rally Road.

A Course Following Action can only be performed at an Intersection

A Course Following Action can only be performed at an Intersection

An example of a trap based on this concept would be arriving at what looks like a T intersection with Rally Rd. However, the road to the left is marked "Dead End." Based on the definitions, the road to the left does not exist. So there is only one way to leave the intersection - the road to the right. This point ion the orad is no longer an intersection as defined. You could not execute the instruction "Right at Rally Road" at this location. You would have to proceed to the next side road right that exists and execute the instruction there.

Which leads to the next concept....

Fred's Rally generals

The General instructions for the upcoming GSCC rally are posted here.

He has listed some of the traps that may be found in his rally. Most of us will still fall for one or more.

I will explain some possibilities in posts leading up to the rally.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The art and science of rally

While some racers I know don’t see rallying as a motor sport, there is no denying the scientific aspect of the sport. We measure a route more precisely than most road engineers know how to do. We drive a car through varying conditions exactly at a set speed to arrive at an unknown location at exactly the correct calculated time.

All very scientific.

Even in trap rallies we rely on logic to determine the correct execution of the trapped instructions. If the generals are correctly worded and the conditions are correctly established there can be only one correct method of executing the route instructions.

So where is the art? The art is in winning a rally.

To be a winner you first have to think like one. If you are convinced that something will go wrong during a rally to ruin your score, then you will find that thing.
I still remember the time I spent preparing myself before my first national win. Before that I had always had the feeling that I was not good enough to win. There were so many people out there with more experience.

I put all that out of my mind a focused my thoughts on getting as many zeros as possible. The result was a score of 11 on a National Touring rally and gong home with a trophy.
Remember that even in rallying, what your think about expands. Don’t dwell on mistakes or potential problems. Prepare for them. Stay focuses on your goal of getting as low a score as you can.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

CompuRally - the early days

As I have mentioned before, CompuRally started out on a TI-55 calculator. It later evolved to an HP 41c and later to the 41CX with the time chip.

As Jeff and I learned more about industrial controls from automating our process at Westvaco, we decided to upgrade to computer data acquisition.

We found a card that would count pulses for an IBM clone computer. I built an encoder in the brake rotor of my Datsun 510 by drilling holes and using a proximity sensor to generate pulses. The card in the computer did the counting. The Compurally software written in BASIC did the math and displayed the result on a 7 inch monitor mounted where the glove box should have been in my 510.

The desktop computer ran off an inverter and was mounted to the cargo area floor of my 510 wagon. We had long cables to connect the keyboard and monitor.

As good engineers we tried to think of every thing that might go wrong with the set up and plan for the contingencies.

We tested everything we could think of and when the system seemed bulletproof, we headed to Atlanta to give it a go against Ken and Robert's Zeron computer.

In the back of my mind I was still thinking that somethiong would go wrong with our hacked together system. But we had tested everything we could think of. What could possible go wrong?

While running the odometer calibration leg, we drove under so low hanging power transmission wires. Just as we drove under the wires, the computer rebooted, loosing all our calibration data.

At first we did not associate the wires with the reboot, but after the computer rebooted for the third time in the exact same spot we decided it must be something in the wires. Who would have thought that the power would set up enough resonance to reboot our computer in the car?

After that rally we added shielding to the long cables and never had another reboot. The later version for our laptop computer eliminated the trouble altogether.

Sometimes I wish I was not so good at manifesting problems to correct. To read more about the dark side of manifesting your fears click here.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Reading the Generals

Every rally will have a set of General instructions. These are commonly known as "The Generals."

Reading and knowing the general instructions is the key to getting good score, staying on course and possibly winning the rally.

The General instructions will tell you things like what the penalty scale is, where signs might be located,how and when to execute the instructions and what to do at intersections where you have no instructions.

If you happen to attend a Rally without written general instructions, ask a lot of questions to find out what the un written rules are for that club.

When running a trap rally, the generals will be the key to setting up most of the traps.

Begin by looking for strange definitions. For example, one rally I ran defined a bridge as crossing water. In the rally we crossed what looked like a bridge but it was over a train track instead so for the purpose of the rally, it was not a bridge.

Another common trick is to define where signs can be found. For example signs on the left of the road may not exist for the purpose of the rally. Or even more common is that signs painted on vehicles do not exist. The rally master may reference a really big sign painted on a truck but since a truck is a vehicle, you can't use it in the rally.

In the Rally in Bell Buckle we ended up second instead of winning due to my not reading the generals carefully. I made a simple mistake that cost me a few points moving me from first to second.

Always read the generals.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Rally Master mentoring

In order to learn how to put on a rally I strongly suggest that you solicit a mentor to help you. I have run far too many rallies put on by people who have read a bit about a rally and maybe having run one in the past think it would be fun to be a rally master. After all who can resit the power trip of having people driving around dong exactly what you tell them too.

Before you let your ego get carried away, take some time to think about the logistics of your rally. Do people have enough time to safely get form one place to another. What will the traffic be like on rally day. Does the route pass by churches at noon on Sunday? Is there a fair or horse show scheduled the same weekend on your route?

Think also about parking for the contestants at breaks and pauses.

Remember that people run rallies to have fun and see new scenery. Make sure you deliver that to your customers.

For a chance to put on a rally in Middle Tennessee and learn form a great rally master, contact Charlie Cooke in Bel Buckle as he is looking for someone to help with his November rally. Or in the Atlanta area contact the Georgia Sports car club.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Rally Navigation Clock Trick

Setting your clock.

By now I am sure you know it is important to correctly set your clock when running a road rally.

Here is a trick we used this weekend to make things much easier for us all day.

Anytime you are given car zero times, set you clock to match these car zero times. That way you don't have to remember to add your car number all day.

Jeff added a subroutine to our compurally program to handle this trick but you can do it on any rally computer or even in stock class.

For example if your are car 5 and you are setting your clock to 10:00 am set the display to show 9:55 instead. That way when it is your time to leave, your clock will show the correct car zero time.

Less math is less chance to make a mistake. More focus on having fun and getting zeros.

I win!

GSCC Rally Results

The trophy presentation at this weekend's GSCC Rally looked like a BMW party. Every class was won by a BMW.

Stock class was taken by veteran ralliests in a Z3. Limited by a M3 and Novice class by another BMW convertible.

Robert and I won overall and equipped class with me driving Robert's BMW. We finished with 14 points 7 of those coming on one leg where I was not paying attention to how much time I lost at a stop sign. I did not let that happen again as later in the day we lost some time at a traffic light and I was still down within sight of the control. I used all the BMW's power and handling and actually got us to the control at the top of the hill one hundredth early!

The biggest drama of the day was from the Tennesseans Wayne and Vanessa who attracted the attention of a county sheriff deputy while juggling route instructions, a cell phone and a shift lever. Due to their ability to talk their way out of a ticket and return to the rally, they received the not so coveted Maxwell Trapper award with according to club rules must be proudly displayed on the back of their toilet until they pass it on to the next recipient.

Thanks to Tom for putting on another great road rally.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Georgia Sports Car Club Rally

You are Given the Time V
Sunday July 16th

Registration begins at 9:00 AM across from the Bruster's Ice Cream on GA20 @ GA 400 (East side of 400 Left off Exit Ramp) (In front of the Lowe's / behind the Chili's in Cumming GA Exit 14 off GA 400 ).

Your start time will be 10:00 AM plus your car number in minutes. The rally is about 100 miles and will have Three Short Breaks. You will be given the Time and Mileage at all possible Checkpoint locations.

At the end of the rally we will meet at the Johnny's Pizza ( Same parking lot where we started). We look forward to see everyone at the Rally.

For all rallies, Registration is from 9:00 AM to 9:30 AM, Drivers Meeting at 9:40 AM, First Car Out 10:01 AM Cost: $10 per car for GSCC members. $15 per car for non members.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Monte Carlo Style Rally

I am not sure of the origin or spelling of the name but, a Monte Carlo style rally is where you are given the mileage and time to all the controls. Your job is to just be there on time.

Sounds easy doesn't it?

Well these have been some of the toughest rallies I have ever run. You see they give you about a hundred potential checkpoint locations where you are given the time to be there. They will only staff and score a handful of these. But since you don't know where they will be until you see the checkpoint sign, you have to be on time all the time. Just like any other TSD rally.

These rallies can be great practice for those just learning the math behind TSD rally calculations. You can check your math at any point in the route by comparing what you calculated to what is given in the routes.

The Monte Carlo style rally always seems to keep my navigator busy correcting the computer to match the mileage and time given at each location. You would think it would be less work, but my navigators always seem to be busy correcting stuff. Maybe they just want to feel important.

For a real life example of a Monte Carlo style rally, run Tom's "You are Given the time" event in Atalanta July 16.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bell Buckle Rally

Tom and Angie Parrish win Rally round the Park!

Bell Buckle hosted the fourth annual running of rally round the park this year as part of their Independence day celebration.

Charlie Cooke put on a very interesting Photo tour rally in the farm country surrounding Bell Buckle. The winner was decided by measuring the correct mileage for the route. The route instructions consisted of photos of intersections along the route where you determined your direction of travel by either the car in the picture or by a written instruction.

Following the main road as defined in the general instructions was also a factor in determining the correct route.

For pictures and a full description of our day around Bell Buckle see my Bell Buckle rally report.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Rally round the Park

Rally to benefit the Bell Buckle Tennessee Park

Hosted by the Tri Lakes sports car club

The Rally starts at the Bell Buckle Park on Peacock Street in Historic Bell Buckle Tennessee

Tuesday July 4th at 9:30 am

The entry fee is $20 per car.

Satisfaction Guaranteed: If you don't have fun on this rally, contact Bill or Charlie at the awards party and they will refund your entry fee.

For more information contact Bill Bingham at 931-580-6944 or Charles Cooke at 931-389-9551

See the tips on how to run this type of rally in the previous posts.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Rally Round the park details

Charlie tells me this will be a short fun photo rally like described in this previous post. A photo rally is where the route instructions consists of photos of intersections that you must identify form the photos and then determine which way to travel form clues in the photo. Note that the photos may have been taken at a different season than when the rally is being run so things may not look exactly the same.

This type of rally is great for families as the kids are often better at relating to the pictures than adults are.

You can also expect some great fun at the beginning of the rally. There is usually some great entertainment from the students of Webb school. The last time I was there, they put on a very entertaining musical about life with cars.

I am not sure what they will be doing this year, but you will get to hang out in the cool town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Just saying the town's name is fun! (read this article about Bell Buckle.)

The rally will take you through some of the scenic farm country around Bell Buckle. The terrain varies from flat to hilly and the roads are always suitable for any kind of automobile.

Be prepared for a relaxing drive in the country and enjoy some of the beautiful scenery that this area has to offer. The winner will likely be decided by measuring the correct mileage or maybe by answering some questions.

Monday, June 26, 2006

How to plan a road rally

Tips on how to plan a road rally successfully.

1. Know your audience's cars. Make sure the roads you plan to use are suitable for the cars that you expect. Don't take British Sports cars on forest trails and don't take 4x4 trucks on city streets. Make sure the roads are fun for the type of vehicles you expect to participate.

2. Know your audience's skill level. As I found in my infamous Lets learn to rally rally, even the simplest of traps are virtually incomprehensible to a novice who is just learning the sport. make sure you keep things at a level that is fun for every one involved. This is particularly challenging in a club like GSCC where you have extremely talented rallies who want to be challenged showing up the same day as novices running their first rally. Just be sure you let people know what they are coming for and all will go well.

3. manage your logistics. make sure there is ample parking at places where people might gather like the start finish and break points along the way.

4. Be extra careful of control locations. make sure all timing controls are located in safe places. make these away from houses and populated spots so that distraction are minimized.

5. Consider the speed. Make sure that the speeds you assign either directly or indirectly are appropriate for the roads you will be using. Don't make them so slow they become a nuisance and not so fast that they become a hazard. Also, consider what other tasks the rallies will be doing in addition to driving the roads.

More on how to plan a road rally later.......

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Road rally ideas

There are as many different types of rallies as there are rally masters.

My personal favorite rally is the straight tsd rally. This is sometimes called a touring rally. In this type of rally, you are given clear concise route instructions and the winner is decided by who arrives at the control locations at exactly the correct time.

Another form of TSD or time speed distance rally involves adding certain logic traps to the route instructions. The winner is still decided by who arrives at the correct time but most likely the winner is decided by who gets the most traps right.

The mileage only rally is fun rally idea. In this rally, the traps or tricks will cause the contestant to take a different course causing them to measure a different distance. The winner is determined by being the closest to the official distance.

A photo rally is one where the route is determined by pictures of intersections. the winner is usually determined by measuring the correct distance.

Gimmick rallies are also a popular rally idea. These involve answering questions about things found along the rally route. The winner is the one who gets the most questions right.

Lime runs were once popular rally ideas, but have fallen on disfavor in recent years due to the potential for speeding. In a lime run, also known as hare and hound, the rally master leaves the start ahead of the contestants. At each intersection that he might have changed direction, he leaves a spot of lime on the pavement. The contestants must guess which way the rally master (or Hare) went. The object being trying to catch the hare or to at least measure the same distance as the rally master.

Another rally idea, poker run rallies, are popular with motorcycle clubs and classic car clubs. In these events, the contestants follow a simple course and get cards dealt to their hand at each control they encounter. The winner is the one with the best poker hand at the finish party.

I hope these will give you some good road rally ideas to try with your club or corporate road rally.

More road rally ideas see

TLSCC rally results

May 6 Back Roads Rally Results

1st Timers

Bill and Melissa Richard

Tony and Trena Vargas

John and Carolyn Packer


Ricki and John Jordan

Howard and Vicki Camden

It’s Not My Fault

Frank and Wanda Rosebery

Arvin and Debbie Appelman

Frank and Sharon Reagor


Bill and Pat Bingham

Jacob Manon and Jessie Cook

Tom and Angie Parrish

Backroads Browsers

David and Barbara Williams

David and Wendy Williams

Mike and Michele Richardson

Saturday, June 24, 2006

RallyCross June 24th - cancelled

There will not be a Rallycross June 24th at Dave Brooks farm in Graysville, tn.

See the Chattanooga SCCA web page for times and directions.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Georgia Sports Car Club Annual Picnic

The Georgia Sports car club is having it annual members picnic this Saturday June 17th.

For more information see the club web site at GSCC

This year it will be just a picnic with no rally or scavenger hunt. So contact Tom and let him know you are coming.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Calibrating your Odometer

No two automobile odometers ever read the same.

Even in identical cars, the tires would have to have the same pressure and the same tread depth and loading to make the odometers read the same.

For this reason, each rally starts with an odometer calibration run. Normally this section has a specified time in which to reach the end or it may be separate from the timed runs all together in the case of a rally race.

In any case, the basic procedure is the same. You drive the odometer calibration route making note of your mileages at the points referenced in the route instructions.

Special note on using trip odometers: If you are using the mechanical in dash trip meter, there is often some lag before it starts to count after it has been reset. You will have to learn how yours operates if you want to reset it at each zero point. Usually there is about 2/100ths lag in a stock Odo after the reset button has been pushed. Many rally masters do not know this and think they are starting at zero when they are not. If you are running a computer pay careful attention to the early readings to make sure you both started at the same point. In most cases, my navigators do not use the first "zero" points unless they know the rally master has done things right.

So after you get your numbers collected, check to see if they are consistent. Do you get close to the same factor at each data point? If you just use the end point you could fall victim to a reading error - either your own or the rally master's.

Follow your computers instruction for calculation of the correction factor. In the compurally software, you just key in the mileages and it does the work for you.

If running the stock odo, divide the distance you measured by the rally masters mileage. Then use this number to multiply by the official mileage to know what your odo should read at that point.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Rally dating idea

Now I don't think I would take a first date on a rally. I have seen many marriages get strained by running a rally together. In fact one club has a class for married couples called "divorce court."

But if you are looking for an interesting idea for a date with a person you know a little bit about and want to learn more about, making up your own treasure hunt rally could be a fun way to spend some time together.

Now if you are still stuck in the "I need a first date before I can have a second date" phase then jump over to John Alanis' site right now before you read any further. Get his course on how to attract women and you will have plenty of choices on who to allow on your rally date. (Note I did not say ask her out.) Click this link to go to John's site right now.

Now assuming you have a special someone that you want to have some fun with, lay out a route to that fun spot. Use clues along the way to build mystery and suspense.

For example, lay out a route to a restaurant you want to try. But don't tell her where you are going. Since she needs to know how to dress, make that part of the route or general instructions. Tell her every thing she needs to know but only in small clues carefully spaced out in the route instructions. Build mystery and suspense along the way.

For more dating treasure hunt ideas see this site.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Road Rally Signs

Looking for signs while running a Road Rally

When running a road rally you have to be very observant. You need to read every road sign you pass if you are looking for a particular turn.

It is amazing how many signs we pass by during our normal driving that we take no notice of. When running road rallies, you have to notice them all.

For example, when given a speed change at a particular sign, you have to find the first one, not the others along the way.

Since the advent of touring road rallies where speed changes must be made at a specific spot and not a vague point like the apex of a turn, speed changes are often referenced at the first speed limit sign after a turn. Some times it is easy to miss that first sign if you are paying attention to turning and then looking for the next instruction.

Monday, May 29, 2006

TSD Rally Stock Class Navigation

Georgia Sports Car Club Spring Rally

Last month, my usual rally partner Robert was rallymaster for the GSCC event. Lucky for me, Fred Holliger the Stock class champ was looking for a driver.
I have always been fascinated with road rally navigation ever since I discovered this sport at Tennessee Tech University. My roommate Jeff and I created all sorts of calculator and computer programs to aid our navigation. We also discovered early on that if we wanted to win, Jeff needed to be the navigator.

Our ultimate accomplishment after years of work was the CompuRally computer software that allows a standard (DOS) computer to be used as a rally computer. We used this software to take two national TSD rally wins and numerous local and regional trophies. Our software is now being used successfully in Silver Streak challenge type events out west.

But this weekend, I saw something completely different. Fred, armed with nothing more that a book of rally tables and a simple four function calculator, demonstrated his navigational skills. He gave me feedback that was very very close to as good a my rally computer.

Every six to ten seconds he called "Mark" and I looked at my odo to see if I was early or late. A simple adjustment of the throttle put us back on time.And he did not look overworked like I have been when I tried stock navigation. In fact, we were able to carry on a conversation punctuated by "mark" being called mid story.

His method is deceptively simple. He just adds .1 mile worth of time to the display register on his calculator and calls out when the time matches his clock.It took me a few legs to get the hang of reading my Jeep Cherokee odometer to the hundredth mile but by the end of the day we were getting scores of 1 or 2 per leg. The computer guys were getting ones and zeros.

I always enjoy experiencing new things and seeing this skill in action was great fun to watch. Had I known this method of navigation 20 years ago I might never have written my own software and learned so much about computer controls.

The first place Stock Class trophy fits nicely with all the Equipped Class trophies on the shelf.

Family photo road rally

One unique type of road rally the folks in Bell Buckle sometimes host is what they call a photo road rally. These events are always fun for the whole family as even children can figure out the pictures.

In the case of a family photo road rally, the route instructions take the form of photographs of the rally master's car going through each intersection. You have to identify the intersection from the picture and then figure out which way to go by looking at his car in the photo.

Charlie and Bill can throw some tricks at you like posting the picture mirror imaged or something like that so you have to be observant.

A family photo road rally is really easy to put together now in the age of digital cameras and computers. Juts pick a route and go out and shoot your car in the intersections. This type of road rally could be used as a fun way to publish directions to a party, wedding, camping trip or what ever requires a large number of people to follow a route.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Speed equals time divided by distance

Calculating how much time you need.

In my last post I mentioned that you need to deternime what speed to drive to make the end of the rally on time. To determine that speed you use the most basic time speed distance roal rally equation.

Speed equals Time divided by Distance

or S = T/D

For example, lets say you have two hours to complete the course and turn in your answers. If the course is sixty miles long, you have to average 30 miles per hour to reach the end in time.

Basic TSD Rally math.

Road Rally Clues

Finding Road Rally Clues on a Gimmick Rally

Gimmick rallying is a type of scavenger hunt where you have to find clues or answers to questions along the route.

The route itself may be part of the challenge, but usually a gimmick rally has very simple route following instructions and the hard part is finding the answers to the gimmicks or clues.

Some of my favorite Gimmick rallies are run in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. In a town with a name like that how can the rallies not be fun. They are planning one for July 4th this year that should be a blast.

For specific information about the rally, contact the Tri Lakes Sports car club.

When navigating a Gimmick Rally, the first thing you need to do is find out how much time you have to complete the run. The total length maybe unknown but try to find out. Ask! Try to decide on a pace that will allow you to read all the road signs and still make it to the end in time. Try to be a bit early at all times so that you can backtrack to find a sign that you may have missed.

Often gimmick rallying can be more about mind reading than about road rally clues. So try to learn as much about the rally master as you can before you begin the event. Ask a few questions to find out how he thinks.

But always remember the object of any rally is to tour the countryside and have fun. So be sure to have fun and don't let a missed gimmick or two ruin your day.

Be as observant as possible and take in as much of the scenery as you can.

Running a gimmick rally looking for clues can be a fun way to spend some time in your favorite car.

See you in Bell Buckle.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What is a Road Rally?

Road Rally, Rally Racing, Rally Cross?

What is a Rally?

My love of rallying began at school at Tennessee Tech. About once a month, the Golden Eagle Sports Car Club would have a navigational road rally. In these events you were to follow a set of route instructions and arrive at secret checkpoint locations along the route. You either had to arrive at the correct time or get the answers to questions along the way - sometimes both.

Being engineering majors and sports car nuts, my roommate and I took well to this game. We instantly began looking at ways to improve our skills. We wrote crude calculator programs to figure our time and worked to improve the accuracy of our odometers. Since most of the events were at night, we built lots of lighting gadgets to see both inside the car and out.

Later our efforts evolved into the CompuRally computer software that both measures and calculates TSD rally information. We ran the SCCA national circuit and got a couple of first place trophies before moving on to other interests.

I still like to run a regional rally with the Georgia Sports car club or TLSCC in middle Tennessee. My local region never showed much interest in TSD rally although we did have some fun events.

They did however support Rally Racing and Rally Cross. Rallycross is where you race in a field on a miniature road course marked by pylons or barrels. This sport has been lots of fun in the Jeep. It reminds me of the days when my grandfather would send me out to the field to get a part off a dozer and I would slalom the pickup through the junk tractors.

Then there is Rally racing. This is where you run a gravel road through the forest as fast as you can. The sport is normally dominated by Subaru's and Mitsubishi's but I have had a lot of low budget fun racing a Jeep Cherokee. I call it RallyJeep based on SCCA's tendency to make new words by running two together. See more about my Rally racing at

Stay tuned for this years rally activities.

For more rally related links see

Car Navigation

Road Rally Car Navigation

As a Road Rally driver, I would never be competitive without a skilled Navigator to handle the car navigation duties.

In my car, navigation is mostly about time keeping. I keep my route instructions mounted on a roller board so I can read them and keep us on the right course. I want my navigator to have the general instructions ready in case I have a question. Also, I want him to keep any lettered or optional instructions posted in my view as well. We usually use sticky notes on the mirror.

When running equipped class with a computer, my navigator is more free to help me watch for signs and tricks. When running stock or "B" class, I am pretty much on my own for route following as the calculation take most of my navigators mental effort.

One very important thing I learned long ago is to divide the duties as equally as possible between the driver and navigator. If either of you is overloaded, you will make errors. It does not help to be on time on the wrong road or on the right road at the wrong time.

Many novice teams start out having the navigator do too much work: Reading the instructions, reading the generals, calculating the time and trying to watch for signs. Divide up the responsibilities to who has the best skills and opportunity to handle the task.

When competing in my car, navigation is about things inside the car and driving is about things outside the car. If looking at a spelling trap for example, it is the driver's responsibility to read the road sign while the navigator reads the route instructions to assure a match.

Rally car navigation can get confusing when two drivers or two navigators try to run together! So talk in advance about who will do what job before you start the odometer calibration run.

And be absolutely sure you know whose job it is to turn the roller board!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Time Speed and Distance

I ran my first Sports Car Road Rally at Tennessee Tech University in 1980. Since then I have studied every aspect of the sport, from measuring the route to learning to be more observant as I drive.

In a road rally, you are required to drive at a specified speed for a certain distance at arrive at a predetermined correct time unknown to you. Also, you must follow a prescribed route to get to the secret checkpoint location at the correct time.

My first attempts to improve my performance was to develop a calculator program to calculate the correct time at a given mileage. My first program was on a TI -55 calculator.

Eventually this program evolved into the CompuRally rally computer system.

Now days I also race in performance rally races with have very little to do with navigational rallies but are still fun to do. See my RallyJeep for more on that sport.

I am still active with the Georgia Sports car club in the monthly rallies.

If you are interested in a custom made rally event as a fund raiser or a corporate road rally for a team building exercise, contact me at

Navigation and driver training is also available.