Frost Heaves NER Road Rally WrapUp
by Morris Levy, posted in NER SCCA RallyCross
Off the beaten path of New Hampshire’s’ largest cities and highways lie some hidden yet incredible back roads, farmland, and sights to behold. Normally these roads aren’t traveled much, and they’re more of access roads. The President Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, (A.K.A. the United States of America “Interstate Highway System”) reduced the amount of traffic and travel through small towns. Yet, these roads seldom get travelled in today’s New Hampshire.
Funky Mailbox as seen on the route. Photo courtesy of Rally Master Scott Beliveau
What is a Road Rally?
The central idea behind a Road Rally / Time-Speed-Distance / “Regulation Rally” as it is sometimes called is maintaining the exact distance per the prescribed route, which driven at a certain speed, will determine your time. There is a mathematically computed time based on the distance, and driven at the maximum legal speed for that road, you will have a perfect score of “0” (zero). Much like golf, a better score is zero because that means you are perfectly on time. All time is calculated in hundredths of a second. Competitors are spaced out 1.0 (one) minute apart as to not overlap and get on each other’s tails.
Road Rally / Regulation Rally (TSD) are extremely affordable. All you need is a car that is registered and inspected for the road. The registration costs are low, and tools needed are extremely minimal. I can count them on one hand: pencils, pens, highlighters, a basic calculator, a stopwatch, a spare tire, and a navigator. Pretty easy, right?
How To Win?
Precision is key. No speeding. Seriously. Go to prescribed “CAS” (Continue Average Speed). Stay on the route. Listen to your navigator. Use your brakes and maintain that average speed. Going up a hill? Press on. Going down a hill? Coast and brake moderately.
The way to win is precision. The less mistakes, the better your time will be. You can often take a time allowance (some have different amounts of allowances) should you make a mistake. No map is given, but rather what is known as “tulip notes” which shows a mini-map and how to proceed at a landmark, a sign, or an intersection.
There are lots of abbreviations that may look like gibberish, but they all are fairly easy to understand. For example, “CAS” means “Continue Average Speed”, and a “Pause” is a stop and wait in hundredths of a second. 15 seconds / 100 = 0.15 * 60 seconds = 9 seconds. The actual Pause is only 9 seconds.
Really when it comes down to brass tacks, it’s basic math and calculations. The steps provided will give you the current odometer reading, and usually the “Delta” ∆ odometer reading, between the last step and the next step. Again, a basic calculator and a good head on your shoulders and a stopwatch is all that should be needed. When you get stuck at a light, time how long that took versus how long your “pause” alloted for.
At the end of every “leg” is a checkpoint measured quantitatively with a pneumatic fluid timer. When the tires or any weight presses on it, the synchronized timer stops and is measured to a hundredth of a second.
There are also “DIY” checkpoints where you write down the odometer and the time, and report back to the Rally Master / score keepers.
I was actually amazed at the hidden roads off the beaten path that are far less traveled than the interstate system we have in central NH. Very few of the roads were double-yellows, and there was a good 8 hours of 12 “legs” driven, and very few of that was a “free zone” or a “transit zone”.
I was extremely happy with my navigator and the teamwork we were able to accomplish. I listened to my navigator, and he repeated things I needed to know. It’s all about communication, precision, and teamwork. I was extremely excited to know by the end of the day we had a very low score overall (total of 183 points). Surprising myself and my navigator, we took 1st in the Novice Class. Our score of 183 was also enough to beat 1st in Stock Class also, should have we been registered for the next division.
The following terms are frequently used in rallying and are to be used in any route instruction in the context defined below.
BFZ – Begin Free Zone. (see free zone)
BTZ – Begin Transit Zone. (see transit zone)
CAS – Change, commence or continue average speed of the indicated miles per hour. ￼￼
Checkpoint / Control – The timing line of an open control as identified by a checkpoint sign, or the location of a do-it-yourself control.
DIY – Do-It-Yourself control. A checkpoint at which the contestants are instructed how to time themselves.
EFZ – End Free Zone.
ETZ – End Transit Zone.
Free Zone – A specified part of the timed rally route in which there are no controls.
Leg – A part of the rally extending from an assigned starting time to the next timing control or from one timing control to the next.
MTS – Mileage to sign.
Odometer check (or ODO check) – A specified part of the rally route in which official mileages are provided so that the contestants may calibrate odometer. A part of the rally route specified as an odometer check is a free zone.
Pause – To delay a specified time at a point or during passage of a specified interval. The pause time is added to the time required at the given average speed(s) to traverse the specified interval. The specified interval in which a pause is operative will contain no timing controls.
SAP – To go straight as possible through an intersection.
Section – Any part of the rally route at the beginning of which the official mileage is zero and at the end of which the official mileage ends or reverts to zero.
Timing line – At a control, the imaginary line perpendicular to the route of travel, extending fully across the road.
Transit Zone – A part of the timed rally route in which there are no timing controls and in which no specific speed need be maintained. Either an exact time for passage, or a restart time from the end of the transit zone must be given. An approximate distance for the length of the transit zone is desirable.
TULIP NOTES DEFINITIONS
You can read Morris Levy’s piece and more at his Drivetribe page!